I found myself thinking about what it means to be a woman last night. Aside from unfair economical/ labor standpoint, I’m more concerned with the spiritual, social collectiveness of the treatment of women. Here are my chain of thoughts and questions that arise from my experience as a woman and my social awareness antennas. This may not be the whole truth, but there may be some truth.
What are the gender roles in a work place? In a society? In a relationship? Why does it have to be that way? When did it become that way? How does a woman navigate social settings being an object of desire, just for being a woman? Why are we automatically subjected to such vulnerability? Why is it so much harder to be taken seriously? How can we demand equality when nobody likes women they’re too outspoken? Why is it that when women display the same confident, outspoken qualities of a male leader, she is viewed as a bitch? Is it because she doesn’t care about how she is portrayed, or if she is liked? Are women culturally conditioned to care more about how they’re portrayed?
Is this something a man would think about too? Do men wonder what is expected of their manhood the way women strive to BE a person of value and power that is separated from their gender identity? Perhaps that is why the ideas of a “feminist” are silly and incomprehensible to men because they don’t need to think about these issues. Yes, in general, all people need to overcome racial inequality, low income inequality, etc., but for a lot of women, they struggle to find a whole identity, a voice of our own that is separated from our biological makeup of a female.
Men are not taught to hold a part of themselves back. To cover up. To be polite to get approval. To look pretty. To take up less space, close your legs together. They didn’t grow up feeling like their value is partially based on youth, and how skinny or hot they look. They didn’t grow up with the same oppressively self shaming standards imposed onto women. I am not trying to victimize a gender or complain. But from the looks of it, it’s slightly crippling to be a woman. Perhaps emotions and feelings are crippling. If there is nothing wrong with being a women, then feminism wouldn’t exist. At the same time, I don’t believe men should be held accountable for inequality. Mostly because they don’t understand this kind of suffering.
What do women really want? And why can’t they seem to get it? Positions of power and influence and respect? Then am I asking: how can I BE a woman, but be like a man? Is that the only way to get what she wants? Is that not essentially what the modern woman is striving to become? Women are trying to access power through other means that are self destructive, like casual sex. Is this essentially not what the modern hook up culture is about? A game of power and ego? When women are pushing gender boundaries, shoving emotions under the rug, practicing detachment, just to be free from all the restrictive aspects of being a woman, and while secretly hoping the guy would come begging her for more? This can happen to guys too. It is a soul sucking game. Women are afraid to admit this to each other because of shame. There is actually not much physical joy in having sex with strangers, what they’re after all along is liberation.
Was there ever a time or culture that embraces the differences of male and females with an emphasis on the union of the two rather than one gender becoming the more dominant one? How can we create a culture like that?
So what does it really mean to be a woman?
At 3:30am, I came to a conclusion: To BE a woman is a journey to seek liberation from all of the attachments of womanhood that imprisons us, meanwhile accepting all the qualities that make up a woman through self love. Women have power, but we weren’t taught how to harness it, instead we mistakenly think we are powerless, desperately seeking it.
I hope you were able to follow my chain of thoughts- what keeps you up at night?