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Saturday, August 29, 2015

What Does it Mean to Be a Woman?

For the past few weeks I have been following the reality series, "I am Cait". It follows the journey of former Olympian, Bruce Jenner, and his drastic transformation from man, to a fashion loving "woman". 

As I watched this series, I couldn't help but question to myself, "What does it mean to be a woman?" Is it the pretty clothes, bouncy hair, perfect make up and augmented breasts that make you a real woman? Does this trump actual gender?  It was rather disappointing to watch Cait focus so much attention on looking like a "Kardashian" and less on the mental state of what a female mind in a man's body is like. From watching the series, one may think, shopping, slumber parties, and gossiping is all "we" women do. The show would have been much more effective if she would have opened up on a deeper, psychological level and given us a taste of what it may feel like to be transgender.

However, the show did get me thinking about the definition of what a "woman" is. I always identified it to be a strictly biological label, distinguishing the difference between male and female parts. However, transgender redefines that term by establishing the mind as separate from the actual body.  
I try to imagine, what it might have been like if I was born in a man's body with my current "female" brain. Would I have acted more "male" while still feeling quite female? How hard it must be to live in a body that does not feel like your own, and yet to be so strongly identified by it.

After much thought, I believe the definition of a woman is completely personal. For me, I feel very lucky to be a woman. Of the two genders, a woman can create another life in her body, and this gives her the closest bond to another life for 9 months.  I know every woman cannot have a baby, but in my opinion,  the qualities and characteristics of being a "mother" should be celebrated in all woman. For example, a nurturer, a lover, a kind heart, intelligent, femininity, fragility, and yet such a massive strength. 

As much as I do love fashion, and expressing myself artistically and individually through clothes,  I do not believe it has anything to do with being a woman. A woman without clothes, make up, or perfectly quaffed hair is still a woman if she understands the privilege, honor and beauty that comes from within our female identity.

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