QUESTIONS OF WOMANHOOD
I believe women from all walks of life, no matter what religion, age, ethnicity have all had to wrestle with or confront the pivotal question what makes me a woman? Different cultures and societies have the differing views on womanhood but I believe there is a universalism in the difficulty of most women to answer this question decisively. Is it my biological features that make me a women? The fact that I have a uterus or breasts? Some women lose their breasts or uterus because of cancer but are still considered women. Do these things define me as a woman? Does my ability to bear a child and to nurse a child define me as a woman? Some women cannot bear children or even nurse a child but are still considered as women? So I must pose this question again: what is it that makes me a woman? Biology does not necessarily dictate whether I am a woman. Yes at birth I am assigned the sex either male or female according to biologic characteristics mostly genitalia but to be a woman is much more than what biology dictates. Let me pose this question again: what makes me a woman? Does the fact that I am more likely to be raped and killed by someone that I know than a man make me a woman?
Does the fact that I am still paid less than a man for doing the same job make me a woman? Does the fact that I am discriminated against on all levels of society make me a woman? Does the fact that in institutions like government, corporate boards I am often very underrepresented make me a woman. Do the challenges I face validate my status as a woman?
What makes me a woman is more than discrimination more than challenges. What makes me a woman is more than my biology, more than what society dictates, more than oppression. It is all these things that put together that shapes my womanhood but does not define it. What makes me a woman? Is a question that is difficult to answer. It is not definitive or precise but something I am still attempting to define and understand and I’m sure others are also in the process of discovering and trying to grapple with. What makes me a woman is still unwritten.