Be a human you are
On a facebook group that I’m part of, someone once asked what being a woman means to us. I commented it doesn’t mean anything specific to me, since every single woman out there is “womanly” in her own way and the whole concept of womanhood is just fluid. The author of the post replied to my comment saying I didn’t understand the question and missed the point. Besides, ever since feminism became a thing, lots of women became over-sensitive and are talking about womanhood being flexible and fluid, but you never hear anyone saying that being a man is fluid, right?
Oh well, I wrote in reply, I actually would say exactly the same about men: that being a man is — and damn well should be — flexible and fluid, cause every single man out there is “manly” in his own way. And if there were some set limits to how you can interpret the asked question, than I wasn’t aware of them. And I left it at that. No point arguing further.
Could be worth arguing about on a blog on International Women’s Day though — and not just to the benefit of women.
I think that anything to do with gender is — and damn well should be — fluid. And I really don’t think it’s me being over-sensitive or overly feminist here (in fact, I could write loads about what’s wrong with feminism these days — but let’s just avoid it today). It’s more to do with me being aware and open-minded. We’re all unique people and we should never be brought down to the roles society invented for us over centuries. Doesn’t really matter if you have vagina or penis, just be yourself.
I mean, yes, sure, it does make us different and it clearly affects some parts of our lives — it’s obvious and I’m not going to deny it. Neither am I saying that those invented rules are ultimately wrong and shouldn’t be followed under any circumstances: not at all, if you think this is the way to go, by all means, go by it. But don’t impose your ideas on other people, they’re allowed to have their own.
As a society we tend to focus on differences between the sexes rather than similarities, and therefore we constantly — even if subconsciously — feed the harmful stereotypes, only expanding the vast chasm between the two opposing camps. Why not start building bridges over it instead?
I’m a woman, so obviously the thing that interests me most is how unfairly society treats women. I’ve experienced most of those injustices first-hand: I’ve been mansplained, called hysterical, over-emotional and opinionated way too many times. I’ve never been — and never wanted to be — anywhere near girly, sexy or delicate, and so I did get my share of shit for it too. People older and wiser (or at least so I believed) have been advising me to be quieter, kinder, meeker, less direct, less open. Otherwise I’ll end up miserable and alone, because “boys don’t like loud girls”. As if getting some boy to like me should be my only vocation, something my whole life should be revolving around.
It took me a while to figure out it’s all loads of bullshit that they’ve been fed with for ages.
But I got there and I see with absolute clarity now that being a woman is fluid. That every woman has a right to define herself in whatever way she pleases. Nothing someone else says has the power to make you either less or more of a woman. And same goes for men. Because they struggle too (which Robert Webb’s memoir entitled “How Not To Be A Boy” describes perfectly, I’d recommend that read to anyone, but especially women) and their struggles are just as real and important as women’s, even if not so broadly spoken about.
We both struggle to make sense of ourselves, because we’re human.
And that’s what we should all focus on: being beautiful humans we are.