Hey everyone! Last week I introduced a new series called Define Your World. This series aims to help us uncover the different meanings we, as individuals, give to the same things. Too often, in life, we’re handed definitions that tell us how to think, how to act, and how to decipher the world we live in. But I call bullshit. I think there’s more to understanding our world than just accepting it as it is. So in this series, I’ll ask you to define certain words, ideas, or concepts, and then I’ll share every single person’s definition for all to see. I hope it sparks interesting conversations, new thought processes, and unique understandings of the world we live in.
Our first prompt was to “define what it means to be a woman.” I’ll be honest, I was nervous to start this series. I really enjoy analyzing the world, but I wondered if this idea was too “serious” for blogland, where perhaps my most popular series is one written by my dog. Thanks for proving me wrong. There were over 30 thoughtful submissions and it really overjoyed me to see that people were getting into this concept. Thank you so so much for reminding me I’m not a crazy person and for sharing a piece of yourself here.
Below, you can read some of the entries that were submitted and randomly selected. To read all of the entries that were submitted, just visit this page! That page also contains a graphic displaying the most common words that people used. Pretty interesting! I also promised that I’d share my own definition this week, so you can read that below too. After the definitions below, you can find out our next prompt and submit your new responses!
What it means to be a woman:
I think it’s funny that I began this series with a word that I don’t feel is definable. Even when I tried to go back to the most basic roots of assumed “womanhood” — being able to bear children — I realized that this sort of definition excludes transgender women and also women who can’t physically birth kids, so I had to nix it. So then what? What is being a woman? I think it’s organic and self-defined. Women are taught how to look and behave to the point where I have to wonder who really owns our bodies and our minds — us or the media? Someone else mentioned that being a woman means living a life of contradiction. I can see what they mean — to me, being a woman means being trapped by society and freed by ourselves.
- Melyssa // United States
For me, being a woman is having the ability to do whatever and act however I want on my own terms. I can be strong or seek comfort, work outside of the home or inside, have babies or not. It’s all about opportunities and choice. As a woman, I also have a responsibility to ensure other women are able to live the lives they want on their OWN terms. We have to rally with each other. And having the ability to bear children is a pretty miraculous gift, I would say. Cheers to being a woman!
- Janelle // Canada
In my opinion, being a woman is NOT defined by having periods, giving birth (or having that ability.) My wife is transgender, and she is *the* most feminine woman I’ve ever met. We’re both girly-girls, however neither of us believe in gender stereotypes. Your birth gender, your height, your weight; what your hobbies are, what you’re career is, none of that defines you being a *woman*. I see people target curvy women as “real women”, well, what does that non-curvy ladies? That’s just one example. If you see yourself as a woman, you are a woman. It’s that simple. Don’t let anyone, ever, tell you that you’re not “real”. Who you are, what you do, what you like, what you dislike, what you believe in… that defines you as a *person*. You know who you are, let that shine through you!
- Angie // United States
Being a woman means being ready and willing to shake off the conventional female norms of yesteryear that still permeate so many societies, no matter how advanced or cultured they may be, and assert yourself as a powerful figure both in and outside the house.
- Lauren // United States
To me, being a woman means balance, Being strong, yet soft, firm yet kind, emotional but resilient, tenacious yet giving, determined yet forgiving… the list is endless. I’ve always thought of myself as a bit of a beautiful contradiction, and when I started looking closely, I realized that most people, most women, are the same way. Too often in today’s world, we are still described as “the weaker sex”, and yet when we exhibit “typical” male attributes, we are called “bitches” or “tomboys”.
I tend to fall more on the bitch/tomboy side, but there are a million facettes to me, as there are to all woman, and I don’t want to be reduced to just either or.. I want it all! That’s why to me, being a woman = being balanced.
- Johanna // Germany
There’s a lot of ways to answer this question, but this is the most positive angle I can come up with:
Being a woman = being yourself + identifying as a woman. That’s it. No caveats.
- Lix // Spain
++Don’t forget to read the rest of the submitted definitions right over here!
This week’s prompt (and in honor of Happy Week!): define happiness.
As always, this is totally up to your interpretation. But think of it this way: if someone from Jupiter came to earth and asked you what this “happiness” crap people are always talking about is, what would you say? You can submit your answers through the form below or in a comment on this post.
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