It’s a harder sentence to finish than it first appears. As a woman I’m often faced with articles, adverts, films, music etc that tells me HOW I should be – how to be fitter, slimmer, a better cook, how to get on the career ladder, how to wear the right lipstick, the list goes on. But what does it mean to BE a woman?
I certainly don’t have the answer and I don’t even know if there is one but I posed this question to a number of people and here are the responses. I asked female and male friends of all ages.
Female responses on the left…
...and male responses on the right in italics.
Some responses are encouraging, witty and poetic. Others are honest, blunt and raw. I don’t claim to have the answer, I don’t expect everyone to agree with each statement. I hope it proves to be an interesting and insightful read and opens up the question of what it is to be a woman.
To be a woman is…
full of contradictions… internal and external battles
better than being a man
to have struggled with being a girl and become a creative work of her own choosing
a complicated but beautiful adventure, a pressure to be everything to everyone. Gentle but bold, generous and sensible, wise and spontaneous
my goal in life
to be a person with a gentle yet powerful spirit
like being a boat looking for a place to moor in a harbor full of yachts. Only when she is successful and able to find a place everyone else turns to look at her and she has a line of people wanting to talk to her.
the wonder of living in the heart of every man who loves her
to grow humans inside of you and then push them out with no pain relief
to be creative and fearless
to be just as good as a man
often complicated but never boring
having insight, sensitivity and able to do several things at once, understanding certain nuances of human behavior that a man will never understand
to be fabulous
to work harder than a man but to be constantly in his shadow
a question to which you answer with another question, it’s energy that doesn’t end without food or without sleep, it’s a continual hunt in the broad search of something universal, which is love
the most powerful gift of all
like being a leaf on a tree, fragile yes, but the leaf represents the life of the tree.
having capability in everything she does
to be looked at but not seen
a complicated and fascinating thing, for many mysterious aspects like changing her mind without any apparent reason. Yet indispensable to a man.
harder than it looks
to be in perpetual change
fully mum, wife, friend, sister – diligent, determined, decisive, always available
… simply to be.
to be a woman in this day and age is a complex maze of running away from what society expects you to be and running towards freedom in who you truly are and being aware of your importance and self-worth
a beautiful thing despite all the ugly things we go through
to be female
sensitive, to be a woman is to fully live every emotion
being rich with the ability of many emotions. Having the analysis and see things from different points of view, and the ability and strength to act, organise quickly and practically … but also feel frustrated of not being understood
a great gift, sometimes hard work but full of opportunity… despite the horror of childbirth
the spice of life
to be a daughter of God and a sister of Christ
to bring love to those in the lives of those around us
to have a vagina and a uterus
We humans are the only animals that can decide to procreate and the sexual act becomes awareness and fun, we do not follow the rhythms of nature like other animal species. We are also the only animals that have a morals, modesty and so on. We are also the only ones who kill not out of necessity. I believe that womanhood is a revelation in the world today as women have only really recently been allowed to show their capacity. And they have a lot to give and everything is important: the vision of the world around us with new ideas, almost always more rational than those of man. They put more passion into things and often find the bright side even when there doesn’t seem to be one.
to be human
to not be a man
to see potential for good in someone and want to nurture it
to know the value of life
powerful and versatile
It means working in a male environment where every day they look at your arse while walking down the corridor and instead of complimenting you on the hard work you’re doing in the company they make comments about your physical appearance. Rather than asking you which political party card you may carry in your wallet, they are sure the only cards you have are for Aldi or Tesco.
to not impress others but to be confident in who you are
a complicated adventure
… a question I can’t comprehend
to love chatting and sharing life stories
to be a superhero
to remember the One who loves you more than anyone ever could and being confident that you are enough
not to be a man
to make sacrifices
a quick changer – a tireless revolutionary warrior
to nurture and love, to empower other women, to be dearly loved and previous child of God
to be a mummy (Grace – aged 3 and 2 months)
to be strong
to be the beautiful image of God that Satan fears
to be compassionate
to love unconditionally
the soul that knows how to walk on a thousand paths, that opens up into a thousand petals like a lotus flower, which does not probe the beam and sounding its depths because its ego is an infinite and boundless sea. She completes a bad day listening with pleasure to a song by Bertoli knowing that tomorrow she will return to face life’s hard-nosed
to be myself
an entirely different experience depending on where you are in the world
a harder fight than it should be in 2016