Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Blog Exchange Topic: What it Means to Be a Woman Today

Everyone please give a warm welcome to my Blog Exchange Partner, Christina from A Mommy Story. This is her post! You can read mine at her place :-)

A Failure at Being a Woman?

Izzy is graciously trading me her blog today for the Blog Exchange set up by Kristen at Motherhood Uncensored. One of the topics we were given was "What it means to be a woman today." That one had me thinking for awhile, and my mind drifted to wondering what the true definition of a woman is today, especially compared to what it has been.

If you look at the old, stereotype of being a woman, then I'm a flat out failure. Honestly. I'm much closer to being a man, other than having ovaries and a vagina rather than testicles and a penis.

Here's how I fail at being a woman:

- I rarely, if ever, wear dresses. Generally, I'll wear dresses for weddings, funerals, and maybe a few other special occasions. If it's not one of those events, then don't even bring the pantyhose near me, or I'll choke you with them.

- I prefer the "au natural" look when it comes to makeup. I own makeup, and use it when necessary (see special occasions, above), but most of the time I wear none. I have friends who honestly cannot leave the house without "putting on their face," and that saddens me. Yeah, I know I might look better leaving the house with makeup on, but at least I don't feel so bad about myself that I need it as a crutch for my self esteem. OK, truthfully I don't like how I look, and I'm really just too lazy to mess with makeup daily.

- High heels do not exist in my house. I don't own a single pair. I see no reason to put myself through that kind of pain to look a little taller.

- I've never been meek or coy in my life. I'm generally outspoken, direct, and very proud of my accomplishments. I don't let the boys win to keep their masculine pride. Maybe that's why I had such trouble getting dates in high school?

- I don't cook, am lousy at cleaning, and only so-so with decorating. Yeah, I'm Martha Stewart and Donna Reed's worst nightmare. I could have never survived in the 50's.

This list could go on and on, but I think my point has been made. If compared to the old ideal of a woman, my license for femininity should be revoked.

But thank goodness we women don't have to live up to that ideal any longer. Women have the freedom to define themselves any way they want. There really are no strict ideals to conform to anymore - a woman can wear pants, be a CEO, choose to not have children, and burn every meal she attempts to cook and still be thought of as a good woman.

To me, the only true definition of a woman is a person with XX chromosomes, a vagina, ovaries, a uterus, and breasts. We are equals with men, although we do have one special advantage: we have the ability to carry and give birth to a new life. That is our one special trait, and one I have experienced and want to experience again. We are the life-givers.

Other than those biological distinctions, women are now open for a new definition. Or maybe we all should consider our individual definitions. What's your definition of being a woman? To the women out there, how do you see yourself as a woman in 2006?


About the Author: My name is Christina and I'm known as mommy to one 17 month old girl (although you'll never hear her call me that), and wife to my husband of three years. I work part-time as a student advisor at a local university, and otherwise can be found holding my daughter's sippy cup for her. I also have a blog of my own, A Mommy Story, and encourage everyone to come check it out!


  • *high five* Very well done :-)

    By Blogger IzzyMom, at 3/01/2006 01:02:00 AM  

  • Excellent topic. I am like you, I am a non-conformist to the "traditional" woman in so many ways, yet I love to knit, make quits and bake...hehe I love that we can be different and unique!

    By Anonymous chelle, at 3/01/2006 01:04:00 AM  

  • I am horrible at the whole cooking/cleaning thing...and I hate dresses. Nice exchange. Off to find Izzy at your blog.

    By Blogger Mama! Mama! (Mel), at 3/01/2006 01:06:00 AM  

  • I am glad this post took a turn from describing the archaic view of femeninity, however, I disagree that even today a woman is defined by her ovaries. You can lose them to cancer, you have your tubes tied, or simply choose not to have children and still be a woman.

    By Blogger Jay, at 3/01/2006 06:34:00 AM  

  • Chelle - I didn't cover it, but I do have a few of the "traditional" traits. I do sew, and recently picked up knitting also. I didn't realize knitting could be so relaxing!

    Miss Jay - When I wrote this, I didn't think about those who had lost some of their "female parts" due to one circumstance or another. I simply meant that it's so hard to define what a woman is today, that the only thing left to fall back on is the biological definition. We do have ovaries, and it's something men don't have.

    And while women do lose ovaries to cancer, or have them removed for other reasons, they did originally have them. I certainly didn't want to offend anyone who has had to lose some part of them due to cancer or other illness.

    I totally agree that women can choose not to have children and still be a woman. The fact that we have the capability to bear children, though, is what I was getting at. I did choose to have a child, but even before she was born, I found that I was given that kind of choice to make.

    By Blogger Christina, at 3/01/2006 08:59:00 AM  

  • Great post. I think the biological traits that we are given at birth provide the fundamental distinction (women vs. men), but the lovely thing about being a woman today is that we have so many choices with respect to what we do with our womanhood. Some women work in an office, others in the home; some have children and others are child-free; some are very made up and others are more natural in appearance. It's nice to see how far we have come to be able to celebrate our femininity and our differences in this way.

    By Anonymous Nancy, at 3/01/2006 09:04:00 AM  

  • Great post!

    Our posts were pretty similar - I'm not a dress or makeup-wearing woman either. :)

    By Anonymous C.M.Chase, at 3/01/2006 09:55:00 AM  

  • Somedays I wish I was the beautiful woman with healthy hair, perfect complexion and expensive, tailored clothes. But, right now my priorities are elsewhere. I think over the course of their lives, women play many different roles and therefore have many different costumes. My job now is a woman taking care of her family and thank God that does not require a well-lacquered face, high heels and constricting skirts. I don't think I could get the job done if it did!

    By Blogger kfk, at 3/01/2006 12:47:00 PM  

  • Nice take on this topic. It's interesting to me that you look at the more negative traits of being a woman as the ones you've rejected. I could also say that a woman is defined by her nurturing, her power, her intuition... and I bet you have all of the above. Pantyhouse? Feh. Who needs em.

    By Blogger Mom101, at 3/01/2006 04:42:00 PM  

  • I like it. Very thought provoking. I know from your bloggy that you were having a "I'm-feeling-icky" moment - and I think (because I'm there with you) that being a woman is about choices. We don't have to live up to anyone but ourselves. Those damn societal stereotypes that have been embrazoned in everyone's minds are a bunch of hooey. Good work.

    By Anonymous Kristen, at 3/01/2006 05:53:00 PM  

  • I'm all for new definitions. I hate being told what I should be. I love your post Christina.

    By Anonymous Kristina, at 3/02/2006 03:30:00 AM  

  • Welcome, Christina. I'm not feeling particularly womanly right now because I'm having trouble conceiving. In fact, I rather feel like a failure. But I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a woman, and pretty much every woman I know is extremely strong--even those that seem vulnerable.

    By Blogger Arabella, at 3/02/2006 09:32:00 AM  

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