November 20, 2007

What Does Being A Woman Mean To You?

There's been a lot of online discussion lately among Mormon bloggers about the purpose and role of women. It's gotten me thinking about what my womanhood means to me personally.


Because I am a woman...

I control the mood in my home be it for good or bad.
I feel personally responsible and happy when my children laugh.
I let myself watch "chick-flicks" every few months.
I feel guilty that I've never made bread from scratch (but I still never will).
It is especially delightful when people find out I have knunchucks skills.
I try on 5 different outfits before church every Sunday.
I make sure to give extra firm handshakes.
I cried five times during the movie, Ice Age. I was pregnant at the time, but still, wow.
I also cried on the day I brought my first daughter home from the hospital because I was sad she'd leave and go to college in 18 years.
I own "fat pants."
I valiantly defend my right to never wear pantyhose again.
I know they are lying when the say there is no difference between men and women.
I want Hilary to be President although I disagree with most of her ideas and won't vote for her.
The sound of my children crying is the worst torture in the world.
I fear I'll never be as strong as my mother.
I want to have another baby even though I know it's insanity.
Because I am a woman, I know I can have it all, but can also make the decision not to.

I'm interested to know how the rest of you define yourselves as women. Or for men, what are some of characteristics unique to the women in your lives?

22 comments:

Nancy said...

This is such a tricky question. At the risk of sounding too new agey/overly feminist, I'm not very comfortable with defining womanhood. When people define womanhood, they often place limits on women. Today, women can be whatever they want to be and I generally think that's great. I can be a woman and never (want to) watch chick flicks, but still make my own bread. I can teach a class at the local community college and still be a stay-at-home-mom. I can be a liberal-leaning feminist who will vote for Hillary and still be a faithful LDS woman. And my husband can take care of our baby in his college office while I teach and still be a man. Amen to that.

Hollywood said...

That's why I want to know what it personally means to each of you. I think it's useful to define it for yourself since I agree that there is NO WAY you can define it for everyone in lump. I think women get caught up in other people's ideals for them and forget that they can just relax into their ideals for themselves. I certainly didn't intend my list to incorporate anyone else besides myself.

Annie said...

"What's that smell?"

"It's the essence of Annie in the air."

Better do your dishes. I'm gonna be within a 20 mile radius of you. I might not be able to resist the urge to pop in. Doh!

Nancy said...

Sorry, Hollywood, I know that your list was describing you. This issue awakes the gorilla inside of me and pushes me into serious mode. I've been living in Southern Utah for nearly a year now, and I feel that I've heard an awful lot about what women are and aren't.

s'mee said...

I have the power to do with my life as *I* choose. I believe that I will eventually get everything I want, it may take time, but I always get what *I* choose. No one has control over any aspect of my life that I do not give them. No one completes me, no one can make me sad, mad, or feel one way or the other. No one can demean me without me allowing it.

If I choose incorrectly I have no one to blame save myself. I choose the feelings I have.

Ultimately it doesn't matter how anyone other than my self defines *my* gender role. If I disagree with another person -oh well. In that same regard, they have the right to decide for them self as well. I don't have the right to force anyone to agree with me. If I can persuade someone to my idea that's fine. Force? No.

I believe this theory works for both genders.

I know that there are geographic areas where people *are* forced, but we are talking about women in the U.S. If a woman here is dissatisfied about her role she needs to defend her opinion and work hard to gain what she lacks.

And because it is Hollywood's blog and that means serious subjects are usually taboo:

I can buy a lot of shoes,worship chocolate, and decorate anyway I want and it's "o.k.".

aver trechellini said...

Thank you for asking that question! I became a complete woman after I married and had children. I realize this is NOT everyone's calling but it turned out to be mine.

Sue said...

Loved the list. I actually want to think about this. I will be back. (I know you will be biting your fingernails in anticipation until then.)

Colleen said...

1- I made bread from scratch for the first time last week. It was pretty tasty, but there is still a loaf sitting on the counter that will probably go stale and get thrown away. Buy it. It's easier and tastes almost as good.

2- I don't remember the last time I owned pantyhose and never intend to purchase them again. And yes, I have unattractive spider veins on my pasty pale legs. And no, I don't care who's grossed out by them.

3- I am always very puzzled by women who get up in arms about societal roles. I always wanted to be a wife and mother. I am also very intelligent, college-educated, and not afraid to label myself as a stay-at-home mom. I think I can do much more good by being a mother and teaching my child(ren) how to be a good person than I ever could have in some glamorous, high-paying job. I could have done any number of things with my life and I chose to be a mother - to create life and mold decent human beings who will in turn do the same.

JLJ said...

I think the only limits on women are the ones they put on themselves. Sure there are a few haters out there. But if you're doing what's right for you, who cares? To me being a woman is a huge responsibility, and every day is a struggle to give an honest effort of my best. Being a woman is such a different experience than a man and that's why I question women who think our value has to come from equally competition with men. I think a true feminist is an advocate for women and advocates the value of our differences instead of insisting we're the same. Instead of fighting for equal pay (which I do believe we deserve) we should be fighting for the world to recognize and value our non-paying work. I hate it when people ask me, "Do you work?" The real question is "Do you earn money?" And that is just messed up - the only way your work is valued is if it earns money.

Hollywood said...

It's true, a big reason I wrote this post is because I couldn't understand why someone would let someone else's perception of their role throw them. It took me about 4 years after I got married to finally stop lying and saying, "yeah, I'm planning on going back to school someday." Because I'm not. And I can finally be okay with that.

It's sad to me how women are their own worst enemy these days. And I'm very confused how so many women can only feel "fulfilled" by trying to act like men. Whats so wrong with being a woman? Whether it's in the workplace or at home, women have unique skill sets that should be encouraged and rewarded.

Preachy, preachy. I just want all you ladies to know that I've got your back. Just make sure you're happy with what you're doing.

AzĂșcar said...

I like being a girl in a boy world; it's fun being the only woman in a room full of men and being able to hold my own.

I love your list and agree with all of it--except for I might actually vote for Hillary. Maybe. Haven't made my mind up. But I COULD, because I don't have a problem with a woman being president.

What does being a woman mean to me? The ability to successfully multi-task.

Mary said...

Hollywood, don't make me think too hard about this. I might start getting negative. I hate how women are always portrayed as sweet, loving, nurturing, creative... all things I am not. I love my own kids. I find it hard to love other people's children. I am not the universal mother. The exception has been in callings - I loved my nursery kids (most of the time) and I loved my Primary kids in the Asian Branch. I am not especially creative. I do not do scrapbooking and I hate doing crafts. My husband is often more emotional and illogical than I am. He jumps to conclusions, he expects me to read his mind, he jumps from one train of thought to another with no logical bridge and expects me to follow. He is also way more artistic than I am. And I hate that women are often portrayed as acting on feelings rather than on logic. I have feelings, of course, and act on them at times, but I think of myself as a logical thinker. Actually I am a bit of a literalist. If you try to be sarcastic with me, I will not always "get it" because I tend to expect people to say what they mean. I often feel like a misfit among other women. To me, it's not so much about being a "woman" as it is about understanding how I fit in.

And by the way - Sarah A. has just started a blog. You can link to it from her comments on mine.

Summer said...

For me, being a woman means magnifying those traits which come naturally to me. That of nurturing, serving and others.
But living in this day I am able to learn and enjoy other things as well that once weren't considered typical interests for a woman.

I can enjoy the same things as a man (football, cars, etc.) without being thought of as bizarre, while if a man enjoys any of the fine arts of homemaking to too large a degree he's thought of as weak or feminine or maybe his neighbors even wonder if he has a different sexual preference.

I love being able to dress up or wear jeans and a hoodie. I love being able to have a wide range of hobbies. From crochet to basketball.

I think I have it great as a woman.

Jill Davis Doughtie said...

To me, being a woman mostly means I can have give birth if I want to.

But it also means I can choose to take on a "traditional" woman's role if I want to -- being a housewife, cooking, nurturing -- which I do.

I can also wear skirts and dresses without getting funny looks.

I think it's harder for men who want to be house husbands.

And definitely harder for men who want to wear skirts.

Although I love Eddie Izzard.

Jill Davis Doughtie said...

Whoops. I didn't mean "have give birth". I think I meant "have a baby" or "give birth" but I was debating which way to go.

Anonymous said...

two X chromosomes

Few ox said...

I love that I can be the best Mom to my baby and go to college at the same time. I'm not planning on having a career, but isn't it nice to have something to fall back on if things get tough? I feel like I'm living in two different worlds: Motherhood and College Student. And I'm comfortable in both worlds.

chronicler said...

I didn't allow my kids to take standardized tests while they were in school.

Putting people in nice neat little boxes limits everyone.

Just think of how much nicer the world would be if we all could recognize we're all human and can contribute in different ways.

I guess this is why we are considered weird at church. Well, maybe one of the reasons. :-)

josofine said...

I am relieved that I am a woman, because I sure love my husband--and he definitely prefers the female variety.
As a true nerd, I love school and working in the world, and very much miss it while home with my kids. But I love my children and want to make this sacrifice.

I honestly feel our gender has nothing to prove, just improvement to make on who we are. We are powerful in more ways than we can imagine, but don't always realize it.
As for Hillary--a female in the White House would be great, but I'd rather have one I can agree with. Until one of those come along, I'm perfectly comfortable with male presidents, and would rather vote on credentials than gender.
But don't get me started in politics unless you love a friendly debate--I'll stick with swapping jello recipies.

Anonymous said...

I thank you for sharing your personal information with me.
I am lonely and very, very bored with playing solitare on my computer.
I hope you are feeling okay and that the spiders in the walls don't get you. They are always making those noises and they won't stop! How do you make them stop?

Kerri said...

I am catching up on my flaky goodness, so sorry for the late comment here, but oh well!

I also cried 30 minutes after my first son was born because I pictured him leaving me for college in 18 years!

I also try on 5 different outfits before church. You don't want to walk in my closet after church, and it also explains why I never have extra time to make my hair look good!

Adding my own: Because I am a woman, I feel guilty when people find out that my husband does all the cooking in the house. But, I wouldn't have it any other way.

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