Here’s to burning the stick we all measure our womanhood by. What is it that you think you should do more of because you are a woman and society says you should be or do x, y, or z?
For me, it’s cooking. While I can put together a pretty solid meal, I HATE to cook. And usually after I’ve done so, I don’t want to eat. That’s how much it turns me off. I have been looking at the zucchini in my produce basket for weeks, willing it to oven fry itself. I just want to eat it. I do not want to cook it. In some circles, not liking to cook or just not cooking often would see me deemed as less of a woman. I am thankful to not subscribe to those ideologies.
Recently, Tennis Player Serena Williams told Ebony magazine:
“I have so much respect for so many women [for giving birth],” “I am about to be a real woman now, you know? It’s going to be something incredibly impressive to go through.”
Apparently, people weren’t so happy about this statement. But why? Being pregnant is one of the most magical and most personal times of your life. Most of us do it on the stage of IG and Facebook and do not have the platform Ms. Willliams does. But, why shouldn’t she also be able to be honest about an experience that is personal to her?
I have learned that, as the Old Folks say, a hit dog will holler. This basically means that when we are not settled about the decisions we’ve made in life or are upset about how life has unfolded, we often lash out. If we have an issue with what someone has said or done to express themselves about themselves, the best first action is to look within yourself and ask: Why is this bothering me? Projection is one hell of a drug.
It isn’t an okay thing to do to systemically define womanhood by one measure. We- as women- know that better than anybody else. And, certainly, there are old narratives that prescribe to women a femininity that is tied to being expected to give birth and raise children. That narrative, too, can be harmful. But in this case, it isn’t right or okay to silence once woman’s connection to her own body, what she considers a pivotal moment in her connection to her own body.
Serena’s quote was only speaking about how she would feel. She never implied that other women who haven’t given birth weren’t real women. Her perspective on womanhood has been shaped by her upbringing, life experience, and personal values. Most of us form our opinions on the world in the same way. And those unique lenses are what make womanhood so amazing! We all have some great bits to put on the table.
Can we let her live, please? In giving her space to walk the experience of becoming a mother in the way the she needs to, you also give yourself space to do the same. Maybe it isn’t motherhood for you. But whatever that thing is that you measure your womanhood by, burn it! Give yourself space to live, woman!
Go forth and be your own kind of beYOUtiful.