The Secret of Being a Woman.

Via Jennifer S. White
on Sep 25, 2013
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It always interests me when a woman doesn’t want to be lumped in with other females.

I guess the reason it fascinates me is I love being a woman.

I adore having girlfriends.

Talking with other women and sharing your inner fears and thoughts has a strange way of making you feel both not alone and intrinsically understood.

Do I think that all women are alike? No, of course not.

And yet there’s an invisible thread that manages to weave itself around our words, pulling this compatibility deeply into our hearts and connecting us together through something that we instinctively know is timeless: the bond of sisterhood.

That’s another reason that this divorce from other women intrigues me—I don’t fully understand not being interested in the vast history of female bonds and ties.

I love reading historical fiction, and many of my favorites involve the complicated intricacy of female relationships—The Red Tent, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The Secret Life of Bees—just to name a few. 

There’s a place within me that believes claiming my femininity is something to do with pride, and I know that sharing the same sex with another person doesn’t make us the same—I don’t want it to.

At the same time, the powerful connection between girlfriends chatting and simply being together is palatable; it’s unmistakable—this cord woven together over generations of blood, sweat, tears, love and survival.

The recent film Girl Rising highlights the sad reality that women across the globe still need each other’s help and support. 

I saw it in the theater with girlfriends—which I never do these days—on my first all-ladies night out in forever—the magic of getting dolled up and going out with your friends is priceless, and special—the famed girls’ night out.

And while I definitely understand a woman wanting to be viewed as an individual (don’t we all?), I don’t get wanting to be completely closed off and separated from calling yourself a woman entirely—from all the joys and uniqueness that this particular label stands for.

It seems to me that those who adamantly claim that “being a woman” means and conveys nothing are not only dishonoring their own beings, but they are disengaged and disconnected from the reality of their own true nature—and a woman who says she’s nothing at all like other women wouldn’t have to declare this if it were actually true.

For example, I like to say that “I’m not a crier,” and yet I wrote an entire article in my decomposition book yesterday on crying in public… while I was crying in public—because generally speaking, you don’t have to state the obvious.

In other words, what are you hiding when you feel a huge need to say that you “are” or “aren’t” something—or someone?

What baggage are you carrying around?

The unfaithfulness of a friend? A horrible relationship with your mother? Shame? Fear? Self-loathing?

Don’t worry, it’s okay—we all have baggage.

Everyone has been hurt and everyone has to relearn trust after betrayal. However small the scale, trust me that this has unfortunately happened in everybody’s life—because people are never perfect. 

My suggestion is that if your sex is female and yet you entirely divide yourself from the female gender, then consider asking yourself why? Just inquiring—that’s all that I ask.

After all, gender and sex are not the same thing, let’s not forget—there’s a valid greyness in sexuality and a credible separation between genitalia and gender—no, the bigger concern is that you yourself are the one harboring the judgment—and the stereotyping—of what female means when you claim you want nothing to do with it.

Here’s what I mean when I say that I’m a woman: that I’m part of a larger group and that this doesn’t define me, but it also means that I’m part of an aggregate and that we’re related and connected in some way.

So, what, then, is this connection? What is the glue that holds this assemblage together?

Here’s what I think it is and—ssshhh!—don’t tell: I think the fundamental secret and truth of being a woman is that all the other self-proclaimed women out there know just how unique and special and individual we all are.

And that’s what I loved most about the books I listed earlier—they involve the tightly-woven friendships of people who know one another’s unique characteristics and inner-workings and then they celebrate them in each other.

They celebrate the diversity within the group and this celebration is what makes them one and the same—they celebrate flaws and they understand that it’s their differences that make them need the others and that makes them alike.

So you don’t want to claim your womanhood?

That’s fine, but I’m sorry for you—I know that I, for one, like having hands to hold—but to each her own.

I can say that because I’m a woman-— and I know that we’re not all the same.


Like equal rights for all on Facebook.

Ed: Sara Crolick



About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She's also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.


10 Responses to “The Secret of Being a Woman.”

  1. Aella says:

    Lovely 🙂

  2. Kristin says:

    I'm definitely one of "them"…

    I have a fantastic relationship with my mom (sister, not so much- we're just different people), baggage just like everyone else but minimal girlfriends. As a generalization I just don't get along with women. I'm not into shopping together (I'd rather go alone- it's more effective), I don't need to pee WITH someone (I can't go by myself thankyouverymuch), I hate gossip… I just don't connect with very many females. Lots of friends who were boys growing up… then I got old enough to start sleeping with them…

    I don't denounce being a woman- I'm proud of my curves, long hair & motherly nature. I just don't get along with girls.

    Help. <3

  3. Freya Watson says:

    This was an interesting one for me to read, not because I shun being a woman but because I'm one of those women who is genuinely more comfortable with men and always has been. Astrologically, I can explain it my saying my Moon is in Aries and my Sun is in conjunction with Pluto and Uranus, making me closer in some ways to the masculine expression of energy. I'm not alone among women, but my journey through life has shown that many women are uncomfortable with aspects of my personality – even down to superficial things that are accepted as 'bonding' areas for many women (attitudes to grooming, chocolate, sex). So sometimes women don't want to be lumped with other females because they just don't fit the predominant expression of what that means. It doesn't necessarily mean she doesn't accept her womanhood (although, granted, I've seen this play out at times too) – it can mean that her less typical views and perspectives have caused her to be marginalized by her sisters. As you say, we're not all the same and if we can drop the stereotypes it'll give everyone a better chance at showing who they really are!

  4. Thanks for your feedback, Freya. I value it.
    I'm an Aries rising with my Mars in Leo along with several other placements that allow me to fully and completely understand where you're coming from.
    Honestly, I used to consider myself a woman who—although I had close female friends—wasn't traditionally "girly" so didn't want to be lumped in with the ladies—and then I realized that I was the one placing the restrictions, limitations and judgments upon what "being a woman" means. It changed my entire view of labels, stereotypes and, especially, femininity.

    Thanks again!

  5. I hear you on your needs but I have to adamantly insist that you just, unfortunately, haven't met the right women! Don't write them off—many women have the same little list that you just offered.
    Keep on being true to the woman you are 🙂

  6. Jennifer says:

    We're all one. We are all the same. Who cares what sex you are as long as you're being a kind person and you realize that we're part of the greater whole. Our physical body is just a vessel, it's our soul that knows the truth. I think dividing sexes and categorizing people doesn't produce effective results. There is no separation between, them, they and us. We are them. One love.

  7. chinadoll815 says:

    I, too, have often thought of myself as not a girly girl – but I cherish and honor my femininity as my core, and celebrate womanhood. While most of my life I got along better with men than women, in the last ten years or so I have developed a strong connection with many women. Like Jennifer eluded to above, I realized I was the one drawing boundaries and exercising expectations – I was the one judging, not them. Once I let go of that, it was amazing how close I became with so many different types of women; no, most don't do yoga, camp, or go to music festivals. But I connect with them on other levels, and I am the one who has benefitted the most. Not the least of which is they introduced me to deluxe pedicures 🙂 . After a gno pedicure/dinner with margaritas a couple of months ago, I came home and was so overwhelmed at our connections, I felt so blessed for all the women in my life past and present, this poem came pouring out of me in about 10 minutes, my gratitude for all the women I have known.

    Barbies and frogs, and loving our dogs
    Figuring out womanhood, feeling our forces
    Lovers, husbands, babies, marriages, divorces.
    Tears and fears.

    Tea bags on a hamster’s ass
    Pushing me through that impossible class.
    “I got your hair, don’t worry, hon”
    But I’ll fight you for that cinnabun…

    Cookouts after the pouring rain
    Too many drinks to ease the pain
    For keeping me out of jail, for bringing my bail
    For sitting in there with me…

    Coffee, shopping, graduations, games.
    Salad dressing, drinks, and picture frames.
    Giggles over crazy toes
    Space dancing at great music shows.

    We’ve laughed, we’ve cried
    You brought food when my mama died.
    You kicked my ass when I needed it
    Told me just “knock off that shit.”

    Yeah, Women, we’re a curious thing
    But to each other, a certain sense we bring.
    A sense, a strength, a bond of knowing.

    I love my friends, for they are my heart
    Forever and ever, till death do us part.

  8. lisab says:

    I honor my unique body and soul which just happen to come in a female shape in this lifetime. But mostly I'm just proud to be me. I would much rather work on claiming my personhood than my womanhood and I'd always choose to spend time with other people who are more focused on their humanity instead of their genders.

  9. MarciBot says:

    I agree that women often want to distance themselves from other women and believe it's because women have typically been subjugated and marginalized in society. We are judged by the company we keep so to align with people of lesser value lessens our own perceived value. Not necessarily something to be proud of, but that's my take on it.