I’m sitting here listening to the sounds of my husband give our daughter, his mini-me, a bath.
I often “joke” that looking at her must be like looking into a mirror for him. It’s a constant reminder to me that we are people, first and foremost, before we are men and women.
That said, we live in a world of gender inequality and gender stereotyping and I, for one, am a huge proponent of advocating that we look beyond gender and into the hearts, souls and minds of the individual.
Still, I’m a woman—and I’m proud to be one.
While I’m fully aware that not all little girls want to wear dresses (I didn’t as a child), I’m equally more than aware that some do (my husband’s mini-me—my daughter—for example).
So, the thing is, I’m going to also be a proponent for being allowed to be proud that I’m a woman and of everything that this means to me, even if I’m also suggesting that what being a woman means to me is, and should be, vastly different than what it is for someone else.
And I want to be able to loudly proclaim my pride about both my femininity and the strength and ferocity that I equate this gleaming title with.
I’m a woman. I love tall boots and tight jeans.
I love long hair blowing in the wind and short hair, freshly chopped off.
I love both my small breasts and my swollen, pregnant ones.
I love wearing my husband’s shirts and form-flattering dresses.
I love shiny rings and sweaty skin.
I love reading a book and then watching the movie.
I love my aggressive attitude and my tender heart.
I love throaty, head-tilted-back laughs and seductress glances that come from the pit of my stomach.
I love a new bra and a worn-in t-shirt.
I love gold-flecked lipgloss and four coats of black mascara.
I love fresh-faced mornings in a sexy cotton robe and talks that could go on for hours.
I love sex. I love my body (after a long time of hating it and teaching myself how to love it).
I love that my body is preparing to give birth and the way my skin hangs differently from having my first child.
I love my independent spirit.
I love the way writing makes me come alive.
I love my bare nails and believe that nothing can have too much glitter.
I love raunchy humor and subtle smiles.
I love perfectly placed exclamation points and unexpectedly blunt periods.
I love everything about being a woman and, most of all, I love that female readers will probably bombard this post with raging comments that this is not a woman, to them, at all—because we are all unique and self-defined.
But, I’m a woman.
And I love my gender, my sexuality, my femininity and my rebelliousness against it too—and I want to celebrate these things just like we want to celebrate other facets of self-identity that are less categorical and likely to offend.
Yet being a woman isn’t something that’s black and white.
Take this story about Indian sprinter Dutee Chand.
Chand is being told she can no longer compete as a woman because her testosterone levels tested too high.
Yet Chand is a woman. She celebrates being a woman.
Actually, she’s currently fighting this definition that just because her body looks stereotypically different than a “woman’s” and because her naturally occurring testosterone levels are supposedly not low enough to be a woman, that she is still a woman and deserves to compete as one.
Her options, if she wants to compete under current athletic regulations: take drugs or have surgery to suppress the testosterone that her own body makes.
So, yeah, being a woman isn’t black and white.
Some women prefer white cotton panties while others prefer red lace (and some go commando).
Some of us drink our coffee black and some with milk (and others not at all),
But being a woman is something to be proud of; it’s something to be so proud of that we refuse to let others define what being a woman should mean to us—and what it shouldn’t.
So I’ll slip on my new black booties and my snug jeans. I’ll rub my hands over my rounding belly that houses a growing child for possibly a few more days.
And I’ll celebrate being a woman.
I’ll howl it. I’ll roar it. I’ll whisper it. (Depending upon my mood.)
But I’ll apologize to no one for my pride. Because I’m a woman. And I’m celebrating what that means to me.
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Editor: Emma Ruffin
Photo: Happy Flyer/Flickr
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