With all of the panic around a certain tanned president’s attitude towards women and the global women’s marches in response to it I’ve been thinking for a few weeks about what it means to be a woman. This post has gone through various iterations while I’ve wrestled with my own brain to figure out what I want to say.
Growing up I was a tomboy to the point that I refused to wear the girls’ uniform at school and insisted on wearing the boys’ one. I screamed and threw epic tantrums if it was suggested that I had to wear a dress for a special occasion. I was happiest in my oldest, softest jeans with holes in them and a ratty t-shirt. I went through a phase of actually wanting to be a boy because they seemed to have all the fun and got to play football while the girls had to do boring stuff like play with dolls and learn dance routines.
As a side note I do wonder if my life would have turned out the same if I was growing up now and if my desire to be a boy had been taking a sign that I had gender dysphoria. I never felt like I was in the wrong body, I just wanted to be a boy because boys’ lives seemed more fun.
Anyway, that tomboy streak has never left me and even now I love to chill out at home in men’s pyjama bottoms, I often pinch my husband’s jumpers and my default fashion setting is ‘comfort’. Don’t get me wrong, I love to dress up now for special occasions with all the make up and hair but on an everyday level I just don’t want to. For me there are more important things to do each day than stand in front of a mirror and apply a full face of makeup or do my hair. I don’t even own a hairbrush.
So when someone makes a comment about women being ‘womanly’ or not it makes my blood boil. Firstly, part of me wishes (despite my love for who I am) that I could be effortlessly elegant and look like I just threw together a stylish and classy outfit. Unfortunately, that’s just not me, I don’t know how to do that and I don’t have the inclination to learn. If that’s you and your definition of being a woman then great!
Secondly, and most importantly, what does it even matter how ‘womanly’ I am and who gets to decide what’s womanly or not? If it’s womanly to be demure, giggly and agree with whatever anyone says then I don’t want to be a part of that. If it’s womanly to always be sexy, dress to attract other people and only think about my outward appearance then I also don’t want anything to do with that. Again however, if that’s what being a woman means to you then you go for it.
Being ‘womanly’ to me means only one thing; being the woman that you want to be. I don’t care if you were born physically a woman, if you identify as female, if you’re now a woman having been born in the wrong body or anything in between, the only kind of woman you need to be is the woman that you want to be. Do not let anyone, loved ones, the media, society or anyone else tell you what it means to be a woman.
I’ve spent years apologising for not being girly, delicate and elegant but I’m not going to do that anymore. I am me, love it or hate it.