Deanne and I (Holly) were chatting the other day about this question and thought it might be a neat conversation starter blog post. As you read my thoughts on the question, think about it from your own perspective and maybe even share your thoughts. Let’s agree right off the bat that we won’t likely have the same views, however. Being a woman is a very personal and individual experience on which I certainly do not profess to hold any authority! (Nor do I intend to get political on the subject…)
To me, in spite of nearing age 40, I consider being a woman a fairly new experience. Up to this point, I have not really found that I understood my own voice and my own perspective. It is only now that I am beginning to really feel comfortable in my own skin; to be able to own my femininity. It took until now to be able to see femininity as a force of strength and not as a potential weakness that could make me vulnerable.
See, growing up, I was very fortunate in that I was always told that I had a lot going for me. My father reminded me regularly that I was intelligent and capable, and he always added that my gender would cause me to have to face different obstacles than my male counterparts. He made sure I understood that my femininity could put me at risk of harm and that it could stand in my way of success. He did this to prepare me and to help me to learn to stand up for myself. I used that preparation to protect myself and, consequently, to deny some of the more feminine aspects of my nature.
Today, I work at a women’s clothing store, where I am encouraged to wear things and to present myself in a far more feminine way than my career has previously called for. And I’m loving it! I don’t feel that I am putting myself at risk of not being taken seriously, nor of putting myself in harm’s way.
I feel empowered. I feel bold. I feel beautiful and expressive and fun.
Being a woman to me, today, is about expressing myself physically, emotionally and creatively; not being afraid of how others might judge me. It is also about acting as a support to others to find their own balance of femininity, power and playfulness.
At 30 Church Women’s Clothing, I have gained the opportunity to experience womanhood as a sisterhood, as a confidence-building and empowering club, of which it is a privilege to be a member. Womanhood is not meant to be a competitive experience where we knock each other down, but a team-effort aimed at building us all up in order to be able to nurture our society and our communities to be stronger.
So, that’s my perspective on womanhood, at least for this morning…
What is yours?