As we say goodbye to March and hello to April we may be quick to forget that March was National Women’s Month. And while it’s flattering to know that there’s a whole month dedicated to my XX chromosomes, I, personally, like to live every month like it’s Women’s Month. What does that mean? It means unapologetically being my womanly self, emphasis on the words unapologetically and my.
When it comes to talking about women and gender equality in our society, it’s common to come across people who have a particular picture of what being an unapologetic woman means and what beliefs that woman will have. Sometimes, some people think it means being dedicated to crushing the patriarchy and squeezing the balls of Man with your bare hands until they explode, thereby finally giving women the power they deserve. To others, being an unapologetic woman might be wearing and sassily walking in high heels and lifting and separating our sweater sisters while smiling at guys through red painted lips because we can.
But being an unapologetic woman doesn’t have to mean being an extreme (or being a caricature for that matter). Being a woman unapologetically means being yourself, being the woman you are, regardless of what others (male and female) think “being a woman” means. It means wearing yoga pants to class every day among girls in tight jeans and skirts. It means wearing tight jeans and skirts to the grocery store. It means buying twelve packs of beer from the grocery store, regardless of dress. And it means drinking those twelve packs of beer on the couch while watching a baseball game and burping loudly in front of your TV.
It means wanting to be married and raise a family. It means never wanting to change a baby’s diaper.
It means believing it’s wrong terminate a pregnancy and it means believing that everyone’s body is theirs and that they have their own choice.
Unapologetically being a woman means unapologetically being the person you want to be and standing up for being that person.
We as people, and especially as women, need to remember that while we are similar, we all are not all the same. We share the same title – woman – but we all have different wants and needs and beliefs and desires and we aren’t always going to agree with each other. But we won’t get anywhere by putting each other down just because we don’t see eye to eye. Conversation is what solves conflict, not insulting the validity of one’s being. I’ve known women who have dismissed others because they didn’t feel as strongly about a gender issue as they did, saying that they should be ashamed of themselves as women for being on the wrong side, making the disagreeing women feel like they aren’t “correctly” being women. But the thing about it is there is no correct way. The correct way is your way; the correct way is the woman you are. You don’t have to be your neighbor’s woman or your mother’s woman or society’s woman. The only woman you should be or have to be is the one you want to be.
The take-away is this: If I had to list some of the things about myself according to other peoples’ standards of womanness, I’d have a two to three item list. But I refuse to reduce myself to that:
- Despite my semi-perfectionist tendencies, my room is always a mess.
- I could live off of burritos and pizza my entire life.
- I stick my hair to shower walls and am sometimes impressed when it’s still there the next day.
- I rarely wear pants.
- I have a weird voice that isn’t very girly.
- I love kids but they terrify me at the same time.
- I fight for what I believe.
- I’m bad at spending money/I hate spending money
- I care a lot about people that are close to me. Too much, even.
- I’m weird and unconventional. I’m all over the place, mentally and physically. I can be absolutely ridiculous…
And that’s the woman I am. A weird, awkward, pizza obsessed woman. And I’ll shout it from a rooftop, just like you should. If you reduce yourself to what is expected from you or what you’re told to be, you’ll hide the things about your womanness that is the most important part: who you really are. And we as women are stifled enough by our society. Why stifle yourself? National Woman’s Month might only be 31 days long, but the other 334 days of the year are all chances to show what kind of woman you really are, without remorse, without apology, but with womanly pride.
Who are you? What are the things about your womanness that you are unapologetic about? How do you show the world the kind of woman you are?