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What Does It Mean To Be A Woman?

What does it mean to be a woman? This is a question I’ve grappled with plenty of times. I know what a woman is, what one looks like, and the reproduction aspects of it. But, what does it really mean?

I honestly don’t know.

But, before you click off of this page because I basically told you I have no answer to the question I just presented, let’s go through some womanly basics.

According to Merriam-Webster, there are a few definitions listed under “woman.” Two of them go as follows,

  1. “an adult female person.’
  2. “a woman who is a servant or personal attendant.”

The first definition is fine, simple and straight to the facts, since we are females and adults for most of our lives. And even though we do now have a robot citizen, I’m pretty sure most women are people or persons. It’s the second definition that bothers me. Why is it that we as women, are seen as servants or attendants? Why are we tied to the notion of giving, rather than receiving? Why are we known to follow, rather than to charge?

This goes back to conventional values. I’m not going to get all spiritual on you, but in the eyes of most religious institutions, a woman is seen as the supporter of man. Men are the head of the household and make the decisions, while a “woman’s place” is in the home; taking care of children, baking bread, and basically shutting up whenever the man is speaking. This type of society has always angered me, ever since I was a child. My mother would tell me stories of her life, and how her first husband limited her place in this world. She encouraged me to never fall into the trap that these “conventional values” had set for women. It was her guidance that first made me think of a woman’s power. The thought of someone else controlling my life and restricting my decisions, filled me with the desire to be accomplished. It gave a passion and drive, that defines me to this day.

Now, the definition of feminism, by Merriam-Webster reads, “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.”

It is 2018, and the fact that equal pay is still not existent in almost all business and job fields, is astounding to me. It’s beyond wrong, it’s downright disgraceful. It has nothing to do with job performance, because it has been proven VARIOUS times that a woman can do her job better than a man, but I’m not here to compare. It’s the idea of EQUALITY that is being overlooked. The sad fact is, is that it doesn’t matter that it’s 2018, or that equality has been improved over time, it’s that those “values” I mentioned before are still there in the deep woodwork. That “powerful” men are intimidated by women, and they can’t let go of that second-hand “following” of women. So we suffer. So we are denied. So we are wronged.

I don’t identify as a feminist per say. I do believe in feminism and equality, but I don’t participate in the organized activity that goes along with it. If there is a spectrum of a feminist, I would be at the faintest. I hope to become more involved in the movement and start to contribute.

But that is me, and my definition of who I am. I don’t want to change your beliefs or try to get you to think like me, I want you to think of yourself.

What does it mean to be a woman? That I don’t know, but I know what it means to me.

Women are revolutionary, trail-blazers, strong, powerful, emotional, sensitive, loving, and above all, equal. Women have had to struggle for centuries and still continue to this day, but have never given up.

I’ve learned this through history, life-experience, and stories. And I will continue to learn.

I’m not trying to be better than a man, but I ABSOLUTELY don’t want to be seen as lesser than one. I will accomplish my dreams with the support of the wonderful women and men who have shaped who I am.

I am a woman. I know what being a woman means to me. What does it mean to you? 

Peyton is in her junior year at UCF. She is a journalism major and a political science minor. She has always had a passion for writing and enjoys  being a UCF HerCampus team member. Go Knights! 
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