Do you think “fairy princess”? “Bad bitch”? “Trap Queen”? “Barbie”? “Boss”? “Mother”? “Business Owner”? ” “Self-made”? “Of adult age”? “Living outside of your parent’s house”? Something else?
I ask because I wonder if the idea of womanhood has become so influenced by external forces, like the media, that we have learned to title ourselves as something too shallow.
Often, the idea of being a “grown woman” is generalized around being financially independent and being able to do “whatever she wants”. But more often, the idea of doing “whatever she wants” is highly affiliated with sexuality, the use and exploitation of one’s sexuality, rather than being liberated in all aspects of being a human being that can act freely.
In other words, even though women are empowered to be more, it seems to me as if women are still led to choose embrace these older, outdated models of sexualized womanhood under new, trendy names rather than redefining a deeper meaning for the essence of that which we call woman.
At first glance to me, the broad subject of “womanhood” brings to my own mind topics like femininity, beauty, fashion, makeup, high-heels, hair, motherhood, sexuality and even women’s health. Yes, I even think of women in business and women in the workforce as a huge part of the discussion on womanhood. However, when I really think about womanhood, I try to get a sense of the “essence” of what lies at the core of this subject.
To me, being a woman is so much more than can be described in a simple phrase. It is to be a powerfully influential part of society. The gate keepers of the future. The mothers of the next generation. The ones who have endured centuries of oppression from the opposite sex and still thrived. Goddesses in our own right. But women are divine creatures that do flourish better under certain conditions, just like any other living creature.
These conditions, however, are not the comforting, external kind you might have initially thought of. These are internal conditions of the mind, the heart, your health and your spirit. A girl can survive and make it anywhere if she has these things right.
That’s because, it’s really what’s on the inside that determines how your life is going to play out and the person that you will be. The essence of you will become your reality. What’s on the inside? Character, beliefs and thoughts.
The essence of a woman is her character. Everything you see on the outside: the way she carries herself, the way she behaves, the way she dresses herself, how she speaks, how she treats others, the things she does out of habit, etc. are the result of the character that she embodies.
No matter how much a person can put up a front, eventually, what’s on the inside will leak out. The real person can always be felt beneath the act. A person’s character is their fundamental nature, whether by subconscious or deliberate programming. A person cannot act different from their true character for long periods of time. Our character is the defining characteristics of who we are.
Character, now, is the result of actions but more importantly, belief.
Let me explain by example.
If a person starts going to the gym to attain a specific goal, they can only do one of two things: reach their goal or quit at some point.
The one who reaches their goal is the one who would have had to develop discipline, stay committed and follow the natural laws of fitness. More importantly, that person had to believe they could attain that goal.
If they did not initially believe, they would not have acted on that belief. The result of their action resulted in them cultivating character qualities like discipline, integrity to commitments and an understanding of process and progress. These things become a part of “who” they are. Fit and good-looking, other results of hitting the gym properly, become part of “what” they are.
Are you starting to understand what I’m trying to say?
Let me continue…
The one who doesn’t end up reaching their goal is the one who probably believed they could do it at first, but got discouraged, distracted or disinterested at some point. Most likely, they started to feel impatient about seeing results and began to believe that it would take too long or wouldn’t work for them at all.
It’s an obvious statement that this individual did not have the same discipline or integrity to their commitment that the one who persisted did, nor did they cultivate it. In fact, they are characterized as the opposite of those things: undisciplined, uncommitted, and ignorant towards or too impatient for the principles of process and progress.
Note: In the event where life circumstances resulted in the individual being unable to fulfill their goals, this “black and white” logic does NOT apply. In these situations, the sacrifices we make reflect the character that we possess.
In both cases, their beliefs drove their actions which resulted in the character qualities that adopt as a result of these choices. Even in the case where a person must sacrifice his or her own goal for the needs of their family or something else of higher priority, these all reflect and cultivate character in that individual.
The choices we make, the actions we take and the things we prioritize and prize are the result of our beliefs and result in our character.
When I say beliefs, I mean the things we deeply and truly believe about ourselves, the world that we live in and our relationship to that world. Not our conscious beliefs that we would like to think was at the core of our paradigms, but our internal, subconscious beliefs that drive our reactions and all automatic behaviors.
An example of this would be to sit on a chair. If you willingly sit on a chair, you subconsciously believe that this chair is strong enough to hold you up. You may not have consciously thought, “This chair looks strong enough to sit on” when you first sat there, but your mind made an assessment that allowed you to believe that the chair could hold you up, thus enabling you to lower your weight into the chair without bracing yourself for a fall. You would not have sat down with so little conscious thought otherwise.
But if you had looked at the chair and its image looked unstable to you, you may automatically assess that the chair is not fit enough to hold you up and you will not be able to put your butt down on that seat without bracing yourself for a fall, if you even tried at all.
That belief you formed about the chair was a subconscious belief, but it is a belief nonetheless.
Your character is a result of these kinds of beliefs, the ones you act on without even thinking about it.
Now, these beliefs are actually the result of your thoughts. Your thoughts, the ones that you sometimes like to think are your beliefs, is the medium that continuously feeds and programs your subconscious. The thoughts we have again and again eventually go on autopilot and repeat without your effort. They become part of your subconscious thought stream and eventually, a part of your fundamental ideas about the yourself and the world, aka your beliefs.
It’s just like when a kid is exposed to crime for the first few times and repeats thoughts to himself saying that “it is okay”, just to be able to live with it. But eventually, he becomes desensitized to it and even learns to accept it. Most of the time, he even comes to believe that crime is just another part of life, even natural.
Or when a woman learns to see herself as a sex object, and is offended by it at first. But overtime, with exposure to a society that prefers women on their knees to women in high places, the majority of young women will succumb to the idea that being a sex object is a good thing to be and most seem to desire to be it. Even though at some point some of these women may strive to be something greater, many will be defeated by the idea that if they’re women, only sex will sell them.
That’s why, the things we think of ourselves as woman and about womanhood is so crucial to how we exist as women. Do you think that the popularized ideas of womanhood, like being a “bad bitch” is a good definition of what you want womanhood to mean for you, your daughters or your grandkids?
Now that you’ve read this, really pinpoint your thoughts and ideas on womanhood.
I want to know, what you think of when I say that I talk about womanhood? Because I want to talk about what it means to be a woman. I want to talk about the character of a woman. I want to talk about what we think of ourselves and what we believe about ourselves. Because that’s what real womanhood boils down to.
A woman is a physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual creature. The condition of her being will determine how woman, and how excellent of a woman, she is or can ever be.
Womanhood isn’t just about beauty or all things feminine. Womanhood is about the role that women play in society, about our character, our power, our influence and our impact.
Over the next few months I am going to be delving more heavily into the real subject of womanhood, and the subject of being a woman.
I’m going down this path because I want to see the women of my generation more empowered than the last. I don’t want silly girls calling themselves bad bitches without knowing what it means. I mean, it’s okay to be a bad bitch if you’re talking about a woman who is awesomely excellent in almost every way. But when you’re a bad bitch because you twerk and save your part-time job money to wear tight dresses to the club on the weekend….I mean, this makes me worry about what the world is coming to.
I want women to unite, support and uplift each other and become more and more influential in our own societies. And to do that, we have to get the real meaning of womanhood defined and out there for the world to share.
It’s time to redefine womanhood.