On the 9th August we as South Africans celebrated woman’s day. A day that remembers the 20 000 woman who marched “to protest against legislation aimed at tightening the apartheid government’s control over the movement of black women in urban areas.”
This portrait of Katinka photographed by Judith Belle Adventure Stories inspired me to think about what makes me a woman. We may not be marching against pass books (or even marching at all) but there is still something lying under the surface of femininity and being a ‘real woman’ that I feel needs to be freed.
When I was in school I can remember a ‘friend’ (bad bloody friend) telling me I wasn’t allowed to celebrate woman’s day because I hadn’t started my period yet and that meant I wasn’t a real woman!
As mean as that sounds and as much as it hurt to hear she wasn’t the first or last person to tell me I had to do/be/have something to be a real woman.
In school being a real woman was centered around wearing a bra, starting my period, long hair and liking boys.
Then being a real woman started to be centered around losing my virginity, finding a career path, moving out of the house and becoming a wife or at least someone’s.
Now I find myself in the realm where being a real woman means having children, having a house and not wearing tracksuit pants in public.
I bet you becoming a mother is not the end to the million more imaginary milestones and badges to collect to allow me to call myself a real woman either. Fun.
So it made me think (and I’m still thinking on this) What actually makes me or you a real woman? And who made this fact?
If we need periods, bra’s, men, children, the right anatomy at birth, hormones or to love pink to be a real woman then what about woman who don’t have these things?
Woman who don’t have boobs because of breast cancer or ‘surfboard’ genes or any other random factor?
What about woman who choose never to lose their virginity or worse didn’t have a choice and it was taken?
What about woman who become mothers through a different route than actual pregnancy & labor or woman who decide never to have children?
What about woman who don’t have a period because they were born in a man’s body or have reached menopause?
What about nuns or woman who never get married or woman who are divorced?
Are they not real woman?
I’m starting to feel that maybe what makes us ‘real woman’ is the permission (not from others but ourselves) to be our true selves. To love that self and trust that self and to know that it is whole and real just as it/you/we are?
This is why Katinka’s picture sparked this entire rant in me. She is in high school and to me these images capture a true self that is whole and real just as she is. That’s incredible! And good! And I wish I saw it more!
I am a real woman not because of what I have or haven’t done but because of the messy, crazy, real feminine energy I choose to own as it is, as I am.
So this is the really preachy, rah-rah part of this blog… but I wanted you to know that you are a real woman not because of what you have or haven’t done, the body you inhabit or the life choices you make but because of the messy, crazy, real feminine energy you choose to own as it is, as you are.
You are you and YOU darling face are enough! Like lots enough!
With all my heart and deepest ‘real woman’ love please be kind to yourself and the girls and woman around you. We need it.
P.S. if this sparked anything in you please share it with a woman you know and love…if we can ‘march’ together maybe we can break this crazy ‘control’ and lie about who we are and need to be.
Quoted info from – http://www.gov.za/womens-day