What Makes a Woman?
As a woman of a very unique gender experience, I have often asked myself what makes a woman. Is it the fact that you can carry a child, give birth, and enter into motherhood? Is it the fact that humans are made up of X and Y chromosomes to distinguish us apart as male or female? Is it the nurture and nature of ones experience through girlhood to womanhood? Is it simply the fact that men and women have internal and external sex organs that label us a man or a woman? Or is it simply a self-owned title or label given to us by ourselves or others designed through systematic gender roles?
The answer to all of these questions, is subject to opinion. All too often transgender people are told that they are not a man or a woman and they are in fact what someone else says they are because they were not “born” as one or the other. We are all labelled as something from someone else based on an opinion or information that we have learnt through our own life experiences, moral beliefs or religious views.
I often would ask myself, am I woman enough? Am I in fact a woman because I can’t have children, I wasn’t assigned female at birth and I was told I was something else that did not validate my own thoughts or experiences? How do I define that I am a woman?
For me the answer is simple. I am a woman because I know that I am. I don’t need to be able to give birth to offspring, I don’t need to have my period once a month, I don’t need to choose the path that was assigned to me based off my genitalia at birth. I don’t need to do anything but be the person I want to be.
To me womanhood comes from within. It is your own thought processes, it is your mannerisms, it is your self-belief and it is the feeling deep in your core that validates you as being a woman.
Everyone has different experiences and there is no right or wrong way to be woman. Some women are masculine, some women are feminine, some women can have children and others can’t (regardless of biological gender), some women have a vagina and some women have a penis, as much as some people find this hard to grasp.
The world is a very diverse place and you cannot tell someone they aren’t something just because you don’t believe they are based on your own personal beliefs. We all make judgements, we all make assumptions and we all have opinions that more often than not are none of our business.
It took me a long time to come to terms with knowing that I was enough. That I am just as much of a woman as the mother on the train with two children, the woman giving birth on a medical documentary, the grandmother playing with her beautiful grandchildren in the park. I am just as much of a woman as every woman because I say and know that I am.
Every woman, man and gender non conforming person has a unique experiences and who you are and what you label yourself as, is your own. If your womanhood, your manhood or neither of these is something you have ever questioned because of someone else, then don’t. Don’t ever let anyone else tell you that you aren’t who you say you are because the only person that can label you as whatever the hell you want, is you.