This is an interesting question. To be honest, my parents were pretty chill people. They never forced an idea of “womanhood” down my throat. There was never that traditional sense of womanhood where you got married, had children, etc.

I think my parents were a bit ahead of their time and saw the writing on the wall. That, even if I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, I couldn’t. I had to work, because that was our economy. They were very realistic. Even my grandmother, who was fairly traditional, but worked part-time to travel, said to me, “You’re going to need your own money. Never depend on a man.”

She had a great marriage. One of the great love stories and she’s telling me this. For all of her traditional beliefs, she understood the world was changing around her. I am skeptical of feminism, but understand the good things that it has brought to women. Yes, some of it is extreme and there are trade-offs, but aren’t there always?

Every movement has unforeseen consequences. I don’t have to like them, but the freedom to face those consequences, as a woman, isn’t something I would’ve had 50 years ago. I’d rather face those and live with my choices.

In short, no, I don’t really have a drilled into me concept of what a woman should be. I think women are just as unique as men. Men and women are different and that’s a good thing.

My idea of womanhood is whatever I deem it to be for me, personally. I will not shove some ideology down another’s throat and as long as you’re happy, why the f*** do I care?

I’m aware that biology will rule the day and there will be aspects of myself that are distinctly female. That’s fine. I don’t need to be the same as a man, but I won’t fear them either.

What is a woman? I think it’s just an absurd question. Sure, I can tell you it’s someone with these chromosomes, a vagina, a uterus, etc., but are we really at the point, again, where we narrow women down to our body parts? This isn’t a commentary about trans-women. Trans-women are trans-women. That’s it.

Womanhood to me is whatever the f*** I want it to be. Whether that’s having kids and getting married or something else. Society has down enough “commentary” about what a woman is. Let the woman decide what she is. Everyone else? Mind your business.

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So happy to have joined (I never join these things but have followed you for so long I figured it's about damn time!) lol. I wouldn't really say I received messages about womanhood except ONE that prevailed throughout my life; which is that women are supposed to be thin. Period. No exception. Part of this is to make your parents proud that you're their kid, but also I suppose from an evolutionary perspective to increase the opportunities for mating. Being a woman was all about looking good and as such there was really no alternative. I realize when I grew up (gen xer) there was no alternatives. No internet. no Lizzo. no body positivity movements....It was THIS (magazines) is what you need to look like and these "models" were called models for a reason, as in we are to model ourselves/bodies after them and by any means possible. Period. No exception. End of story. I am so thrilled that we seem to have sort of outgrown this notion as a society. While being thin and pretty are still highly revered we have also made room for those who are not genetically gifted/freaks of nature who just look perfect all the time and come to our senses that the majority of the population don't and we should not all collectively aspire to what is really the exception and not the rule. We seem to have somewhat moved past the idea that if you are not X than you should be ridiculed, left out, excluded, shamed, alienated and cast off the island.

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Being a woman is biological. However, there are are personality traits that women are more likely to have. They are also more likely to be vulnerable in a way that men aren't. They can bear children - that's amazing!

In all honesty, I've never really been someone who has thought about being a woman very much. I am a woman, that is my reality. However, it's not something I've thought about in depth until what a woman was started being questioned. I have three older brothers, so have always tried to keep up with them, and show the world I can do just as much as they can. I've taken risks - and some... as a woman... were unnecessary and could have resulted in me losing my life. That is the reality. I have travelled widely, and much of the travel was prior to being married. As a solo woman, I was a target for ill-intentioned men. I'm 5ft 9, so imagine a woman of more diminutive stature, and how vulnerable she must feel, by comparison! In India, they have 'women only' train cars - I believe they also do in Japan. Women-only spaces exist for a reason.

I have no time for 'I'm a woman' delusions from males. You would not validate an anorexic by agreeing that they need to lose weight, or a bipolar individual by saying 'Yes, you really should drive your car into the lake - no, you're right, your kids really should be in the car with you.'. I am not an unkind person, but it is a cowardice masquerading as compassion to alter the definition of 'woman'. I a not an unkind person, and will treat individuals AS individuals, but avoid deep interactions with people who will cause me to choose between uttering a lie, or being blunt with the truth.

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Not to brag or anything: but I found it.

The irony that we are discussing human biology - that (about) 50/50 chance you get and XX or XY - with terms and slogans used for decades in the advertising industry to promote fads and trends is just funny. Your comment from Von about “all the rage” just made me smile. What is a woman?

It’s trendy and cool this season, but you’ll find that item on the yellow-dot clearance rack in no time.

What is a woman? It’s what all the cool kids are doing right now.

I have real feelings about this topic but it’s been a long day and it’s nice to unwind by throwing out some things that popped in my mind when I saw the post. Sometimes it doesn’t make me feel any better to get too granular about my intellectual ideas- sometimes it does.

Ah! I got it. The way I’m trying to word this brain tickler. The scene in Forrest Gump (favorite) when Lieutenant Dan is drunk and miserable, sitting in his wheelchair and living in a shitty NYC apartment and looks up at Forrest.

Dan: “Have you found Jesus, Gump?”

Forrest: quiet confused expression

Dan: “Have you found Jesus?”

Forrest: “Oh, ahh, I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him….”

*** What is a woman? ***

My brain in an innocently confused Minnesota accent:

Oh. Uffda. Ahhh. Feels like a pop quiz. We must be going true/false? MULTIPLE CHOICE?! Extra credit for short essay?

I know I’m not being serious, but I am in a way. The parallel I’m trying to draw from the Gump scene and similarities to my immediate reaction is: “Never occurred to me that question would be posed, never even crested awareness it would be a topic up for discussion.”

Simple innocence (not ignorance) and naivety aren’t the worst traits a person can have. It leaves you childlike in the ability to harness curiosity for good while not being jaded.

Who am I talking to - I’m sorting out thoughts in my brain about which I have no emotional charge or energy to battle over. It’s making me feel creative and a little sardonic wit is flowing. I am tired and need to sleep. I have a painful heat rash under both my breasts and itchy ingrown armpit stubble, I have hobbies and interests and appreciate keeping a home and working full time without children, cohabitation works, 2 dogs that are my world, I have a niece I love. My mother died when I was 5 so I think it’s cool to be a mom. A woman can birth a child- that’s neat, hey?

Am I a woman? I forgot the question.

I’m a rambling man.

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I need to learn how to use technology. I just sent an entertaining rant regarding this subject as a reply to Von questioning if this was opinions and Bridgette answering him she would write later. Well - I had fun and did not post it to this prompt. Got me creative. And it’s out in the ethos now. It was sorta funny.

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Let's just get this out of the way; a man is an adult human male. Likewise, a woman is an adult human female. Natural law is entirely independent to any one person's feelings. And no one's feelings supersede another's feelings. When I look in the mirror and feel unattractive, is it now objectively true? No one is allowed to find me attractive until I decide I'm handsome? Most of us are sensitive to other's feelings as most of us aren't sociopaths, however, it seems we are all trying to be so open minded that our collective brains are falling out.

Or, put it this way dear reader, you're wearing a jacket while I'm sporting a tee shirt. The temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit. We're experiencing completely different, completely dependent, completely valid feelings about the temperature. What's not happening is you identifying as 65 degrees outside while I'm identifying as 95 degrees. Now, dear reader, imagine I demanded you remove your jacket, recognize that it is 95 degrees, wear my preferred shirt and threaten your professional life and perhaps your freedom with the weight of law if you do not comply. Does that sound right?

Moving on, the messaging growing as a man in the 80s, as far as I recall from the perspective of living in Oklahoma, was about a man works to provide for his family, protect those who can't protect themselves, and is a good citizen to the community. Living off others, treating women poorly regardless if it's your mother-in-law that doesn't like you, and general rudeness was not tolerated in a man. As far as what 'man work' was, sure more often than not I was mowing the lawn and mom was cooking, but no one blinked an eye the other way around. As long as you were playing your part to help, all good!

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I really appreciate your post Jake. I like that you are able to articulate the point I find myself at. Why is this even a question? Like it’s a great question for a prompt AND it just boils down to reality being reality whether you believe it or not, accept it or not, IT IS STILL THERE. I was having a heart to heart in the stairwell with my dad at a rehab he was in for alcoholism about 10 years ago and that phrase popped in my mind during our conversation. “Whether you accept it or not, reality is still there.”

Reality is reality no matter your opinion or feelings. This is what reality is. It is OBJECTIVE truth. For what it’s worth, I’m putting biology into the reality category. Accept or deny. Biological chromosome structure making you male or female for reproductive purposes is not an OpEd issue for discussion. I think the world may need a bit more of -it is what it is, because it is what it is, otherwise it would be what it is. Feelings are valid- but feelings are not facts and certainly do not supersede reality.

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[Looking down at feet, kicking rocks; Hands in pockets.] Aw shucks...

Seriously though, thank you! And you’re correct, I feel. Biology is certainly objective reality. Like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, biology "Won't be ignored, Dan!" Elsewise, why is anyone color blind? Can't you ignore biological truth and be NOT color blind?

Like what you like. Find love in whatever shape suits you. Just don't say an apple is an orange!

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Wow Jake!

That was a great way to illustrate the difference between hard truth and personal reality. Thanks for that💜

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How kind of you to say. What a fun boost for today!

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Wow, big questions really. My mom was very into being lady-like. And I went to Catholic school where we were forced to wear skirts and jumpers, no pants, unless crazy cold outside. My factory settings for women are we should wear makeup if going to work or to an important event; I wear a dress or skirt to church; I do NOT wear sweatpants outside the house, ever! I like to do things for my family, including “women’s work”, like cooking, cleaning, laundry etc. I expect the hubby to handle all things outside.

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