What is there to value about being female was a question posed to me by a friend who was going through a rough patch in understanding who she was as a person. Here is part 2 of our email dialogue. Part one can be found here.
Remember, on the heels of this article about “Asking for Rape” clothing labels that I posted on facebook and this poem called Woman that I found in my archives, I found this email dialogue from October 2007. I think its very interesting. Let me know what you think.
The last thing I wrote the friend was….But if you want, one day you will leave your father in the painful memories of the past and you will embrace now, this moment, the being that you are. You can believe, think, do, say whatever you want about yourself. If you want to be less than embrace that. If you want something different, you can have that too.
:::Her Response Went As Follows:::
I guess it doesn’t come through in the email, but the father/daughter woundedness that is the foundation of the question only prompts the question and no longer lives in me. I went to this service at church… it ended up being about “issues with dad and how they affect your relationship with God.” While I didn’t think I needed to hear it-the service still got me thinking. Part of the service said to confess the sins of your father. My dad didn’t value me as a woman and I was thinking that leads to me not valuing me as female. But in talking all this out, (in reading your email and others) I’m seeing how little he really plays in all this. I’m seeing that, all positive characteristics are gender neutral–so then what about being female?
Take away the gender neutral positive qualities and what is there? Motherhood. Less muscle. More hormones. And any stereotypes the world, other men or women may place on me as “female” that I must ignore and replace with my own ideas of what it means to be me. Wasn’t it Eleanor Roosevelt who said a woman must work twice as hard to be thought half as good? Do you think that’s true? I ignore the idea that some men will disregard me just for being female no matter how good I am at what I do. That I may be called a bitch just for being assertive. But whether or not I ignore it will not always stop it from affecting me or limiting me at work or church.
These are my updated thoughts after reading your email and others. Your strength as a person, as you are is awesome. That should be the goal for all people. But have you ever been specifically pissed off in some instance where your being female became a frustration? Where a man or woman treated you differently to a large degree because of it or where you felt limited by it? I had a dream i was a man once. It was so freaking liberating. But then again, that’s my dream, my head, my idea of being male. (I was trying to break my girlfriend and I out of an underground prison. I was actually very physically strong and it felt good to assert leadership without the societal and religious tack of “but she’s a woman…”) that may be too weird to share…haha, I harbor no longings to change genders. At the heart of it, I think strong woman are more kick ass than strong men…but am trying to figure out why, how and under what circumstances that happens…
Also, “woman” to me = strong kick ass awesome. “female” to me seems like a weak word.
Thanks for dialoguing with me on this. I’m trying to weed out what thoughts I’ve got that are from past false thinking that has stuck.
:::My Response went as follows:::
A word is a word and we attach meaning to it. We breathe life into it and let it be whatever it is we want. Female. Woman. Strength. It can all mean whatever you want it to be.
But the thing is I don’t care. I am whoever I am. I know my strengths and what I want to further develop.
People may see me as less than but I can’t control that. I do me. Black people say that same phrase about working twice as hard. I believe it to be an excuse to play the victim. No one wants a victim.
I find that I attract what I feel, believe, desire, think, emote. So having a balance centered sense of self attracts men, jobs, situations, friendships of the same light.
I think a lot of women have damaging views of self because of church and religion. A lot of the BS comes right from there.
Men are made objects just as much as woman are. You should read “Lip service; the dark truth in women’s love, sex and friendship’ That has good insights too.
This ’emotional’ thing. That’s just bullshit. Depends on where you theories come from. Are you nature or nurture? I lean more towards nurture. We are taught how to be. When a little girl scraps her knee, daddy kisses it. When the son does it, he says man up even though the pain hurts just the same.
I want to do an experiement that is completely illegal. A baby girl and boy are born. We isolate them from society completely and each other. Leave them where ever, same environment but separate. Jungle. Lab. Where ever. No human contact.
Come back 18 years later. What kind of man and woman are they going to be?
I always wonder about that.
Yes there are inherent differences between man and woman. Penis. Vagina. There are others too. But I would venture to say the ones we think are the differences are not.
Man I really want to do that experiment but its illegal.
:::Her Response went as follows:::
Very good point on attracting what we believe. Very very true. I’m not sure if I would be commenting on this if I werent living in this suburb, weren’t working at a religious company. You’re right about the gender problem with religion BS. My non christian friends seem to feel more equality. They acknowledge that sexism exists in the workplace and in life, but they seem to encounter it less and be more prepared to handle it.
Man it’s amazing how much clearer my thoughts have gotten just over the past two days in being able to dialogue with you and others. Thoughts are powerful and choosing to change your perception of things is equally powerful. that’s what the Secret is about yeah?
Haha, I wish you could do that experiment too. I’ve been meaning to check out that book, I remember you reading it in college. I’ll put that next on the queue.
I don’t know where I’m at with nature and nurture. I’m thinking more nurture. Gotta ponder that a little more though.
:::Back to Present Day:::
I am unsure how our conversation ended. The email train ended up abruptedly. Looking back and thinking now, this is what comes to mind.
I personally do not like the question, “What is there to value about being female?” Our idea of “female” is channeled through many filters and the concept itself is a filter. The essence of who I am, my spirit, my soul…it does not have a gender. The better question is “What is there to value about being you, about being human?” And the answer is everything.
Male or Female or Transgendered….You are here for such a time as this. You are here to enhance the world in which we live, to learn or reveal a great truth, to LOVE. Simple as that. Your father’s sins, your mistakes, the world’s hang ups are small matter in the face of what is really important. You are a holy being. Living life sacredly to honor your holy self is what matters. DON’T EVER LET ANYONE TELL YOU DIFFERENTLY, NOT EVEN YOURSELF.