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What makes a woman?

7 mins read

Okay check the headline and have a think about it. Because that’s definitely a question that is asked way too much. By asking that question alone, you are inviting a certain criteria made to define women and that’s not okay.

We’re living in a movement fight for equality of all types. Today is International Women’s Day and we need to talk about how there is no ‘type’ of woman anymore. Did there use to be? Yes. Because we allowed society to dictate what was ‘acceptable’ or worse, what was ‘normal’.

And it’s time to move on from that.

Because for too long I personally tried to be a specific type of woman. I tried being the ‘girl-next-door’ type that only made me feel strangled. Like I forever had to be predictable and modest no matter what. Are those bad traits? Not at all.

But the moment you choose to be a type is when you start closing doors. And that’s not what life is meant to be like. Your worth and likeability cannot be defined by others, your value needs to be your own to measure.

Image credit: Unsplash

And just thinking about that is emotionally exhausting: I was emotionally exhausted. Tired of trying to be too many different types because I wanted to be them all. Then all of a sudden aesthetics blew up and I was lost all over again.

Sure, I love flowy skirts, but my entire aesthetic can’t be cottage-core all the time. Man, plaid trousers honestly look so chic, but dark academia forever?

If you ask me, there’s too much value in aesthetics. I find them restricting, it means I can’t do what I want with my look. Especially with being a plus-size woman. There, I’ve addressed it. It is no secret that plus size women are especially restricted when it comes to fashion.

All women are in ways I won’t understand because I’m not them. I see many posts of women celebrating their bodies but the fact that it scares them to do so is wrong. Women shouldn’t be pressured to dress in a specific way because of the shape of their body.

Why can’t we live a peaceful life as men do?

Truly, is struggle what makes a woman? Because every woman I’ve met has faced a struggle of some sort. We’re constantly under the microscope, being psychoanalysed and compared to each other. It’s a struggle to even make friends sometimes because there’s just that lingering fear of not being the right type of woman.

This is why I love women’s bathrooms: the sacred haven. Yes, we all make jokes about what the atmosphere is like. Gals taking selfies in the mirror, strangers hyping you up, sharing jokes. I feel most feminine when I’m in the girl’s bathroom on a night out.

Is it because no men are there? Honestly, that’s possible.

Because women can be women without the tags, labels, or aesthetics. Doesn’t mean we’re all going to be best friends, but it does take off those lenses we view the world with. Our armour unshackles a little in each other’s presence and I can ask where you got that skirt from.

Image credit: Pinterest

Sometimes I feel as if I were born into an insecure little cage. From a young age, I was encouraged not to think too highly of myself out loud. To be modest in all aspects of life, but why? I want to know why other people’s perception of me should matter so much.

Why do I need to wait to have my voice heard? Why am I constantly apologizing? Why am I always smiling to not risk a resting bitch face?

More importantly, why is a resting bitch face such a gendered thing? Women can’t even be comfortable anymore. We always have to watch ourselves, making sure we’re presentable and appropriate.

But that’s not what makes a woman.

A woman is unafraid of herself. She is someone who makes choices, who chooses her own identity. Biology cannot define a woman, traditions cannot define a woman, and neither can culture. I tricked you, you see because nothing actually ‘makes’ a woman.

Being a woman is a lifestyle, a choice, and a never-ending experience. Some of us have strange bodily functions that we’ll never fully understand. Some of us will have to fight harder for society to accept us as women. Some of us will be given more privilege than others because of hatred and ignorance.

This is why we need to empower each other. Every walk of life differs but if we walk together we’re stronger. Don’t tell me not to be too loud, ask too much or dance differently. Let me be as I am because I had to fight to reach this far.

I had to fight for my own definition of being a woman. There is no universal one, only that which you choose for yourself. You take that and grow it, and you grow into the woman you are to be. Because you can’t be like the others, you have to be yourself.

Nothing could ever ‘make’ a woman. You are what you are because that is what you chose. There is pride in what has made you that person. Eradicate gender stereotypes, challenge the patriarchy and raise your voice when you have something to say.

We make ourselves by accepting ourselves.

Featured image credit: The Daily Mail

Deputy Editor of Brig Newspaper. Fourth year journalism and English student at the University of Stirling. Lover of covering social issues and creator of 'The Talk' column for everyone who needs to hear it.

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