How did you learn what it meant to be a man/woman?
The prompt this week was really tough. I started more than one conversation about learning what it means to be a man/woman. I got extremely different answers. One said that for them it was an iterative process – learned what it meant, was proven wrong, changed, then tried again. Another said that for them it was a process of observation – observing different female role models taking what they found to be their best traits and emulating those. Another said, “Tough question, good luck with that!”
I don’t ever remember having a moment that screamed “Oh my gosh! So this is what it means to be a woman.” I still do not know exactly what it means “to be a woman.” It’s a work in progress. For inspiration, I was doing some Google searching, and found some quotes that are the opposite of what being a woman means to me.
“When a woman has scholarly inclinations, there is usually something wrong with her sexuality.”-Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
Ugh, wrong. At least this guy was from ‘ancient’ times, but a woman can and should be smart and inquisitive without “having something wrong.”
“I’ve yet to be on a campus where most women weren’t worrying about some aspect of combining marriage, children, and a career. I’ve yet to find one where men worry about the same thing.” – Gloria Steinem (1934-)
Unfortunately, I find these quotes to still be true. It shouldn’t be. I hear some single ladies say, “I’m 35 and still single. I wonder what’s wrong with me.” NOTHING! I seriously doubt 35-year-old single men are thinking the same thing. Women should have to worry about juggling and combining, but so should men. A relationship should be an equal partnership. One in which each can succeed in whatever way they define success. Why should a woman have to be the only mega multi-tasker in the relationship?
“Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or [scientist] if at the same times she manages to be a good wife, good mother, good looking, good tempered, well groomed, and unaggressive.” – Leslie McIntyre
Hmmm…it is certainly impossible to be good/great at everything. Sometimes the best thing you can do is knowing that you’re not good at everything and then asking for help.
“Ideally a woman should not have a career unless it is necessary for the financial stability of the marriage.” – Melissa Sadoff
Say what? This quote is simply appalling. I’m starting a career and going to have one regardless of whether I get married. I also found another quote stating something like all single ladies are destined to be poor…seriously? I am and will be doing quite well for myself thank you very much. I certainly will not be following the “Good Wife’s Guide.”
“A woman can keep one secret – the secret of her age.” – Voltaire
Well Mr. Voltaire, not all women partake in gossiping. You just don’t know any of the secrets, because if we told you they wouldn’t be a secret. Duh!
I know many of these quotes were extreme examples, but being a woman means knowing what is best for me. What’s best for me is being smart, having determination, starting a career, stating my mind, and knowing what I want. Madonna perfectly sums it up, “I’m tough. I’m ambitious. I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a b*tch, okay.”
Bridget Scoville is a pharmacist with a scholarly interest in the kidneys. She is completing a post-graduate research fellowship at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. When she’s not working on research, Bridget can be found running, swapping stories over coffee, laughing with friends during dinner, or youth mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters.