As a young adult, my (boy)friends used to call me a feminazi. There are probably definitions on the internet, but what it meant in my circle was a rigid (if not aggressive) feminist. I was on a quest—no, a mission—to have equal rights and experiences as men. Equality means the same, right? Woman=Man? I wanted to be taken seriously but felt like all guys could see was my anatomy. So, I downplayed my feminine characteristics (note the large plaid flannel). In fact, I went so far as wanting to be treated as one of the boys. I wanted to hang out with them in the kitchen or around the truck—those exclusive meeting places of the fraternity of boys. What did they do there? They rolled their own cigarettes and drank. They talked shit and challenged each other. Equal? Heck, I can drink this whole bottle of tequila! They spit and worked things out by wrestling or with their fists. Hey, I could do that, too. Walk alone at night? Sure. Adventure! It wasn’t until I decided to have a baby that I realized something: I’m a girl. Boys and girls are not the same, but that doesn’t mean girls are the weaker sex. We can still work together for equal rights. For this, I am grateful to the feminist movement. Because I’m a woman, I will always advocate for women—just not to the detriment of men.
In The Spirit of Intimacy, Sobonfu Some says, “Being a woman does not mean you have nothing to do with masculine energy. Similarly, being a man does not mean you have nothing to do with the feminine. Vaginas and penises are not the only things that define our sexual nature. Our lives are influenced by the presence within us of both feminine and masculine energies. It is important that these energies maintain harmony within us.” She goes on to describe annual rituals in which the women go off together to dance their projective manliness and the men go off to dance their feminine receptiveness. Sobonfu says, “You will notice in many villages in Africa, during the days women are all together, men are all together also. This is not a sexist practice. It’s just that for some reason there’s a feeling that a clear sense of otherness is essential to a harmonious coming together with your mate.”
I am a woman. It’s taking me awhile to figure out what this means to me. To value and refine my intuition. To learn to be assertive without being (or feeling like) a bitch. To love my womanly body. To recognize the importance of being the matron, the priestess of the home. To envision the healthy heritage I want to pass on to my family and my extended family. To find support and camaraderie in my girlfriends.
So sisters, what does being a woman mean to you?