Thursday, July 5, 2007

What makes you a Woman?

As my mom and I sat discussing a program we'd both seen on transgender females yesterday my mom said" You know I really understand where they are coming from"

Intrigued, I listened intently for the follow up. She continued on to say "Here I am, bald, no breasts, no uterus (my mom had a hysterectomy several years ago) and I couldn't feel more female. Being female is a state of mind. So I completely understand what they are saying. Your body doesn't define who you are. It's what you feel"

And while that makes absolute sense, I realized at that moment that I'd never really thought of being female as a state of mind.

It's just how I was born. I’m physically a female and thus I'd never given it any deeper consideration. Until now.

I'd like to think that my being female is also a state of mind and not just what exists physically. But then I have hair and I have breasts and I have my female reproductive organs intact. I’ve never had to think about what losing those things might do to my self image.

Would I still feel like a woman if I didn't have those things?

Would you?


Domestically Disabled Girl said...

hmmm...good question. i can only hope i would be as positive and sure of myself as your mom is.

oddly enough, the other day the bf asked me if i'd be getting a hysterectomy. (the fibroid tumor problem my mom has runs in the family and i've been having some wicked periods lately too.) i was insulted. and i think i brought up the "losing part of my femininity" comment. but when you think about it, why SHOULD it matter, really?

definitely something to ponder further.

Ally said...

Interesting question. In light of WhyMommy's recent diagnosis, as well as a breast cancer diagnosis my sister-in-law (who is also pregnant) recently received, I stood in front of the mirror the other day and tried to imagine myself without breasts. I flattened them out but couldn't quite achieve the full effect. I wasn't sure how I felt about it, other than it made me look a lot skinnier (cuz I'm still carting around breastfeeding watermellons). But I think were I to actual lose them, I might feel badly about it. Losing my uterus seems like it would be a much bigger deal. Not because I want to have more babies, but just because it would finalize that I can't. No one likes choices being taken away from them. Anyway, I'm babbling on... thanks for bringing up this interesting topic for thought.

Seattle Mamacita said...

wow WM heavy stuff...for me it is a state of mind i agree with your mom...looking at me you'd never think that i was born to a mexican mother some would argue that i'm not given my residence in the united states and a million other reasons but when I look in the mirror i see a latino lineage, an azteca in disguise ..
and i like the way your mom put it I'll be quoting her from now on, "your body doesn't define who you are. It's what you feel"

Absolutely Bananas said...

I totally am with your mom that it's a mindset.

Fourier Analyst said...

Your Mom sure has some wisdom. Congrats! I'm dealing with an 11-year who hates her body and is constantly talking about wishing she was a boy. I am walking the Mommy-tightrope of trying to make her feel good about herself, while in my mind I am wondering if there is something deeper going on. I remember similar feelings at her age, hating my developing breasts because the boys wouldn't let me play football anymore. My DD has always been a tomboy, climbing trees, playing soccer, and while she is pretty she is not really feminine. I am hoping she will grow into becoming comfortable in her own skin, but am preparing myself mentally for the "What if she doesn't?" Life is much too short to have to live in misery, no matter what the cause. Comfort does equal happiness.

Deep topic WM. BTW, thanks for stopping by my blog-in-progress.

Butrfly4404 said...

Deep, indeed.

I wonder that a lot.

I had a friend who got a hysterectomy at forty and was fine with it. I know someone else who felt like it took away her womanhood.

I think I would feel like I lost a part of myself if I had to do those things. I think maybe I've depended on them defining me too much? I wish I could say I would be like your mom. Maybe I'm too shallow. Maybe I'm too young. I just think it would take a lot for me to get over that. But that said - I know what she's saying for the transgendered. I hope that if I ever endure something like this, I am as strong as your mom.

Brillig said...

Gosh, I like to think that I would. Your mom's attitude is awesome and I hope that I will be the same if I find myself in a similar situation at some point.

Lene said...

Interesting question

Your mom is one amazing lady to have such an outlook.

I would like to say that I would agree. But I don't know deep down if I would feel that way. I need to spend some time with your mama! ;)

Sugar Kane said...

I've always wondered why women felt their femininity came from their breast size or organs no one can even see.

When I think of feminine, iconic women, I usually think of Audrey Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich. Neither of which are well endowed women. I think your mom has it right!

Queen Heather said...

I don't know. Gender is also just a veil for who we truly are. So I don't know how I'd feel about myself in that situation?

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I definitely would! I don't even know your momma and I LIKE her!

Being a woman is less about boobs and uterus...more about feeling feminine.

Makes you wonder about those transgender people.....HMMMM

I can tell you this.....being a teacher....I have noticed some YOUNG children (boys) who are INCREDIBLY feminine....I KNOW they did not choose that at such a young age!

Whiskeymarie said...

I wouldn't miss my uterus, I don't think, but I would have a had time with the breasts. I like them, I like how they make me feel.
But, they too can be reconstructed. I wouldn't risk my life to save them, that much I know.
I think, you either feel like a woman or feel like a man, what organs you have don't define you.
That's life.

Cherann said...

I'm pretty flat when I'm not breast feeding. So I've haven't got that female trait. But to tell you the truth...I still kind of feel weird calling myself a woman. I still kinda feel like I'm a girl.