By Josephine Makofane
“Growing up I thought I had a pretty good idea of what being a woman meant. All the woman around me or should I say the women I looked up to had a lot in common-they had successful careers, they were married, they were mothers and they were involved in their communities.
Then I sat down and thought of all the different types of woman that I’ve come to know during my childhood who made an impression on me-some of them have been unmarried, some without
kids, some at the start of their careers and some at the top of their careers; some enjoying meaningful work as homemakers, some young, some old and some somewhere in between .
Many of them have different perspectives on their womanhood and have different philosophies on how to go about living a healthy, happy life so I found myself wondering ;
“what exactly does it mean to be a woman.”
Because I grew up under the care of my grandmother and not my mother, I learnt about womanhood from her. With all I have learnt from her I concluded that, being a woman meant having a female sex organ, having breasts, hair, being able to carry a baby for nine months and also being able to give birth. I thought being a woman meant being able to cook, clean, take care of your husband, your kids and keeping your family together.
Only to realise my conclusion was wrong, these are just duties of a woman.
Being a woman is more than biology and maybe it even goes beyond critically looking at gender as a social construct. I think one of the unfortunate traits of women nature is that we feel a need to categorize women. We limit them and say that she is ‘’that kind of a woman’’ and that kind of a woman is categorized as one who is traditional, modern or a feminist or not a feminist or liberal or conservative or a virgin or a whore. The list goes on.
To me, being a woman in the first place is being a human being and recognizing the complexity that comes with all of that. Too often , we make people the sum-total of one characteristic or value that they may embody, and apart from the fact that people, believe it or not are dynamic , they’re also complicated .
Being a woman is a recognition of some of the weaknesses that you may be ascribed from birth and the uphill battle you might face in a less than perfect world. But its also recognizing the strengthsthat come with womanhood-
the strength of your heart, your mind, and your body, which differ from woman to woman.
A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nuture and transform. A woman is a shoulder to cry on, a drive,and the greatest supporter any person could ever wish for.
Margret Thatcher said
If you want something said, ask a man if you want something done ask a woman.
And we all know that well done is way better than well said. Being a woman means being strong , being respectful , knowing what humanity truly is and having a good eye and a soft heart, it means remaining humble regardless of how others choose to treat you or even look at you, it means being responsible and accountable of whatever action or step you choose to take. You might be afraid but you need to go beyond that fear to define womanhood and not allow somebody else to define it for you.
Let us be women who live to empower, enlighten and enrich those round us.
Always remember that a candle losses no light by lighting another candle, let us build and not break each other”