Offended, Because I Am A Woman

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generations-of-women

 

Today my Facebook news feed has been flooded with the bizarre Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner photo shoot from the recent Vanity Fair magazine.  The photos have been called “stunning.”  Yeah…I was certainly stunned.  More than that, I was offended.

Bruce Jenner’s claim is that his facial-feminizing surgery is about “who he is as a person.”  WTF?  I’m sorry, but what does that mean?  Has Bruce spent his entire life wishing that he/she had the face of a woman, large breasts, and a penis?  Bruce is now calling himself “she,” and he’s taken the name Caitlyn.  Once again…WTF?

This evening, I read more about Bruce’s transformation.  I wanted to figure out why I was feeling so offended.  I have friends, both men and women, who are gay, and I am not offended by their lives.  I finally figured it out.  What offends me about this is the fact that this man thinks that he can just suddenly become a woman.  A couple of large breasts, long hair, and feminizing facial features do NOT make a woman.  That is what offends me.  Just as I do not know what it means to grow up as a male and grow into a man, Bruce cannot so easily claim entry into womanhood simply by surgical alteration.  Would I be a man if I grew a beard and had something hanging between my legs?  NO!

I am not defined as a woman by my facial features, my hair, or my breasts.  I am not defined as a woman because I have ovaries and a uterus.  These things could be removed, and I would still be a woman.  I am not a woman simply because I have carried my children within my own body and given birth in pain.  Without these things, I would still be a woman.

I am a woman, because of the generations of women who came before me.  They are who guided me and taught me what it means to be a woman on the inside.  I gathered eggs with my ancient great-grandmother as she told me the stories of her life.  I sat on my grandma’s front porch as we shelled peas into a bowl while I soaked in even other lessons.  I learned gentleness and strength from these women.  They prepared me with stories, laughter, and love for what would lay beyond my years of childhood.  They prepared me for the secret, magical, sometimes scary world of womanhood.

I have four children – two boys and two girls.  I love them all immensely and without reservation.  Each one of them is an amazingly unique individual.  Still, I will admit that I have a special kinship with my daughters.  We are able to understand each other in a way that often astonishes me.  We can communicate without words, and we can communicate non-stop with words.  We speak freely of anything and everything, and we’re able to clear the male members of the family quickly from any room when our talk becomes too candid.

My daughters are the new generation in the long, long sisterhood of women.  I share my stories of magic and mystery with them.  Someday, if I am very lucky, I will be an ancient old woman sharing my stories with some yet-to-be little girl.  That is what it means to be a woman, Bruce.

 

Our Daughters’ Choices

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Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about feminism.  Until recent years, I had never really thought of myself as a feminist.  I didn’t ever really give it much, if any, thought.  I was just me.  I was who I was, and I didn’t ever try to lump myself into any category.

I was a country girl.  I married young.  I was pregnant seven times.  I have four living children.  For a large portion of my life, my focus was on my family; my children, my husband, and my parents.  The roles of wife, mother, and daughter were something that came naturally to me.  It is aging (YUCK!) that has caused me to look back and really examine the choices I made as a younger woman.

When I went to college, I lied.  I told my dad that I wanted to major in English literature, and he scowled and grumbled, “What are you going to do with a degree in literature?”  Instead, he advised me to get an Associates degree in “Business Management.”  That was a fancy name for secretarial school.  He said that this would be a good skill for me in the event that I would ever find myself alone.  By alone, he meant if I ever found myself widowed or divorced, I would have a skill to fall back on. Continue Reading »

So This is What It’s Like to Be a Grown-Up

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I drove to work this morning trying to summon a positive mood.  I actively thought about things that make me happy and things that I’m proud of about my life.  Thankfully, there were a lot of things on that list.  The music playing was good, and I turned up the volume.  The sun was shining.  There was no reason to feel unhappy or stressed out…at least for those thirty minutes in the car while I drove to the office.  My mind was on my son, Luke, but I decided not to think about it for a while.  There was no reason to dwell on that situation at the moment.  I’m learning to let things rest, and that is a big accomplishment for me.  I’m learning to compartmentalize the different parts of my day.  I’m drawing on the positive times to carry me through the times that aren’t so positive. Continue Reading »

Baseball Memories

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When I was a little girl, my father gave me the most important gift, the gift of acceptance and unconditional love.

I was in the midst of those awkward middle school years.  I was trying so hard to be cool, to be like everyone else.  Above all, I wanted to fit in.  All my friends played softball, so of course, I signed up to be on a team, too.  I hated every single moment of it.  I was afraid of being hit by a ball.  I couldn’t catch, pitch, throw, or hit.  Yet I kept right on trying.  I went to each practice.  When I got home, my dad spent countless hours trying to teach me and trying to help me improve.  Nothing worked.  I didn’t improve no matter how hard I tried.  As hard as I was working to be better, my heart wasn’t in it.  I wanted to be reading a book, or playing the piano, or spending time with my pets.  The only things I liked about playing softball was sitting on the bench, visiting with my friends, and going to the concession stand after the game. Continue Reading »

Can This Be Optimism?

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The trip to Vegas did me wonders.  I’m still feeling upbeat since my return.  There was one moment on my trip, sitting in the sun talking with two friends, when I felt a warm tingle.  During this particular moment, I felt life’s blessings surrounding me.  I was warm.  The sun was shining, and I was with friends.  I felt humbled to know that they actually like me, chose to spend time with me, and that they cared for me.  I knew it was one of those moments in life that would become a treasured memory, and I felt honored to know it as it was happening.  I sat there thinking in disbelief, “These are good people, and they are my friends.”  I had grown to believe that I did not deserve such things.  I still smile at the thought of such a blessing in my life, a simple moment that made me happy to be alive and on this earth. Continue Reading »

Our Own Path

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roadtochange

A lot has happened since my last post, a lot of exhausting things.  I’ve learned something.  Just because something is exhausting, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a bad thing.  When friends ask about my new job, one of the first things that comes up is the “Stress Level.”  Is this position less stress?  Is it easier?  Do I enjoy it more?  No, No, and Yes. Continue Reading »

Reunited!

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PeachesHerb

T quit his job.  Yep.  His last day was Friday.  By 6:00 p.m. he was home.  Home here with me.  After four months of living apart, we’re under the same roof once again.  Two empty houses sit back at home.  Neither one of them are sold.  Although we have an offer pending on my parents’ home, we’re not taking that for granted.  Four previous offers have fallen through at the 11th hour.  T had hoped to have a job offer prior to quitting his job and moving here.  Hopefully, he will by the end of this week, but that hasn’t happened yet.  Finally….finally…finally after months of living apart, T took a GIANT leap outside of his comfort zone.  He said a mental “F*&# it” and joined his family.   Continue Reading »