The Adventure of Defining a Woman
Woman: noun, plural women [wim-in] (Show IPA) 1. the female human being, as distinguished from a girl or a man. 2. an adult female person. 3. a female attendant to a lady of rank. 4. a wife. 5. the nature, characteristics, or feelings often attributed to women;womanliness. 6. a sweetheart or paramour; mistress. 7. a female employee or representative.
By the dictionary.com definition alone, there are so many different ideas for what a woman really is. One might say that only definitions 1 & 2 are valid or correct. In saying this, it is most likely to say that these are the only things that will remain true no matter what. While this is one perspective, it is only one piece of the puzzle. In order to truly define what a woman is, it must be clear what it means to define anything. Let’s explore the word define and how each definition applies to the adventure of defining a woman.
Define: verb (used with object), defined, defining.
1. to state or set forth the meaning of (a word, phrase, etc.) To apply this definition to the word woman would mean that there is only one meaning for the word. This would make it impossible for women to individualize themselves because we would be constantly held to the standard of the definition. The biggest problem I have with that is; who decides which definition is right or wrong. Who decides what it means to be a woman?
2. to explain or identify the nature or essential qualities of; describe. To apply this definition would mean that it would take one particular set of justified qualities to be a real woman. It would be impossible for any “WOMAN” to identify as a woman if she did not possess each and every quality, no more, no less. That would limit each woman on earth to a conceptual theory of likeness. The degradation of women would reach an all time high. As if today’s world of Preconceived Notions about women aren’t enough. Adding substance and quantity to these notions would just put the icing on the cake. Not to mention that piercing question once more, “Who decides what it means to be a woman?”
3. to fix or lay down clearly and definitely; specify distinctly. To apply this definition would justify the mentality of men and women today. It would make relevant the role that is assumed for women. It would also limit women but more so in the areas of responsibility and expectations. It would say that this is what a woman is supposed to do. Where is the individuality in that? What then makes you stand out from the next woman? What then makes you more or less desirable in someone’s eyes? (Desirable does not have to be sexual either, it can also be social, professional, etc.) At the risk of sounding repetitious, again, “Who decides what it means to be a woman?”
4. to determine or fix the boundaries or extent of. This definition needs no attention. Seriously, BOUNDARIES!? Nope. I will not. That’s just asinine.
5. to make clear the outline or form of. This definition is slightly different and very much so one that should be used. An outline is just a generalized idea, the basics. The outline of a woman is simple, Anatomy. Anatomy and genetic make up are what make the physical being of a woman. To try and define a standard for which the outline is further developed would be nothing short of inappropriate. To try and define what lies within the details of such a complex idea would be robbery. It would be robbing each woman of the opportunity to define herself however she would like. Denying her the opportunity to Define and Redefine herself time and time again. An outline would assume the presence of a story. Each woman embodies her own story, her own being, her own words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, books; and she must be allowed to write her own. The feeling of finding your own path is extremely liberating and truly exciting. So as previously asked, “Who decides what it means to be a woman?” The answer is simple, I decide, You decide, Each and Every Woman Decides. We all decide what it means to be a woman, what it means to be OUR OWN WOMAN. There is no right or wrong answer just OUR answer. Never let anyone tell you what or who you have to be. Make that decision for yourself and don’t be afraid to change your mind. Whatever decision you make, just allow yourself to make it.
Woman: noun, 1. The female human being. 2. An outline of greatness 3. Whoever and Whatever the Hell You Want Her to Be.