We had a lesson in Relief Society yesterday about how incredible women are. (Amen). As I sat a listened to all these single ladies (Mikey is serving in a Bishopric for a Single's Ward) contribute to the lesson by making comments, it was interesting to recognize how they define womanhood at present and note how differently I view womanhood now.
I could relate to everything they were saying, "We've got it so hard! Boys don't have to deal with this, or this or that!" "Women know what true sacrifice is because we have to sacrifice our bodies." "Behind every righteous man is a righteous woman."
I've been there. I remember well the point in my life where my definition of womanhood was a definition in spite of men.
But I have come to define my womanhood because of the role of men (specifically my husband) play in my life. I feel more womanly because I have my husband by my side.
After dinner with a friend and her family on Friday, we sat in the parking lot chatting. We were talking about blogging and celebrating domesticity through blogs. She said something that struck me. She said that she felt that many girls in our generation are trying to figure out how we fit in this post-feminist(?) era. We are almost reacting in a radical way against the notion that to be a real woman, you have to wear a pantsuit and be accepted as a man in the corporate world. Being seen almost genderless made women feel empowered and truly womanly.
I don't think as many are reaching for that sort of "womanhood" anymore. We relish in the fact that we are different from men. Men aren't the obstacle to overcome or the status to reach. Rather, they are our partners, our teammates, our co-equals in an increasingly leveled playing field. And yet, our roles remain distinct and different. In a good way.
I used to think it would be degrading to stay home and fold clothes, make beds and prepare meals day in and day out. But I have been surprised to learn that I find immense satisfaction as a homemaker. I feel like the ultimate woman.
My definition is still growing. While I am still learning what exactly it means to me to be a woman, I feel like the way I define myself is becoming more nuanced and refined as I take on new roles and stretch myself in new ways.