At least three friends of mine from college “accused” me of not being women alike (watching soccer games was considered as not girly). I countered their statement by a question:
“What do you mean by woman?”.
They didn’t know.
Asked again one question: “So how do you come up with the idea?”.
They still didn’t know the answer. It was kind of disappointing to hear your college friends making a baseless statement. To think of it, the same question actually goes to me and other humankind. What is woman?
Basically, woman usually refers to a female human, a human with ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts which act as secondary sex characteristic. Sexually speaking, one can be categorized as female if there’s no Y chromosomes, relatively low testosterone level, etc. Since I satisfy all the requirements, sexually, I can say I am a female human. A woman.
But let us put aside our naivety. I am fully aware that my friends were referring to gender roles when saying “woman”. Well, we now have another question: what is gender role? Gender role refers to a set of behavioral norms constructed by a particular society for men and women which includes attitudes and personality traits to distinguish both genders. I stress the word “norms” to remind you that gender roles are based on agreement and dynamic, for these are a form of norms. Woman in Europe and Asia might have different interpretation but none is right (agreement, remember?). To make it clear, think the word “woman” and see what thoughts pop up in your mind. Perhaps, most people would think woman as weak, natural cook, inferior to men, sympathetic, stay at home mom, responsible for raising children, lack of technical skills, graceful, beautiful, and bla bla bla. Those are gender roles. So when one doesn’t classify me as woman, it means I am lacking at least one of those traits. But I think conversely because my family, as the smallest form of society, raises me as a girl. And perhaps your family have different definition of woman so it is highly difficult to judge people by knowing the fact that you know nothing about one’s family.
One last question: do I really have to take the first question seriously? Well, I don’t care if it applies to me, but there are tremendous amount of women who suffer due to stereotyping or gender roles. It is heartbreaking to see Indian, African, Arabian, and Indonesian women who are forced into marriage, cannot educate herself, and hurt their physics to be “beautiful”. They cannot improve their life and trapped in vicious circle of poverty.
My last statement: Woman, if you want to be something, just be it. People, stop stereotyping everything.
And spare your time to watch the video below.