09 Mar International Women’s Day (NSFW)
I’ve thought a lot about what it is to be a woman. I have female friends who were born with the sort of body that gets you assigned male at birth, so it’s not your shape or reproductive organs. I have female friends who have no interest in kids or homemaking and male friends who are tops at both, so it’s not about gendered activities. I am personally much better at tree-climbing than makeup and can only do French braids on horses, and my son looks better in pink than I do. Strike three!
And yet, being a woman is something that is deeply important to me. In some ways I feel like it’s something I had to choose; as a naturally assertive, broad-shouldered, ungraceful tomboy I didn’t fit in with the girls growing up and didn’t really learn “how to girl” until later. And to a certain extent I feel like it’s a choice I keep making; my oldest kid, who is an awful lot like me in an awful lot of ways, has chosen they/them pronouns and is most comfortable with a lifestyle outside of the traditional gender roles. Watching them, I wonder if I’d have chosen that path if I’d been born 20 years later.
But womanhood, as ephemeral and hard to pin down as it is, is also powerful and precious. And when I try to put my finger on why, there’s one word that keeps coming to mind: sisterhood.
I think that for me, the thing that defines womanhood is not a shape or personality type or role or favourite colour, it’s a choice. A choice to be a part of the sisterhood. To link arms with other women and stand up both for and with them. To try to understand what the experience of womanhood is for women born in other cultures and times and shapes, and to allow that understanding to make us powerful in our compassion and love for each other.
It’s an interesting time to think about these things, as the edges get fuzzy- my kid will always be welcome in my sisterhood, as will those who are still exploring where they fit on the spectrum. And I guess that’s why the word “sister” seems so right to me: sisterhood has always felt evocative of caring to me. It’s not a word that excludes. It’s a word that invites you in.
So on this International Women’s Day, I invite you to be a part of the sisterhood. Wherever I am, there’s a seat for you at my table and a place for you on my dancefloor. All that I ask is that you do the same for all your sisters. Togther we are unstoppable. <3