Owning Feminity On My Terms   by   Ruth Utnage

I don’t know about you but I sometimes grapple with what it means to be a woman, especially being a woman in a man’s prison. I am inundated with tacit expectations and norms that I am “supposed” to embody.

Thin and unmuscular
Narrow shoulders
Hips as wide as my shoulders or wider
Rounded backside
Palms that typically face outward
Plump lips
Long hair
Flirtatious but reserved
Available and seeking
Just to name a few…

For a long time I tried to figure out how to adjust my body and demeanor to match those things, so that I would be more of a “woman”. Then, something occurred to me, I am a woman. Everything I do is what a woman does. Because I am a woman. Why would I be ashamed of my body? It’s a woman’s body, no matter what anyone says.

Woman-ness is more than a scientific designation, in fact, it’s not a scientific designation at all, it’s a state of being. Everything I am, just as I am is what woman-ness is all about.

I am strong
My back is muscular
I have calloused hands
I can be icy when I need to be, and,
Loving when I want
I feel good after I sweat
My voice is deeper than most
I grow facial hair that I truly hate

But…I am all woman all the time.

In blue jeans
Without makeup
Without Botox
Without perfect symmetry in my curves
Without living up to anyone’s fantasy
Without being the submissive house doll
Without “playing my part”

I am still a woman

I am a go getter
I am beautiful
I am intelligent
I am a great leader
I have value to this world that only I can bring

Because, not in spite of the fact, I am…me.

With Love
Ruth Utnage

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Are you woman enough to even try? 

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