True Femininity

by Ellen McDonough

"Feminism: the radical notion that women are people"

- Cheris Kramarae

There was once a time in my life where distrust was a feeling felt only towards strangers--those scary strangers grown-ups and the media teach you to distrust. I was never warned of the distrust I should feel towards the male population, because I shouldn't. But in this society, how can I not.

I was taught that I was born into a generation where women are equal to men. I have been aware of my white privilege, and never considered myself deprived of any social justices; but I was wrong, because I am a woman.


From my tomboy phase of simply aspiring to be more like my brother, to the fun-filled days of high school when I would hang out with them--them, as in boys, some of whom I considered my closest friends--I could be carefree, I could speak my mind...I could be myself! Without the worry of not living up to these impossible standards, these standards that establish whether or not I am a good woman.

I am a woman who is loyal; a fierce fucking lady tiger when it comes to my loyalty.

I am someone who will always want the best for you

To challenge you

To help you become the man you aspire to be—to help you in any way I can

To make you laugh

To push you outside of your comfort zone in the best, most positive way possible.

I am I woman who would love you with everything that I had.

But you called me a dirty little slut.

You referred to me as a bottle that needs popping for the guys to share and pass around.

You called me crazy.

You were a stranger who violated my boundaries while I was incoherent – you tried and failed to take advantage of me asshole.

I have been disrespected by countless males since I entered my twenties--this is the norm. It is nothing new, and I am no one special in this case.

I was so bewildered by this change at first. I thought I was one "one of the guys;" I used to play one of the best imaginary ninjas EVER, dude. But this no longer mattered. 

I let this dis-respect in

Dwelling on their words and what it all means

I can feel these words stored deep within me

Chipping away at something very important to me—my compassion and my open-heart.

With each new encounter, I can feel the jagged points begin to form... that word I never wanted to use to describe myself: I am becoming jaded.

I am a woman

I have sexual needs

I have emotional needs

I should be able to explore these with out the fear of what label it will give me.

But that is impossible

The only thing I can control is to not let that label stick.

To recognize the great men that are out there, the men who know how to love and respect a woman.

And most importantly, to disregard and pity the ones who can’t – who don’t know – how to see the beauty that is true femininity.