Thursday, October 20, 2011

Being Female

I belonged to a religion for eighteen years, almost everyday of which I felt caged or different because I didn't quite fit that religion's definition of femininity. I was constantly told what being female meant and what my life would hold for me, and that I would like it. I was living someone else's idea of what my life should be because I am female.

I hold to no religion now. I am my own person, or at least I am learning how to become my own person. It takes a while to flush out the dogma.

Here are a couple of quotes that I've come across lately that echo my sentiments, but say it so much better than I could. The first is from a couple of YA authors who write strong female characters. They were on a panel from which an attendee drew a list of advice on how to make a kick-ass Young Adult heroine. Here's one piece of advice:

Ignore orders from both sides.

[Tamora] Pierce discussed how upsetting it was for her, who grew up during the feminist revolution in the ‘70s, to arrive at college and have women saying that “real” feminists were gay or celibate. (“I was neither,” she quipped.) This debate extends to her female characters, as mentioned above. “The whole point of what we did was giving every woman the power to choose how they wanted to live,” she said. “Not to present only restrictions on women, but to present the possibilities that come from being female.”

“The thing about being female,” [Esther] Friesner said, “is that it makes us think there’s only one way to be female. I’ll bet there’s at least two or three, or six, different ways in this very room. There is no one female… Sometimes the biggest battle is ‘This is what you should be doing,’ handed down by the feminists or by the anti-feminists.”
And here is the second quote, from Steve Jobs' 2005 commencement address to the graduating class at Stanford University:

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Don't be trapped by dogma. Trapped is exactly how it feels, and if you feel that way, start asking questions and then find the answers out for yourself.

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