The Label of Woman

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Woman. Female. She. Her.

Beginning life as a woman is essentially being reduced to labels for the entirety of your being.

Being born a female is not much better than the death penalty in some cultures around the world. Even in our own recent society.

From the moment we are born, we are someone else’s.

Daughter. Sister.

It doesn’t change as we age.

Daughter. Sister. Girlfriend.

“She was someone’s daughter, sister, girlfriend,” they’ll comment on yet another social media post about a woman falling victim to sexual assault or domestic violence.

They won’t say her name. They won’t give her back to herself.

Daughter. Sister. Girlfriend. Wife. Mother.

We clammer for titles to define our worthiness as if we’re not valuable enough as just us. But that’s the thing. We aren’t.

The minute we became someone else’s, we became less than human.

Bitch. Delusional. Crazy. Psycho.

Whore. Slut. Easy.

Fat. Ugly. Too-skinny.

As someone else’s, how could these words matter? We are the external. We are the tender moments when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and our emotions are considered “too extreme,” “unstable.” Psycho. Crazy.

I have felt the sting of crazy. I wore it like a thick coat of armor. Always looking behind curtains and double checking my own memory.

I have learned to tragically dance day in and day out with the label of “fat.” I have learned to lessen myself. Lose weight. Blend in. We belong to someone else. Their ideas are better for us.

Those labels. What if they didn’t exist?

What if those labels came with a person?

A living breathing human.

Hair. Teeth. Muscle. Blood. Bones.

A hearty laugh. A knack for baking. A love of sports.

A female.

A woman.

What would we say then?

Would we say these things into the eyes of a woman we love? Whispering these deflating titles into the essence of her being?

Would we keep labeling?

Would we learn to wear the title of woman as a blessing instead of a curse? As a badge of honor? A rite of passage?

Would we offer words of comfort? Of uplifting nature?

Strong. Compassionate. Kind. Smart.

Driven. Ambitious. Leader. Nurturer.

Would we learn to see the complexity that is woman without criticism? With fresh eyes, full of awe?

In the end, would we learn to love ourselves as ourselves, and not someone else’s?

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