Being a Woman is a Big Deal

4 Dec

Being a Woman is a Big Deal

Being a woman is a big deal. This is apparent from the number of studies, articles, reading groups, and advocacy organizations that have sprung into existence simply from the conversation of what it means to be a woman. Perusing the Web, one can find blogs ranging from the “Good Women Project” to the wildly popular “Pioneer Woman” to a Wiki page describing how to be a lady. These, and many more, all put forth a bit of their own picture on what a woman is or ought to be, yet none of us can quite seem to pin down the answer we’re looking for.

I recently read an article on the blog, The article, titled, “There are 2 types of women, and I am neither.” The author, Elena Pellizzaris, describes the two categories into which woman are so often divided–the independent, career-oriented woman, and the wife and homemaker woman–and then describes her own life, which clearly spites both categories. As I read it, I was startled. How often, I wondered, do I assess myself and the women around me to fit into those two narrow categories? How often do I make value judgments on a woman’s life based on my conceptions of which is better or worse, on what she should or shouldn’t be doing, wearing, feeling, or desiring? It comes as no surprise, then, that what it means to be a woman is a hard question to answer if we expect it to fit into one of these tidy categories. It seems as though there should be something more to it than what we choose to or must do with our days.

In Blessed John Paul II’s “Letter to Women,” the Pope extended an enthusiastic expression of gratitude not just to wives, nor just to career-oriented women, nuns, or single women, but to all women. He writes, “Thank you, to every woman, for the simple fact of being a woman!” Our value as women is not based on whether we have the “best” occupation, but it instead comes from the simple and beautiful fact that we are women. What John Paul II calls the “the genius of women” isn’t only expressed by the women who are at the top of their careers or appear to be ‘supermoms,’ but is expressed by all women “who reveal the gift of their womanhood by placing themselves at the service of others in their everyday lives” (Letter to Women).

Being a woman means something bigger than just our careers, our roles, our clothing, or our drinks of choice. It is more even than the sum of all of these. Being a woman means following the unique path set by God before each of us; for it is only through this that we can find the answers about ourselves that we’re looking for.

-Abby Saffert


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