Sunday, May 16, 2010

What is a woman???

So this morning I did my morning chores, then ran in, grabbed my cup a coffee, sat down and enthusiastically started to read morning blog post from my favorite bloggers. I love hearing every one's stories,what they are doing, where they are going, opinions (even if they aren't the same as mine). I love reading other peoples perspectives. I try to take something away from every single person. And this morning that is exactly what I did... or should I say, that's what I didn't do...

I was reading this other blog this morning (one I typically enjoy) and for the first time in my blog reading history I actually somewhat ended up with hurt feelings (I am not even sure if that is right description). But anyways the kicker was I couldn't pinpoint the actual line offense other than what was written between the lines. I am not going to name blogs here. No, its not on my list of followings and I will not be direct in stating what was actually said as my intentions are not to cause a disturbance because I know this fellow blogger had absolutely no intentions to be offensive and quit frankly I really should have tougher skin. I mean, after all I live in area of the south that has its fair share of chauvinist. My point is this post isn't about a pissin' match but just me, hashing out my thoughts.

So anyways, this mornings blog read something along the lines of what I will call, "positions in society", the roles that men and women should play in society. This post really got to me on the stand point that after reading it, I felt inferior. I am not sure why this ate at me so much other than I am compiling my emotions to the fact that I am almost out of feed and I absolutely dread having to deal with the old school farmers that sit around with smirks on their faces and make comments as I walk through the doors as the feed store. So I suppose in a sense... this "read" this morning was the final straw. I could no longer fight it... it was time to self reflect.

So I "reflected" most of the day. Wondering, what role exactly should a woman play in today's society? Is it bad that I technically am clueless as to what a woman should be!? Am I not a lady because I love to be outdoors? Nothing makes me happier than to be covered in mud and rain. Am I not a lady because I would rather be in the wood shop with my dad than in a department store? Am I wrong that I actually enjoy cleaning out culverts and chasing down hogs? Am I not teaching my daughter to be a proper lady because I respect and admire her for the fact that she would beg and plead for a fishing rod over a barbie doll any day? Am I wrong? These have been the nagging thoughts in the back of my mind all afternoon. Have I been wrong not to strive to be what one would call a proper lady?

With all these questions swimming in my head, I decided to ask my husband what he thinks a proper woman should be. He reluctantly smiles and asks "why". I tell him the story and my nagging thoughts. Then in the simple wise words of my husband, he states, "opinions are like assholes, baby. Everyone has one". Okay... so not really the answer I was looking for but yeah.. okay. I will roll with that. "So seriously", I asked him "what kind of asshole are you then!?" I think he kept it simple in fear that he was about to step on a land mine but once he seen that there was no turning back and that yes I did come in peace, he said "I think a woman should be what ever they want to be, what ever their capabilities allow them to be". Good answer Lee! Good answer! I have to say that is exactly the way I feel as well. Not every woman can drive nails, ride bulls, or drive a stick shift. Lord knows I cant... but to the ones who can, that's exactly what you should do!

So after a day reflection, what is my conclusion? I'm still not sure what role I should play, what type of woman I should be. But one thing I know, isn't who I should be but who I am.

Who I am, is the kind of woman that will always have to quietly prove myself in order to gain respect. I am the woman that absolutely dreads walking into the feed store but still walks through the crowd of men drinking their morning coffee with my head held high because I simply love what I do. I am the woman that politely listens to every minute of some old farmer give me bad advice, and then in turn I just do what ever in the hell it is that I want to do. I am the woman that loves what I do... not because I was told to but because that is just who I am...

As this evening is drawing to a close my final thoughts on this subject is this, even if I knew exactly how to be a real proper woman... I just don't think I have it in me to make those kind of changes...

Be prepared, my daughter just like me.... ;)


  1. I hope it was not my post that offended. I meant nothing about women. When I used the term feminization of the scouts I didn't mean it as to gender ( the leaders are men after all) but as to the activities that are planned are stereotypically feminine (arts and crafts). We are not allowed to show the boys how to trap animals or hunt (the scouts feel that it my hurt some one's sensibilities about animals). I fill that you would react the same way and leave since they do share your worldview. The people who run the scouts now (Men) worry more about not bullying than how to fillet a fish ( they don't allow it in Cub Scouts, to dangerous). I do however think that we are missing men in society nowadays ( and I mean stereotypical men not metrosexuals). I think woman have stepped up in the U.S. lately, God knows where young boys would be nowadays without strong mothers, but the vacuum left by sturdy and reliable men may not be easily filled. Love your blog and the music. See you around from another Tennessean Your pal the Envirocapitalist

  2. No worries in referance to the bloggee in question, sleep soundfully as you were not the final straw. ;) I read several hunting and survivalist blogs a day, unfotunately being in that neck of the woods women can often be viewed as an intruder. Which is frustrating but it is what it is.

    I agree, now society has changed and certain lessons as you said are no longer acceptable in a group learning activity, such as hunting and trapping animals. I think that is a shame as it is extremely important to teach our children to live off the land but to do so respectively, with caution, with out damaging habitat and taking more than you need. It is of my opinion that if we emphasize responsibility (in hunting and other wildlife programs; boyscouts) instead of fearing that someone will be desensitized, we would all be a lot better off. These are valuable lessons that... for lack of a better word, we shouldnt pussy foot around. These are all important lessons to teach our children...male and female.
    As you said before you believe that we are missing "men" in society today...If we are missing our hunter gather provider... so as a mother to a daughter... what kind of woman do I raise her to be? I think that you know where I am coming from.

    The word Feminization is merely a discription word... and not a word I tend take offensively. So no worries. My thoughts arent about words but about the roles... What is exceptable for women? I dont want to be sterotyped as a sterotypical feminist because I do actually enjoy being femine but I also want be able to hold my own in the field and I also enjoy a lot of activities that have historically been dominated by males... So where does that leave the modern day woman? Awe... I think I am rambling...just hashing out my thoughts here.
    Thanks for the comment I always enjoy feed back.
    And I also very much enjoy reading your blog as well.

  3. Leigh, I could write pages about this, from experience in my life time, but I won't. I will say, however, as a woman, I feel a woman should be whatever and whoever she chooses. No matter WHAT that is. Anyone who denies that freedom to anyone, deserves it not for themselves. Male, or female. Women should follow their own hearts and minds and to hell with anyone else. And yes, I extend the same freedom to men.

  4. As I'm out of the job I did for 10+years right now, I'm hesitating about where to go from here. I'm not anxious to jump into a spot that I'm not wild about, because I want to love what I least for the most part. I want to WANT to do my job, more than HAVE to. And if chickens and dirt is what does it for you, more power to you. If you have to go to court to get a job from a man that you are not physically able to do, I have issue with. Wives were invited to a portion of a thing on FATHERING a few years back and they stated that it is getting to be a HUGE problem all around that fathers are not sticking around families and the boys are not learning how to be good men, husbands, fathers. So this will just get worse and worse. Hey I like high heels some days and a good dress is a blessing! but I'm in jeans scrubbing around in most anything I can handle and I'm good with it. Haven't got a farm yet, but it is more tempting all the time!
    The job I left, I was the only woman in the building. I did bookwork for a machine shop. Sometimes cookies help to make friends! But I got a bit picky..I knew who was a help and who was a pain and the helpers would get cookies or whatever extra treats, and the others -nothing!

  5. That's really unfortunate. We come from the south as well, and my wife is in no hurry to return for that precise reason.

    The way I figure it, it's this simple: do you work and provide for your kids and family (in one way or another)? Do your children attend school more often than not? Do you pay your taxes? When you go out in public, are you basically sort of dressed appropriately (i.e. underwear, shoes)? Do you try to do right by your God (and/or other people)?

    If so, everything else is extra. Tell the rest of 'em that they can suck it!

    Here's to good, strong, hard working women. Even at their most quarrelsome ;)

  6. Hey Leigh - I stand with your husband on this one. Women should feel free to be and do what they want to, without feeling trapped by narrow cultural definitions. For that matter, so should men.

    By the way, thanks for your posts about the flooding. So sorry to hear of all the losses down that way, human and animal.

  7. I'm a little Johnny come lately to this post, but I wanted to turn you on to this great speech, turned poem.

    Back in 1851 (or 1852, depending on the resource ;) at a Women's suffrage convention in Ohio, a wiry black woman got up on the podium and gave the following speech:

    That man over there say
    a woman needs to be helped into carriages
    and lifted over ditches
    and to have the best place everywhere.
    Nobody ever helped me into carriages
    or over mud puddles
    or gives me a best place. . .

    And ain't I a woman?
    Look at me
    Look at my arm!
    I have plowed and planted
    and gathered into barns
    and no man could head me. . .
    And ain't I a woman?
    I could work as much
    and eat as much as a man--
    when I could get to it--
    and bear the lash as well
    and ain't I a woman?
    I have born 13 children
    and seen most all sold into slavery
    and when I cried out a mother's grief
    none but Jesus heard me. . .
    and ain't I a woman?
    that little man in black there say
    a woman can't have as much rights as a man
    cause Christ wasn't a woman
    Where did your Christ come from?
    From God and a woman!
    Man had nothing to do with him!
    If the first woman God ever made
    was strong enough to turn the world
    upside down, all alone
    together women ought to be able to turn it
    rightside up again.

    ~Sojouner Truth

    When I was reading your post, I thought about this speech. I don't think we can, or should, be pigeon-holed into one role or another. I was a soldier - and a damned good one, too. There were things that I did (like throwing real live grenades to practice) that men in my company opted out of doing. I was a sharp-shooter. I could hump a 40 lb pack for six miles without complaint. I could run (at the age of 30 as a pack-a-day smoker) faster than many of the men in my company who were a decade younger than I was. I wanted to be a Ranger, but as a woman, I was not allowed. Instead, I worked as hard as I could at whatever job I was given.

    But I felt like you indicate feeling here - that I had to constantly prove myself - to prove that I enlisted (with a college degree, no less) because I wanted to be a soldier, and not because I wanted to find a husband ;). In the end, though, I came out with my dignity intact and with a strong sense of empowerment, because I accomplished things that only men were supposed to be able to do, and I did it well.

    The point is that you don't have to settle for the box they try to put you into. Just quietly go about your business, and those who are important will notice and appreciate the person you are, and those who aren't important ... well, they're not important ;).

  8. Wendy,
    Thank You! Thank You! Thank You a hundred times over for being that kind of woman! A woman of that type of bravery is one I strive to be...
    I could not agree more with you about quietly proving yourself, and not settling for a box (I have never done well with confined spaces, physically or emblematic).
    That poem was absolutely beautiful and I feel privileged that you have passed it along as I have never heard it before.
    Thank you for the insightful feed back.

  9. Great post! Oh I feel you. So much. We should be whatever it is we want to be. There's always something from every side telling us what we're doing as women is wrong. We stay at home we aren't contributing to society, we go to work we're neglecting the home or being bad parents. Nothing is ever enough or right.

    I went to look at wedding dresses and the lady got mad at me because I was engaged for a few months and hadn't looked at bridal magazines. "Aren't you even excited?" So there I was a bad woman and I wasnt showing the proper amount of excitement about trying on crazy dresses.

    Stupid example but it's things like that all the time that made you question if you're wronging your gender somehow. You're not.

    You have a great husband. That answer is perfect. If only it were a world of people that thought like that.