Updated: Jul 5
Q: What is womanhood to you?
A: Being a woman is a very hard thing because, not only are we seen as objects, we are treated like objects. Many people have different opinions of what womanhood means. Some believe that womanhood is being raised up to be a wife and a mom. To cook, clean, care, love and give unconditionally. Some believe that womanhood is being raised to focus purely on your physical appearance.
We are taught to criticize ourselves if we are not as beautiful as the girl on the magazine, so we spend most of our time worrying about how we look and what people will think. Some people believe that womanhood is all about submitting yourself to men. We are raised to fear men and live a life filled with anxiety because men cannot be trusted. We are seen as walking thighs and breasts, who do not have a voice and are not important enough to be respected. We are seen as objects.
I believe that being a woman is more than my physical appearance, it is more than being "wifey material". It is about accepting who I am, loving who I am, and giving myself a platform to help and empower other women around me. Being a woman is having the backbone to say "NO" to abuse. Being a woman is helping our sisters create opportunities for one another to prosper in life. Being a woman is accepting the hardships we have had to go through, and instead of dwelling in that pain, we stand up and fight. We fight for what we want and deserve. Womanhood is about being a warrior
Q: What memories make you proud of being a woman and why?
A: I remember starting my period, that was scary but really exciting! I was so shocked that at the age of 10 going on to 11, I would bleed every month for a week without dying! And that I could carry a growing baby for a whole 9 months. That is definitely something to be proud of.
Q: What challenges have you encountered as a woman and how have you overcome them?
A: I have encountered many challenges just because I am a woman. I cannot take a walk wearing short shorts, because I am a woman and that will be seen as an invitation for men to sexually objectify me. I cannot ignore comments or "compliments" from strangers or else I will be catcalled and insulted. I cannot go out at night without having to think twice because men do not respect us. I constantly have to send family/friends my location throughout the day because kidnapping is a real thing.
By Tiffanie Mthembu