“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.” Jane Austen, Persuasion
There is almost nothing like the feeling of being sixteen….Only few things can make it even better, like a pair of designer shoes…not necessarily made of sugar, although…Sixteen is the birthday, which for girls is most important because it symbolizes the becoming of a woman. What does it mean to be a woman? The stereotypical answer is less than disappointing: a powerful, intricate and varied group of people are condensed into sterile categories based on hormones, biology and psychology, with little or no mention of what lies beneath these things. A question was completely or nearly absent from the world conversations of many historic periods, including today. In today’s commercial society the real meaning of being a woman (or the meaning of being a real woman) is often overlooked. Being a woman, being sixteen is an extremely special manifestation of beauty…
“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” Coco Chanel
What a woman really is?
Dictionary definitions of “woman”:
1. The female human being (distinguished from man)
2. An adult female person
3. A female attendant to a lady of rank
4. A wife
5. Refers to an adult human being who is biologically female
6. The nature, characteristics, or feelings often attributed to women
Growing up, I thought I had a well-established idea of what being a woman meant. All the women around me shared common characteristics: they were strong, they were married, they were mothers, they were involved in their communities and they were successful in whatever they have decided to do. Looking back, I classify them as true heroes… How did my mom, grandmothers, aunties and mother-in-law do it? I want to know the secret, so I can give it to my beautiful, sweet sixteen-years old niece…
“Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.” Yves Saint-Laurent
Living in a different culture from my original birth country, I have been blessed to meet and speak with a diverse group of women around the world. Hearing their stories of these encouraged and allowed me to connect with a greater purpose, looking outside of the stereotypes, moving past the biology and breaking out of the boxes the world is comfortably residing in. I believe sixteen is the time to change what it means to be a woman in the world…
…as it simply means: being true to yourself!
“Some women are meant to change the world, while others are meant to hold it together. And then there are those of us who simply don’t want to be in it, because we know no matter how much we struggle, we can’t comfortably fit.” Jodi Picoult