What being a woman means to me: A Writing Challenge

A friend issued a writing challenge, asking to answer the following three questions. Below is my entry.


(1) What does being a woman mean to you?

I realized right away that the way I wanted to answer this question was to start highlighting the many incongruities with the concept of “womanhood” and what womanhood actually means to me. In other words, it was going to be an essay about what it doesn’t mean to be a woman.

It doesn’t mean I like shopping, or babies, or makeup, or that I have a vagina. Being a woman has nothing to do with my anatomy or my hobbies or my sexuality or my talents.

So I spent a few minutes trying to figure out what it does mean.

I think that being a woman means learning to adapt to a world that insists on making decisions for you. It tries, at first, to make you believe that this is the world you want to live in – because “decisions are difficult, and women are weak, or emotional, or incapable – and as a woman, it is a relief to be given all the answers.”

And when, as a woman, you begin to question that – because, at one point – we begin to question that, you face the many ways that the world continues to manipulate you into staying inside the nice, comfortable box they have designed for you.

I think that being a woman means learning to adapt to being consistently underestimated. Some adapt quietly, some react with defiance – but regardless, it is a fact of life for a woman.

I think that being a woman means absolutely nothing, because “woman” is a socially constructed label.

Being a woman means that I am a person.

And being a person carries far more relevance in my world than being a woman.

(2) What about being a woman do you want or would you impart to your own daughter by the time she reaches adulthood?

Were I to have children, I would want them – regardless of gender – to understand and respect the power of living authentically. With respect to women, I would want them to understand that our society will attempt to erase their individuality while simultaneously selling on all the ways they can be more special. I want them to understand that so they can never fall victim to it.

I also want them to understand that those who hold tightly to the systematic oppression of women are often as much victims of the patriarchy as we are. When we confront these ideas, we are confronting their stability. Instability frightens people. Fear makes people feel attacked. People who feel attacked attack back.

I would want them to understand the difference between forgiveness and understanding. One must strive to understand their oppressors, but to forgive them is a personal choice, and not one I’d likely to make without a sincere apology.

At the same time, I want them to understand the power that forgiveness gives them over their own pain. When they are ready, I want them to embrace that power for themselves.

I want them to understand the importance of respecting nuance, imperfections, and the diversity of perception. I want them to embrace the challenges of facing our own imperfections and learning from them to become more enlightened members of the human race.

I want them to love themselves and to not feel like doing so is a sign of selfishness. I want them to love themselves so well that the people who love them have a template for how it’s done properly.

An I’d want them to know that regardless of who they are, who they love, or how they choose to express that love – they would never lose my respect, unless they willingly harmed people without consent.

(3) What would you impart/share with her around the age of 13-14 as she’s entering her teen years?

There’s a part of this I’ve written before:

By the time my step-daughter wanted to read the Twilight series when she was in her early teens, I’d already read them. I told her she could read them on one condition – we had to have a chat first, and we’d have to have another chat before she got to the final one.

All her friends were reading it so she agreed to the chat.

Here’s the gist of what I told her:

This book makes the bad guy sexy. He wants to hurt her but he loves her. She is the ONLY one that drives him this kind of crazy and because he loves her so much he holds the whole “I want to kill you” instinct back. This is not a healthy relationship. This book will make you want that guy, and it’s okay to fantasize about that guy – but that guy is not the right guy when you start actually dating.

By this point in her life, my step-daughter had not yet given us many clues as to her sexuality. She had admitted she liked boys, but had not denied that she might also have an interest in someone who was not a boy.

And if she had shared with me that she might be into dating someone other than a guy, I’d probably have done a lot more reading with her on what some of the challenges and hardships that are inherent in that. I’ve recently become aware, for example, that there is inadequate-to-zero sex-education for lesbian teenagers leading many to find out much later than necessary about safe sexual practices, and have some confusion over what “losing one’s virginity” even means.

So, yeah. Right around when the hormones are about to hit – my priority would be to help my daughter prepare for them.

Bathtub Drabble

When a challenge is presented, one either elects to accept or reject it. Should one accept said challenge, one should fulfill said objective to the best of her ability.

Which brings me to this point, crafting one hundred words via text while in a hot, bubble filled tub as suggested by he whose suggestions are accepted with similar reverence as the above referenced challenges.

I recall a time in the not terribly distant past in which another challenge presented itself within the confines of this very same tub.

I have twelve words to convey that underwater blowjobs are indeed possible.

More November Dribbles and Drabbles

November Dribbles: Perfect Circle

Someone over on FetLife created a November Dribble/Drabble challenge.  A drabble is a story made up of exactly 100 words (title not included in this version of the challenge).  A dribble is exactly half that – a story set in 50 words.

The challenge is to complete either one drabble a day or one dribble every two days (as telling stories in fewer words can be more challenging).

I didn’t catch on to the challenge until November 7th, so in order to catch up, I posted three dribbles in the morning, and a drabble later at night.

Here are the dribbles.  Next post is the drabble.

#NovemberDribbleDrabble


Perfect Circle (Part 1)

It had been a stressful week, but not unexpectedly so. “Will you have the energy to do anything later?” he’d asked. She replied confidently that she would. “I want you to fuck me so hard I forget my name.”

“Oh, I’ll remind you your name, whore.” he replied.


Perfect Circle (Part 2)

They sat in the theatre, exactly 1127 seats, most filled. Comedians traipsed across the stage in measured order. The music began; he ran his warm hand gently up her bare arm. The music, crowd, and stress dropped away. For the first time in weeks, she felt still and silent again.


Perfect Circle (Part 3)

“Please, please, please!” Her cries were muffled by the palm of his hand, else echoing through hotel room walls. He’d pounded her into orgasm after orgasm earlier, but now forced her tortured restraint. As her pleas reached critical mass, he growled, “What’s your name?”

Whore,” she responded breathlessly.

Permission granted.

What Hurts? (A Fetlife Challenge)

A Fetlifer issued a challenge this week based on a quote by Ernest Hemingway to write “Hard and clear about what hurts.”   This was my response:


I’d written a haiku in answer to this challenge:

Just the tiny prick
of the needle as it squirts
numbing Novocaine

But the challenge is to write hard and clear, and that haiku is neither hard nor clear.

I think about the answer to the question “What hurts?” and right now, nothingdoes.

Nothing hurts.

There’s nobody holding court in my heart, but it doesn’t feel empty. There’s no dull, hollow ache – the one that had taken residence for so long I’d started to believe I welcomed it.

The only pain I receive now is the pain I seek. The slaps, the bites, the scratching as rope is pulled taut across my skin. The kind of hurt that results in the indulgent satisfaction of surrender.

What hurts, you ask?

Not nearly enough.