What constitutes a real woman?

To truly understand the roots of the war on women, you have to first understand what a woman is. But that task is truly much more difficult to come to a universally accepted answer socially than one might realize (or than it should be). I have to admit that in my self-esteem struggles of seeing my stretch-marked, saggy stomach in the months since giving birth to my amazing daughter, I started to claim that a “real woman” was one that had a double digit jean size. One that needed to wear a bra with underwire. One that was confident in who they were and what they wanted out of life. Forgetting that there was quite a significant period in my life where I didn’t meet any of those criteria…. no matter. Creating these standards, that I (of course) existed within, gave me a false sense of empowerment. It united me with the unseen faces of women who also existed within these standards. And isn’t empowerment what modern-day feminism is all about?

One of the roots of the war on women–especially issues between women–is bettering the position of an individual at the expense of another woman. Because she has great legs or great natural breasts. Or great fake breasts. Or no breasts. Or chemically straightened hair. Or natural hair… these provisions that we create as women are only to make ourselves feel better. When a man says to us, “I can’t stand fat girls” or “I can’t stand women without some meat on their bones”, we take it to mean that we are somewhat superior to other women because we are real. We have been validated by the object of our desires, which must validate our position in society as a woman over those who have not been proclaimed to be so “exemplary”. Yet, one has to wonder if we feel exemplary in the eyes of ourselves or just in the ways we feel others perceive us, in the inevitable hierarchy of U.S. society?

But the only real woman is one that claims they are one. It is not even as simple to say it is being bestowed with a set of two X chromosomes at conception. The only real woman is the individual who can open her mouth and say, “I am woman”. Any belittlement of different women, at the expense of making ourselves feel better, is no better than the blatant misogyny or “slut shaming” that is running rampant in our modern-day society.