For this article, I polled a range of women, most of whom I have never met, but whom I admire from afar. I am so humbled by the responses I received and feel such gratitude towards all of the women who chose to offer their opinions and wisdom. That being said, in these responses, it is so obvious to me the complexity of this question. Answering it requires an immense amount of thought, delicacy, reflection, and sensitivity.
I took my time with this article and spent about a month soliciting women, waiting for responses, enjoying back and forth connections, and allowing these women the time they needed. I adore how so many of the women I wrote to took this question so seriously. Every single one of them is busy, burdened, and on their own goddess paths to greatness. And yet, they responded kindly, taking time from their lives to share with me their thoughts.
I admire and respect the trust they placed in me and their willingness to expand their voice, even when it made them uncomfortable.
I also encourage you to click on the links to each and every one of these females. These women are BAD…ASS amazing. They are making the world more beautiful, more honest, more good, and more real through their work, their livelihoods, and their mere existence.
STRENGTH AND VULNERABILITY
A common thread throughout many (if not all) of the responses from the women I reached out to is the combination of strength + vulnerability. To be a woman is to strive for strength, often in the face of constant challenges to our power. And yet through all of our striving, we still maintain our softness, somehow.
I personally think this is one of our gifts to the world. Our softness can sometimes be exploited, or crushed, or raped, or humiliated, or torn to bits. But we still maintain it, because we can’t help it. I believe our softness will open the world’s heart to new levels of love, compassion, vulnerability, expansiveness, and magic. Our softness heals and unites.
Our strength is something else entirely. When I think of strength, I can’t help but think of my mother. She was one of the frailest and most beautiful women you could ever come across. Her body and her spirit endured horrors like gang rape, an abusive relationship that the doctors could not believe did not kill her, and years of alcoholism. She birthed four daughters in her lifetime and lived to be 75 years old. And yet, she never forgot how to laugh. That to me represents this dynamic duo of strength + vulnerability. She had it, as all women do.
I will now let these women speak for themselves and do not want to tarnish their genuine words with any further unnecessary analysis.
[I also must give a short disclaimer that I did my best to poll a diverse range of women. However, since I am an artist, I tend to gravitate towards other creatives, entrepreneurs, and healers. This list is not comprehensive in any way and instead represents a richly varied grouping of females within my circle of interests. Also, I identify as a Cisgender female and am writing this article from a Cisgender perspective. My intention is not to offend or disrespect any other gender identities or groups. However, as far as I am aware, the scope of this project is confined within the parameters of Cisgender females.]
Without further ado, I hope you enjoy the amazingness you are about to experience…
WOMEN ANSWER: WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING A WOMAN?
In alphabetical order…
FRANCISCA APPARCEL | FOUNDER | CHILOTE SHOES
“What I like the most about being a woman is to be able to give birth and breastfeed. This reminds us how we belong to the animal kingdom. It’s the most honest way to remember where we come from and what we are.”
DENISE “DEE” BOOMKENS | PHOTOGRAPHER | ANDBLOOM
“I love everything about being a woman!! But what I love most is that I have gathered so many wonderful, inspiring women around me over the past 45 years. All women that show me how wonderful it is to be one. It’s especially lovely since the day I realized (a long time ago) that there are no limits on how fabulous a woman can be. We can be anything we want to be. Being a woman, we can be strong and soft at the same time. Intelligent and sensitive. Creative and smart. Beautiful and powerful. I love learning about my capabilities, my strengths, and my weaknesses. It’s an exquisite journey, and I wouldn’t want to trade it for anything or anyone. It’s great to be part of a group, women.”
CLARE CELESTE BÖRSCH | ARTIST
“I love female intuition and the spiritual connection to the earth mother. I do not see this as only for women, but rather as a feminine and very powerful energy that folks of all genders can embody.”
FREDERIQUE BROS | YOUTUBE PERSONALITY
“The best thing about being a woman is our ability to be vulnerable and strong at the same time. I also love the fact that we as women are able to express openly our emotions and communicate our thoughts and creativity. The future is 100% feminine.”
LESLEY CHAN | FREELANCE WEB DEVELOPER
“The best part of being a woman is you can be compassionate and vulnerable without being made to feel weak. We also have deeper, more meaningful relationships which provide support, new experiences and a happier, fuller life.”
LIZA CRICHTON | LEGISLATIVE RESEARCH ANALYST
“Some days I love everything about being a woman.
And some days nothing at all.
Some days my relationship to womanhood is complex.
Some days it is simple.
Some days I feel frighteningly connected to other women.
Some days I feel completely alone.
Some days I think I’m a bad woman.
Some days I think I’m good.
Some days I hate other women.
Some days other women hate me.
Some days I don’t think about being a woman at all.
Some days I only think about being a woman.
What I love about being a woman…. is that it is dynamic, fast and ever-changing. There are so many ways to embody and connect to womanhood. Being a woman is both very individualistic and very tribal. We embrace our womanhood in infinitely different ways and yet we are all connected.”
MICHELLE DA SILVA | BLOGGER | GROWING WITH SPAWN
“Being a woman is not the easiest thing, we all know that. We are paid less than our male counterparts, we can’t walk down the road alone at night, and we are judged based on appearance. All of that is true, and yet it is just a drop in the ocean!
I love being a woman because we are resourceful. As a mom to a beautiful girl, I understand the intention that goes into our daily lives. I understand just how possible it is to do the impossible while still achieving our goals. We are versatile, empathetic and highly intellectual. But it’s only true if you believe it.
If you’re a woman and you don’t believe you are great, erase that thought right now. Captain Marvel isn’t the strongest superhero for no reason!”
TERRY EKASALA | ARTIST
“I guess I don’t really think in those terms. In the art world for example, there is always talk about how difficult it is for women, and how women don’t have the advantage men have. Maybe it’s true but I don’t adhere to that idea. I believe if that’s what you think, that’s what you’ll get. The question also makes me feel the way I feel about American patriotism. I don’t have that feeling either, patriotism. I like to identify with humanity, what it means to be human on this twirling planet. How can I be a better human on this planet, to this planet and to other beings on this planet.”
JULIANNA FOSTER | PHOTOGRAPHER/ARTIST/EDUCATOR
“I feel empowered in this body, it took time to arrive. Motherhood has offered this to me. As a vessel or portal, a carrier. Transporting from there to here. Euphoria. Relying on trust, intuition, limits of the threshold, and infinite bending as the form assumed, all while teaching what gracefulness and gratefulness can be, will become. I am finding it in this body.”
Sonia Sanchez Haiku
Let me wear the day
Well so when it reaches you
You will enjoy it.
CHELSEA GRANGER | ARTIST
“My gut reaction is that I don’t strongly identify with being a woman. I have never seen myself within a world of sisterhood or the goddess. I once went to an Herbal conference in Vermont and found that I was deeply turned off when people called me sister.
Even if my answer to this question is most likely not a conventional one, I think it is still important to share. Although I use she/her pronouns and do not identify as non-binary, I don’t often think about being a woman. Although I carry all the conventional markers of a woman and femme. I have long, thick, brown hair often worn in braids. I love giant earrings and eccentric but classy clothes. And my outfits often lean towards a more masculine look, but ‘dolled’ up with lipstick and jewelry.
I feel connected to loving being a woman when I think of the women in my life I most respect—my mom, Suzann, who had the biggest heart and capacity to love. A constantly curious person with an affinity for asking too many questions! The other woman who makes me feel connected to what I love most about being a woman is a dear old friend named Jo. She is 98 and is a radical visionary. She is sharp, strong, and fierce. But even when honoring these women who most inspire me, I find myself thinking of personhood, not womanhood.
As a young person, I pushed against everything I thought meant being a girl, or at least what our society deemed appropriate behavior for girls. As a kid I would take my shirt off in public, not understanding why the boys could do it but I couldn’t. ‘Tomboy’ was a word I identified with. When I was maybe ten or twelve my school required the girls to wear skirts for a chorus performance. I wrote a letter to the school as to why I wouldn’t be complying. Maybe even as a kid I was setting myself up for my own definition of what it means to be a woman, to love being a woman.
I do identify with an expansive view of womanhood, one that accepts and sees anyone who identifies as a woman. I don’t plan to have kids. As a woman in my late thirties, this also makes me feel like I am having to constantly push against what is expected of a woman. So maybe what I love about being a woman is how I have the capacity to define what that means for me and honor others to do the same.”
MOKSHA HEGDE | OWNER | BRAND MOKSHA
“If I’m being completely honest, most days I wish I’d been born a man. Life just seems less of a struggle for the opposite gender. I don’t mean that I don’t enjoy being a woman. But with all the sexism that exists around the world, and add to that our monthly period struggles, it makes the grass look SO MUCH greener on the other side.
Definitely the first thing that came to my mind is the vast fashion choices available to women (oops). I don’t have a very profound answer to this question. Personally, for me I think the thing I love the most about being a woman is trying to shatter that glass ceiling. I love challenges and this is definitely the biggest challenge in my life. I’ve worked my entire life to be an extremely independent woman and I love proving naysayers wrong in their perceptions about women. I love doing everything they say that can’t be done by a woman, especially on her own. It motivates me to work harder and to try different things. This challenge to prove that women can do anything is definitely my favorite part about being a woman.
Sorry I don’t have a more profound answer. There are other things that I like about being a woman. We can openly display our emotions and don’t need to hide our tears behind a veil of masculinity. We can wear clothes designed for both men and women and no one bats an eyelid, etc. But being able to challenge centuries old perceptions of gender roles is definitely what I like best.”
RAQUEL SABLE JACKSON | FASHION DESIGNER/ SEAMSTRESS | SEW SABLE
“Being a woman to me means being unapologetic and allowing yourself grace. As an African American woman I have learned in the corporate world that they want you to do and say things a certain way, which is their way of wanting you to tone down who you naturally are. I am grateful to have loving parents who taught me at a young age that I would be treated differently because of the color of my skin, but that I should walk boldly and be proud to be a black woman. They instilled in me the confidence to allow my voice to be heard and not to allow anyone to treat me differently. I have carried these values as I transitioned from a young girl to a woman and I can truly say that being my unapologetic, natural self is the best feeling ever.
To be a woman means to also allow yourself grace. I have transitioned into the role of being a Mommy to my baby boy Trè Jackson. It has truly been a journey from giving birth for the first time, experiencing a third degree tear/recovery, postpartum depression, working two jobs and starting my own business, while also being a wife to my amazing husband.
At times I felt lost, questioned my actions and thoughts, and felt depleted. Through his grace I was able to get through all of these steps in my journey. I had to allow myself grace and time, and assure myself through affirmations that God would not have taken me this far or give me this title if I were not capable. Being a woman is amazing and I am humble to go through each step in my journey by authentically being my unapologetic self, while allowing myself grace through the process.”
JEN | BLOGGER | BOSSSYBABE
“On a superficial level, I love the versatility that comes with being a woman. In comparison to our male counterparts, men (in my opinion) have way more fixed societal limitations than women do. I’m talking everything from fashion and hobbies to their emotions- men are much more restricted than women. Don’t get me wrong, women have their share of ridiculous typecasts and conventional narratives too, but I don’t think men have the ability to veer too far in any one direction either. Society seems to give more wiggle room for women when it comes to certain things.
On a deeper level, I love the ease with which I am able to connect with other women in a more profound way. This type of connection requires each person to be vulnerable, honest, and approachable- which seems to come more naturally for women. These connections have literally saved me in my darkest hours like lifejackets in high waters. They say there is power in numbers and that is what gives me strength when I share my experiences. There is a real sense of belonging and solidarity with my fellow sisters who understand exactly where I am coming from and what I have been battling. It is these connections that give me my power.”
DANIELLE LAPORTE | AUTHOR/INSPIRATIONAL SPEAKER
[Danielle was unable to construct a response to this specific question due to her time constraints, but instead offered to share a poem she created in 2016.]
“The most powerful possible Yes
to the women determined to restore the Divine to where it has been pummeled out of memory,
where denial is so calcified that our beauty is last to be seen in economics and science and law—
laws that are too small for what our bodies know to be true.
The most powerful possible Yes to women
…to the dark, the spacious, the sweet, the jaded, the women who live as certain as light rays,
who renovate broken boardrooms and policies with justified anger and overwhelming Love—
Love of inclusion, of ecology, of bone solid Truth—Love of Love.
For those who do not have a Yes, I will share mine.
Because I can be radiant with my power—from the erotic to the cash.
I can fight my pain in public, choose my lovers, work my genius into shelter and endless comforts.
I am free to heal and so I must braid myself to
those whose bodies are stolen, where mine has always been free;
whose ideals cannot even be whispered, where mine have been invited…
The most powerful possible Yes to these women.
For the women who use privilege like a drug, for the ones so wounded that they wound,
for the ones who squander their influence because it’s too much work to come down and meet the pain of the world…
we need to gift the most powerful possible Yes to these women.
The elders, the curanderas, the suffragettes, the midwives of children and art and culture,
the ones we call slut and Saint and CEO—
all with a voice to say:
We will fund it ourselves.
It’s better when it’s beautiful.
No means no.
I see you, and I love what I see.
And then… Let’s dance.
We’re in this together,
all with a voice to say:
Feelings are facts.
Trust is a milestone
and compassion is a strategy.
And that is the most powerful possible Yes a woman can give.”
ASHLEY LOVELACE | FASHION/BEAUTY INFLUENCER
“The most amazing part of being a woman is our ability to be strong yet soft, brave yet cautious, fully woke yet humble enough to learn. I find so much empowerment in being a woman and finding my true self! And don’t apologize for shining bright, we can all shine bright together. Because together we are woman!”
KELLY MAYO | ARTIST | CAMEL CITY GLASS
“What I love most about being a woman is the ability to call on an inner, inherited and ancestral strength that every woman possesses and continues to pass on. In my hardest moments (childbirth, heartache, insecurity) I know every other woman through my family and lineage has experienced the exact same moments and feelings as me and I use their strength to get me through these moments.”
ERICA “RIKA” REYES ORTEGA | STUDENT
“What I love most about being a woman is that I can feel every aspect of nature, from roots to rocks, and even vibration within my own vessel. I love how nurturing I can be along with my healing abilities. I find the connection to life fascinating, along with my mission to help others along the way, showing them compassion, love, and creativity, along with poetry.”
RUTH | CO-FOUNDER | BLUE STREETS
“I haven’t given a lot of thought to what I love most about being a woman before, if I’m being honest. However, off the top of my head, I’m thinking apart from the complexity of our emotions, the fact that we’re given free rein to express them is truly a gift. Men don’t have to hide their emotions or come across as stiff and unfeeling, but society has made it so. As a woman however, I’m allowed to express myself anywhere and everywhere without feeling awkward about it in any way. I’m not much of a weeper, or anything like that to be honest, but it’s awesome all the same.”
SIMONE ELIZABETH SAUNDERS | ARTIST
“Being a woman of colour, I honour what a gift it is to create my own cycle of life. I respect my ancestors and the power of giving life. And I honour my body each day and respect the choice and decision women have over their own bodies. There is immense power in that.”
LIBBY SAYLOR | ARTIST/BLOGGER
“I love the journey I have taken in discovering my power as a woman. As a girl, I recall being incredibly aware of my fragility as a female human being in this world. I felt afraid of someday, possibly being raped or mistreated by a man. My beauty made me feel self-conscious and I remember wanting to be both invisible and seen, all at the same time. I lived many years as a disempowered female, asleep to the reality that I am in fact capable of being powerful in this world, despite my gender.
Now, as a 41 year old woman, I don’t always feel powerful. But I certainly feel much more powerful than I ever have before. I have no interest in “taking on the world” or abusing my power as a woman. But it feels good to not feel so afraid anymore. I love when I feel like I’m unapologetically kicking some ass (metaphorically speaking). When I witness other women kicking ass, I feel proud to be a woman.
I do also love feeling beautiful. Thinking about beauty and focusing on beauty makes me happy. Contemplating methods of enhancing my beauty is super fun for me. Expressing myself, my moods, and my femininity through fashion is something I’ve always taken pride in. Looking in the mirror and enjoying what I see feels fantastic. Another woman’s beauty also inspires me.
Finally, I think the one thing that distinguishes women from everyone else is our ability to birth children. This ability is a woman’s choice and I withhold judgement for those women who choose not to have children. I personally would love to experience the gift of pregnancy and childbirth (even though it terrifies me). And even though I am well past my prime, I do hope to have the opportunity to experience this aspect of womanhood, someday.”
HEIDI SMITH | THERAPIST/HERBALIST/FLOWER ESSENCE PRACTITIONER | MOON & BLOOM
“I’m more interested in what connects all life, not what separates us, and I think masculine and feminine are traits that are part of all life, and exist outside the gender binary. We’ve been living in such an overly masculine world, I’m more drawn to feminine energy: creativity, receptivity, intuition, the subtle, the mysterious. The feminine is compassionate and collaborative–traits that I feel are bringing us into a new era. The masculine isn’t bad, though, the feminine can see the whole picture and knows what is required for balance.
I am 40 now. I feel I have reached a new place within myself in my trusting and in my knowing. I feel clearer and stronger, to trust and to know, and to also surrender to not knowing, and being in acceptance of that. I feel more resolute in my trusting and knowing, I give myself permission to trust and to know, and if I’m not seeing something correctly or need to be accountable for something, I can handle that. I feel more empowered to just be myself.”
GABRIELLE VELEZ | ARTIST
“What I love most about being a woman are the relationships and bonds made between each other. I like to say I had many mothers. I grew up surrounded by women in my life who were so important to shaping me into who I am today. My dad left when I was one so I was so lucky to have my mother, grandmother, aunts, sisters, and family friends take care of me. If it weren’t for them, I would not be who I am today and I am forever grateful to them.”
MARISSA VELEZ | DIRECTOR/PRODUCER/CEO | MYTHOLOGIE PICTURES
“My first reaction to the question is: strength. I feel that as women, if we allow ourselves to believe it, we have limitless strength. I say it this way because believing it is of the utmost importance. Within ourselves, I believe that we have an inner force that no one, no man, can reckon with. We have been conditioned to believe we are the weaker species, but we bring life into this world. We have an energy that needs only to be acknowledged, and with access to it, I believe there is nothing we cannot accomplish.
I do not believe I am particularly special in any way, but I do know that I believe in my inner strength and I believe in my vision for my life. That may not always be clearly defined, but it doesn’t have to be, because sometimes, it is just believing that I will have the strength to take me where I need to go that will get me there.”
NATALIE WESTER | BLOGGER | THE HOT GODDESS
“What I love most about being a woman is possessing and wielding so many superpowers. Women combine strength, resilience, and grit with intuition, compassion, and empathy. We are badass nurturers, problem-solvers, and givers of life. Our ability to ‘do it all’ and soldier on through physical pain and emotional despair is unmatched. I love our creative minds, our changing bodies, our deep passion, and our power to choose—to stay, to leave, to grow, to start over. I love being a woman who is empowered and in control and living life my way. Even on a sh*tty day I know my light will shine again because I am Woman.”
I also can’t end this post without thanking Pat Flynn, Blogger-Podcaster-Teacher-Entrepreneur Extraordinaire. Pat generously offers so much content, and shares his knowledge with such kindness and humor. The idea for this article was inspired by Pat, who has created really quality ask/answer articles and podcasts on his platform. If you are a blogger, podcaster, and/or entrepreneur and would like to grow your platform, check out what Pat has to say! Most of his content is free, but he also offers various classes and workshops.
THANK YOU AGAIN TO ALL OF THE WOMEN WHO CONTRIBUTED TO THIS ARTICLE!
And to anyone who reads this article, feel free to answer the question WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING A WOMAN? in the comments. Also, for any male readers, please feel free to respond as well! WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING A MAN or WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT A WOMAN?
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Featured photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash