Lately more than ever, I’ve become less prone to identify with socially constructed identities such as gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age. To be more specific, I’ve become less inclined to identify with all of the assumptions, requirements and limitations that are associated with these identities. We’re all human and we’re all on the same journey. Our differences aren’t different. But, with that in mind, still, my Black-American history, background of Faith and Female Heterosexuality all have such a direct influence on my life’s course; from the way I greet my co-workers, to my personal aspirations, to the music I listen to and the company I keep, the way I react to current events..
In this day and age, many people are choosing their racial and sexual identities. For me, being a heterosexual Black-American Woman of Faith is not someone I choose to be, it is not someone I even try to be, it’s not something I opt into with rituals and reminders. It is who I am. It is something that naturally flows out of my heart and into my life, not matter my environment. With faith it is the same; my soul instinctively longs for something bigger than itself, for the infinite, for the intangibles that are love, peace and joy. There’s no forced effort involved.
The identity that I relate to most intimately is my racial identity: Black-American. I could talk to you all day long about my Black American history and what being Black-American means to me. My female identity, on the other hand, I relate to in a much different way.
Being a woman, to me, means having a vagina and boobs. It means I get to have a sexuality that is so playful and fun and personal, yet enjoyed by so many. It manifests in my clothing style that is androgynous and feminine, in my compassionate and empathetic nature. It means I get to be the inspiration behind so many love songs and laughable gestures at getting my attention. It manifests in my ability to become pregnant and physically nurture and sustain new and vulnerable life. And..
that is where my femininity ends.
That is where my femininity stops differentiating me from men.
Many men, some I’ve met some I have not, are equally, some more, sensitive than I. Brought to tears more quickly than I. Are over-thinkers, just like me. They want to feel wanted, secure, pursued, led, loved. With this in mind, why are we treated so much differently than one another?
Why were us women—after protesting and rioting—granted the right to vote, only 96 years ago? Why—in 2016—aren’t men and women in the same field of work, with same job title, same amount of years on the job and same educational attainment, automatically paid the same salary?
Why is it socially unacceptable for men to emotionally unravel, to fall apart? Every once in a while. Why is the conservation of a man’s ego so reliant on feeling as if he is better than a woman? More financially successful, intelligent “emotionally stable”. So much so, that it creates a sense of entitlement in men, that feels emotionally abusive to relationally accommodate.
Why are humans so insistent on having someone to feel better than? What is this equality that we speak of? Equality, that our egos could not possibly, truly, desire. I understand. I too, have an ego. This manifestation in particular though, equal pay, finances, effects the course of our lives: the experiences we get to have, our right to self-determination and the pursuit of happiness. Money rules everything, and if men have an unfair accessibility to it that is based on their gender alone..the implications are disgusting.
This March, women’s history month has inspired me to reflect on my identity as a woman, the role that it plays in my day to day life, and in society at large. Upon reflecting, I feel a deep appreciation and esteem for the very specific nuances that are solely characteristic of women. Accompanying this appreciation is a deep sense of humility for how much more I have in common with all persons, and the security that this truth alone, provides.