"Are you a man or a woman?" This is a question I have been getting a lot lately on my Instagram account. I have also received it from people to whom I send naked pictures. Every time I am asked, it is by a man. It has inspired me to really think about that question, very deeply. All my life, I have identified as a woman/female because for the most part, I have been treated like a female all my life, so I guess I would have to say that this is the way I identify.
But part of me thinks this doesn't really matter. It is not that I want to downplay it, I just don't feel like I use it to make decisions, except for those regarding safety. Of course, I am treated as less than in most professional positions I hold, I am not allowed certain health priveleges in some states, and I might get paid less than a man in certain companies, but other than that, my gender is really not anything I think about.
What I think more about is my great effort to be Sara. Sara is a unique individual who frankly, doesn't like to be put in a box. She knows that she will be perceived differently depending upon her gender, She understands on a deep level that if she is not a man, she will not benefit from certain privileges that group enjoys.
But it is much like the art Sara makes, the articles and books she writes, and the photographs she creates every day. She can only do them as Sara, but then, the viewer, the person who comes to those creations, much like the person questioning her gender, brings their life with them to view it. Every experience, every wonderful and horrible thing, come with the viewer and there is no way for Sara to control that, nor would she want to. That is because Sara needs all of her energy to make sure she is being true to herself. Sara must be loyal to Sara, no matter her gender, her sexual preference, or her religious beliefs. Sara is above all else, devoted to herself.
So, when I am asked if I am a man or a woman, or, when I sit and listen to a man tell me that all women are crazy, I can't help but try and relate to those statements. I can't help but wonder what it might have been to go through this world, in this time, or any other, as a man. If I was a man, life would most likely have been easier for me. I am not sure that is better though, because I would hate to maintain the incorrect assumption that all women are crazy, or be blind to the fact that I am a member of a gender which at best is not aware of its power and privelege in almost every society that has ever existed on earth.
So, yes, in the face of all that is against me, I am Sara, I am a woman, and I am doing that in any way that I choose. I will not make apologies or ask for permission or try to fit into society's twisted vision of what a woman should be. It is a narrow-minded limiting persona that has very little to do with who I am, what I am capable of, and how much I grow and accomplish. In fact, let's just say it, if I were to believe society's version of female, I would most likely be much less than I am.
I have never in my life asked, "how best can I appear to be a woman?" this is something I am just understanding, is in itself, a privilege, and I am grateful for it. The Sara thing? That is an every-day-all-day-long question I pose, because I am interested in who she is. I am interested in what she loves, what she thinks, and what she fears and desires. This is a question I can dig my teeth into. This is a question I love to consider, because it is always changing, always evolving, and always interesting.
I am lucky to have this type of freedom to consider this, who I am, and luckier still to come up with such excellent answers.
Didja like this? Share it. Inspire someone to think more about who they are, who they want to be, and how best to do that. The question is worth asking, if only to provide the opportunity to consider ourselves more deeply.
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