What Makes A Woman A Woman?

I know I am not alone in not paying as much attention to the biology of gender as I should. While it is often said sex differences are mostly innate, some experts disagree.

It is a sad truth of human existence that we make a habit of telling the stories of men and women that suit our own views. And it would behoove us to take pause and think about what it’s all about before we make too many rash, misguided assumptions about a subject so important, something so deeply personal. Then again, we are human beings and as such often make rash assumptions about how we think others think about gender.

I have no idea what my son’s mother thinks about gender roles. I can’t speak for anyone else. But it is clear she has her own opinions that she takes seriously, and I take equally seriously when I speak to her.

She recently told me what it means to be a woman is different from someone else and has been working on getting over that sense with her own children.

I know it may seem strange for someone at birth to know what it means to be a woman. I also know it may seem strange for her to be making such a statement. But it is important to note that this is simply the way it is.

Gender comes in all shapes and sizes. If you don’t have the knowledge necessary to navigate gender expectations, be it in personal or professional environments, the world can seem an awfully confusing place. It has to be. The truth is, for all of the stories we tell ourselves about gender differences, we are all just humans. And we all do gender and gender roles differently. For some of us it feels like it is more common and accepted to do some of the things we want to. For others, it feels even more like we are not treated with so much compassion that we feel a little ashamed of our actions because there are some things we don’t want to do or take part in.

There are also some things we do just for fun. It is not always about what others need or what we could do for them. For some, it is just like having a pet – it is a shared activity that gives us a sense of community and helps us grow and nurture our relationship with each other.

Gender does not have all the answers but we shouldn’t forget to ask the questions. What are the expectations and expectations that I have and others have been instilled with? How well do I understand them?

I also wonder if the question of whether gender roles are different in boys and girls really is really about “girl talk or boy talk.” Girls tend to talk about things like family, friendships, friendships at school, and things like dresses. Boys tend to talk about things like sports, cars, and cars at school. Why does it make sense that boys talk more about stuff that is usually considered feminine? We know most of our own gender talk comes from our mothers. And since the mothers of most boys we know talk at least sometimes about cars and cars, is it really a question about how boys talk or is it merely an artifact of our own way of looking at how boys and girls act and behave?

I don’t think there is any clear answer to that but it does seem to me that we need to be careful to look at gender in a different way – in terms of the kind of behavior we are trying to encourage rather than the way we are trying to define our children, in a positive way rather than a negative way.

Because sometimes, no matter how much we tell each other that “it shouldn’t matter” or “it’s okay to be different” – we’re all just different.

To read more on this topic, I recommend Gender is A Social Construction? .