"Woman": Food for Thought

Photo by pixabay

Photo by pixabay

I need feminism because the term “woman” is still defined with negative connotations that “man” is not.

 Woman (thefreedictionary.com):

  1. an adult female human being
  2. female or feminine: a woman politician; woman talk.
  3. women collectively; womankind
  4. the woman feminine nature or feelings: babies bring out the woman in her.
  5. a female servant or domestic help
  6. a man considered as having supposed female characteristics, such as meekness or timidity
  7. a wife, mistress, or girlfriend
  8. the little woman: one's wife
  9. woman of the streets: a prostitute

 Woman (Dictionary.com):

  1. the female human being, as distinguished from a girl or a man.
  2. an adult female person.
  3. a female attendant to a lady of rank.
  4. a wife.
  5. the nature, characteristics, or feelings often attributed to women; womanliness.
  6. a sweetheart or paramour; mistress.
  7. a female employee or representative.
  8. a female person who cleans house, cooks, etc.; housekeeper.
  9. women collectively.

Woman; a term that societally means inferior, less than, or property. After you get past the basic, and only meaning the term “woman” should have (a woman is a female), there are other connotations that are rather striking. Why do two separate dictionaries recognize women as both emotionally feminine and as property? Women may be emotional, but I’ve seen men cry, show signs of anger and rage, be depressed and lonely, happy and gleeful. So why are women defined specifically as emotional people, while men are not?

 Man (Dictionary.com):

  1. an adult male person, as distinguished from a boy or a woman.
  2. a member of the species Homo sapiens or all the members of this species collectively, without regard to sex: prehistoric man.
  3. the human individual as representing the species, without reference to sex; the human race; humankind. Man hopes for peace, but prepares for war.
  4. a human being; person.
  5. a husband.
  6. a male lover or sweetheart.
  7. a male follower or subordinate.

The definitions of man are all complementary, even using the term to refer to both men and women alike, but if the role were reversed, “womankind” would only refer to half the population. Women are a subclass of human but are not innately an individual, according to our own definition. We've taken away woman's right to be an individual by giving man ownership over her. No one should have ownership over anyone but themselves.

"Man" defined is man. He is man regardless of gender, he is the leader of mankind, he is a leader and a person, but he is not identified with emotion. He is not associated with children, domestics, inferiority, or adulteress tendencies. Women are the feminine, docile, serving sex. Mind you, WE as a society are the creators of books and definitions. Is it any wonder that society still has preconceived ideals of how a man and woman should act and what roles they should fulfill? If we can still define ourselves using these old fashion terms, then we surely apply the same out-dated social expectations to men and women both.

What I find to be the ultimate and worst insult, however, is this definition of the term woman: “a man considered as having supposed female characteristics, such as meekness or timidity.” Not only is woman meek or timid, now her term is used as an insult—to both men and women—that to be a woman or referred to a woman is a bad thing by nature. How can women grow up and feel confident about themselves or proud of who they are if they have limitations on who they are supposed to be?

 What’s worse is that it’s not just women that are having this issue. The bad connotations just follow them from childhood into adulthood, and through the span of their lives. Have you ever used the term “like a girl” and used it as an insult? Has the phrase been used at your discretion, insulting you for being a girl? Then you understand that we set the bar low for women starting in childhood. At some point, being a girl is a bad thing, and it is seen as a joke, and as being inferior—because woman is weak, and girls are helpless. Why do they have to be? Why do we have to let our youth think that way? Always is questioning these very ideas now. Their campaign can only help encourage the world at large to consider these questions and make a change.

If we could change the way we all think, and encourage both boys and girls, men and women, to see each other as equals, see each other for the emotions, drive, passion, goals, and determination that all humans are, we would stop treating people as if emotions are a bad thing, when, biologically, emotions are the key to us being human at all. We could be kind to each other, and have fair standards for everyone.