Ain’t I a Woman…?

Here is my rap sheet:

  • I am 30 years old.
  • I have a career, not a job.
  • I have a college degree.
  • I have a church home, a pastor, an extended church family.
    • I actively serve in this church and I am a tither.
  • I do not own a home, but I pay rent, a car payment, and monthly bills.
  • I have good credit.
  • I volunteer with community organizations and I still make time to do personal things that make me authentically me (i.e.: the blog space, crocheting hairstyles, shopping! LOL!)

I am in a lane that I created. It’s all I know. It may not be what you’ve got going on, but it’s a lane that I’m pleased with. I wouldn’t have had my life unfold any other way.

Now… answer me this… with the Krystal VITAE shown above, why Aint I a Woman?

Why is it that in 2015 my family, the stock from which I was bred, have debates about how womanhood should be defined?  According to my big brother, who proclaims he didn’t become a man until he got married.. until he had kids, the only way  a girl gets the right to WOMANHOOD is if she is married or gives birth.

WHAT? [insert side-eye here]

Nope, I don’t have kids. Nope, I have never been married…

So you’re not a woman he echoes over and over again. You’re still a girl. Still irresponsible. Still carefree.

While my life may not be set up in the exact structure of his: mortgage, spouse, baby… but carefree I am not. Why should giving birth or getting married  be the only two check boxes on the OFFICIAL WOMANHOOD QUALIFYING SHEET?

Are you a woman because you’re 14 years old and pregnant? Are you a woman because one month’s ovulation was met by spermatozoa and one of those suckers got lucky? I regretfully mention that 10 year olds can do that these days. What if you have had a baby, but you’re not raising the child, should you still be considered a woman by his standards? Can you maintain your WOMANHOOD status if you have an abortion or give up your child for adoption? I wonder…

Are  you a man because you’re 23 and have been divorced 2 times already? Yes, grow up, leave home, get married.  Cleave to your wife. But can you still be considered a man if you divorce because your marriage fails after 20 years? What if you’re unable to keep your family together, does that mean that you’ve lost your MANHOOD as well? If that be the case, I know plenty Men who reverted-back-to –boyhood since they used to have wives at some point in their lives.

If babies and marriage are the only ways to qualify you as a WOMAN Oprah Winfrey has yet to become a woman. But she’s not alone: Jane Austin, Queen Elizabeth I, Serena Williams or even Susan B. Anthony (the mother of woman’s rights) has no idea what WOMANHOOD really is.

If babies and marriage are the only ways to qualify you as a MAN the apostle Paul (who wrote most of the New Testament) would have never been considered a MAN. According to my big brother criteria, Leonardo di Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton, and Ludwig van Beethoven as influential as they were,  merely boys who never grew up.

Biblically speaking I was created with intent. As was Adam. I believe that women were created to be helpmates. I believe that women were create to bring forth life. Does that mean that if I do neither I’ve disregarded God’s plan? Does that mean I will never function by God’s design? I wonder: Am I a living, breathing, walking, talking affront to God’s purposeful intent?

After being questioned about marriage Susan B. Anthony once said:  “I never found the man who was necessary to my happiness. I was very well as I was.”

Her sentiments mirror my present day regard. It’s not that I don’t see marriage and babies as an option; I’m just not trying to get pregnant in order to define myself as a woman. (I expect there are some females that do.) I’m not jumping into a marriage, specifically a bad marriage, just to make my womanhood seem more OFFICIAL. (Again, there are some who get married for reasons that don’t hold substantial weight in my opinion, but there is no judgment here.) Personally, I would say I am okay for right now. No husband, No babies, but I am in a good place.

I think it is more important that we figure out a way to not compartmentalize what WOMANHOOD should be. There was once a point in history where proponents of slavery defined citizenship using fractions that didn’t make sense. Why regard womanhood or manhood using the same measure. Womanhood has to be measured by your own standard because sometimes, unfortunately, “the world’s standards” (kinda like my brother’s) are simply wrong.    

Our family debate continues on, but I hear Sojourner’s voice screaming out: Aint I a Woman…



by Sojourner Truth

[Delivered 1851 at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio]:

“Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman?

Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman?

I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, “intellect”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.”

I may not have a husband. I may not have babies either, but Ain’t I a Woman…?

~Eve Un-yoked