In attempt to abandon their thinking, each person concentrated solely on themselves. Escaping their thoughts so that they are in their own space ignoring and silencing everything around them.
In this work, my goal is to bring the identity of being who you are and identifying with your labels forward. This project serves as a platform for each person to think and speak up about what it means to be a part of a fundamental community. Each identity is unique and including each nuance makes up the broader spectrum of what it means to identify as a certain gender. As each person has their own image, they also have their own personal thoughts behind who they are.
To me, to be woman is to be human.
Ileana A. Curtis
Femininity is something that has no set definition, I believe. The idea of what is feminine changes for each person, and that’s the beauty. People show their versions and it brings to light another complexity. I’m not feminine but I know I’m beautiful in my own way.
To me, being a woman is such a special thing. I heard somewhere once that feminism does not have to be as difficult of a concept as we make it out to be. It means getting all of the rights and privileges that men get everyday, without question. It’s that simple. Being a woman is such a gratifying thing, and I wish everyone felt the same.
To me, being a woman means embracing womanhood. Not all women have a vagina but I do and I love it. Having a vagina means I have the capacity, potential, and choice to have kids. Maybe I will have kids and maybe I won’t, but the very fact that I have the choice to is mine and mine alone.
Womanhood also comes with the systematic oppression and in my case, Chinese American womanhood. My unknown history is the loudest influence in myself and being. I am a product of the One Child Policy in China. This fact has driven me to embrace my Asian femininity growing up in a conservative-white community.
I was raised to be a girl and have more feminine characteristics. As I have grown aware of this I embrace them even more.
I value being a woman so much because I know that there are others that live without the privilege that I have been given.
I have the opportunity to have a choice while others do not. I realize this and do as much as I can to give them a voice.
I am still unsure about identifying as a woman when I reject the ideal of a gender binary, but the only weirdness I feel about being gendered by those around me is in knowing that they are also gendering my agender, non binary, trans, etc. friends. I am very feminine and fiercely proud of it. Though there are a few days a year that I embrace my jawline, flat chest, and thick thighs and go for masculinity. My femininity is the happiest place I can be and I really love identifying as femme in the queer community. Being a women, being feminine means being stronger, louder, and more socially active than I am expected and assumed to be by cisnormative, heteronormative, binary-obsessed society at large. Femininity is not a flaw.
To be a woman means bending and breaking these rules of perception that’ve been handed to us. Often times, we are told how we “should” present ourselves. Through the voices we’ve been given, we will continue to challenge those ideologies. Being a woman means learning, growing, crafting, and empowering yourself to your best version imagined. It’s living by your own standards— not someone else’s. It can mean whatever you want it to mean. We are limitless. It’s prideful— being a woman is so, so prideful.
I am a feminine woman. I like dresses and heels and doing my hair. Feminine is strong. It means I am capable. I am my most feminine when I am calm. But there are aspects of my personality that are considered masculine. I can be aggressive and assertive. When I am in charge and leading I harden myself.
But let me tell you those are also feminine. There was a time I thought I was “too boyish”, but now I realize that I’m not. I am a feminine woman who is sassy, funny, assertive, pretty, and not afraid to be all aspects of myself with no questions that means to me.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about what it means to be a woman is to be proud. Be proud of who you are, who you want to be, your goals, your style, your likes and dislikes, your role model. Being unapologetically yourself is the best thing a woman can be.
If I'm being honest, I don't know what being a woman means. To me, there's not one definition or role for women. I think what being a is is wildly different from woman to woman. I haven't come to a point in my life where I need a definitive idea of femininity.
What being a man feels like is well, messy. I feel like everyone expects to be tough, or to think of myself before others and I’m not these things. I have always felt like who I am and I just so happen to also be a man. Having this as a part of my identity horrifies me because before people try to get to know me, they try to understand the man (outside of my race, and build as well).
So I guess — being a man gives me some satisfying/not satisfying urges, but often I have to deal with how people treat me based off of what they think anyway.
Masculinity is a fragile act kept together by the illusion of power. Every waking moment I feel as though I am walking on thin ice, constantly hoping that I am not only able to trick those around me into think I am a “man”, but also hoping that I can trick myself into thinking the same. I do not want others to see me cry just as much I don’t want to remember that I can. But why? So I can live up to the societal standard of what “man” means. Some of my actions, thoughts, and desires align with what we consider feminine. Personally, I feel as though I am inherently neither. There is not one that I am meant to be, just as much there is not one that I am. Some times I am afraid to embrace my feminine side, for fear of it emasculating my image; I fear that people will make assumptions, judgements, and predictions of who I am as a person — before they’ve even gotten to know me — based off of such a trivial trait.
Being a man doesn’t mean anything in particular to me. Man or woman, I am who I am. Regardless of any stereotypes or expectations of my demographic, I live my life and cast those generalizations away. I think generalizations hinder us from getting to know an individual for who they are rather than what we expect them to be. Men don’t have to be masculine and women don’t have to be feminine, the roles we are expected to play aren’t as beautiful as being our most authentic selves.
Being a man involves protecting those who can’t protect themselves, running towards adversity, and preserving moral integrity. Being as strong as you can be and always striving to be your best are the core elements of being masculine.
Being masculine means being comfortable with yourself, and treating others with respect.
Being a man means understanding our privileges in today’s society. Being a man also means treating everyone else with the same respect that we have for ourselves.
We should all be the same.
I’m from an impoverished community, full of Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities. What it means to be a man there is, I would say, very different than in the predominately white community. Or Lesley for that matter. I’m a guy and I’m proud of it. Being a guy is great! But the masculinity portion is what I struggle with. I’m not your typical guy because I’m not into sports, I don’t “thirst” over chicks or any other or any other “things” guys do. But I’m pretty traditional, chivalry is a big thing and think that stems from my Dominican roots. I also wouldn’t consider myself feminine, though it seems so in my community. Here at Lesley I’m pretty masculine and at times, very masculine. In the end I just live life, I don’t want to be seen as either, fluid or whatever the fuck. I am me, I’m a man who likes everyone.
For me manhood is all about providing and caring for your loved ones, friends and family. Respect for women as a man is a huge part that my parents have instilled in me from a young age. A true man owns up to his actions, is responsible and honest. I look up to my father a lot because he is a lot older than me and has taught me a lot throughout the years. If I become half the man my father is I would feel very accomplished. He does everything for his family and community.
For me, masculinity is just a blanket term for how I present myself. I do not think masculine means to be macho but to have qualities associated with being a man.
What it means to be a man?
That's a hard question for me to answer, growing up around only women and the only father figure I had died when I was young, I never really got "trained" how to be a man. Most boys were taught to shave like a man, to play ball like a man, drive stick like a man. Me? I learned to sew like a woman. cook like a woman, how to cater to 25 guests like a woman.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, though I identify as a man, what it really means for me to be a man is an even better woman.