“One is not born a woman” What a fantastic quote. However, I did not find it easy to understand. My first thought was “uhhhh, yes your are” but I have come to realize that this subject is not as black and white as it initially seemed.

The most important aspect of this quote, to me, is the expression of individuality. One becomes a woman by fitting the stereotypical norms of society and giving up on all of the individualistic and expressive things about their personality. The biggest accomplishment in a “woman”s life is giving birth. This is not a case of individualism, but rather of mass conformity. If this truth was the truth for every single female in america there would be much less diversity, individuality and expression of self.

I became fully aware of the meaning behind “one is not born a woman” from this quote: “For once one has acknowledged oppression, one needs to know and experience the fact that one can constitute oneself as a subject, that one can become someone in spite of oppression, that one has one’s own identity.”

This is a little thick, but I believe that the gist of it is what is important. It is basically saying that “one”, any given person, can be themselves despite “oppression” or societal rules or norms. It is important that the oppression is identified in order for this to happen though. This is actually key.

 

The only thing I can compare it to where the identification aspect of the “oppression must be identified” is homosexuality. The reason being that many homosexuals conform to heterosexual lifestyles because they are oppressed and never think to act on their desires. This complacency is giving in to the oppression of society and giving up part of the individuality that each person contains.

Okay, I rambled a bit, back to some scholarly material. This argument, that “one is not born a woman, is obviously a step towards constructivism. The identity of a person is constructed by their experiences in life and not by the physical characteristics of their body. A body with a vagina does not “need” to give birth. There is no essential destination or purpose for the body that is imbued within it at its creation. This is what that statement argues.

Altogether, it is important to seek out your inner individuality and to not conform to oppression. This does not mean rebel simply to rebel, it means that you should be your own person despite oppression, whether it happens to fall in line with what they want or not.

-Ashland

 

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