The Meaning of Womanhood
This year, I am planning to dedicate a significant portion of my reading and personal study time to exploring feminism and spirituality. I call myself a feminist, but I think I could be more educated about the histories and current theories of feminism. There is also a wealth of feminist spiritual literature to dig into (thanks for lending me Dance of the Dissident Daughter, Deborah!) My reading list for the year includes Women Who Run with the Wolves, At the Root of This Longing, Embracing Jesus and the Goddess, and The Spiral Staircase. (Further suggestions are welcome).
I’d like to kick off my exploration with some dialogue with fellow feminists and women and anyone else who would like to chime in.Here is my first question:
Are there any essential or intrinsic qualities of womanhood? If you think there are, what are they?
Of course there are physiological differences, but beyond that, what is there really? I do have a few of my own thoughts on this, but this time I’d like to know what others think first. My intention is to be more open to new ideas than I sometimes am.
To follow up with my first question, I typed woman, women, and womanhood into the search function on lds.org. Reading through approximately the first twenty hits, I gleaned a list of descriptors given to women:
beautiful and chaste
natural grace, goodness, and divinity.
Femininity . . .is the divine adornment of humanity.
capacity to love, spirituality, delicacy, radiance, sensitivity, creativity, charm, graciousness, gentleness, dignity, quiet strength.
innate beauty, charm, decency, and goodness
a beautiful and chaste woman is the perfect workmanship of God
Woman is God’s supreme creation
beautiful, none more inspiring than a lovely daughter
compassionate, self-sacrificing, loving
it is their nature to give and please others
full feminine splendor of her righteous womanhood.
spiritual and sensitive, tender and gentle.
They have a kind, nurturing nature
precious, nurturers, teachers
womanly instincts of care and mercy
Special spiritual sensitivity
So often the service of women seems instinctive
So often our sisters comfort others when their own needs are greater than those being comforted
Selflessness, faith, virtue, vision, and charity
Helpmeet, radiant and divinely fair
the greatest glory of true womanhood has been motherhood
God’s greatest creation is womanhood
And for my second question:
What are your reactions to this list?