What does it mean to be a womxn? Firstly, as a Black Radical Feminist, I use the word “womxn” rather than “woman” to veer away from the societal construct that defines womxn as an appendage, extention or variant of man, the construct that makes man the constant point of reference. So back to my question. What does it mean to be a womxn?
Some would answer that it is to express characteristically female traits but then what does that mean? If your point of reference is the presence or absence of a uterus then what of Trans Womxn? If it is brought down to “feminine” behaviour then what of “masculine” presenting queer womxn or even “masculine” presenting cis het womxn? (cis gendered = assigned gender correlates with your expressed gender. Het/erosexual = attracted to the opposite sex). Who gets this claim on femininity? Who gets this claim on the title “WOMXN”?
There is a habit we have, as cis het womxn, of making ourselves the point of reference and absolute determinant when it comes to all things womxn. Many cis het womxn feel they have been ordained the right to either give or take this title away from people depending on what they’ve decided meets their approval. Truth is, you haven’t decided on anything. You were told that this is how things are meant to be and you accepted it as the ebb and flow of the world and because society placed you at the top of the “womxn pedestal”, you did nothing to challenge these constructs even when it has been overtly violent to the womxnhood of others.
As cis het womxn, we are simply variants of what it means to be womxn. Trans womxn, Lesbian womxn, Androgynous womxn, Gender Non-binary womxn, Cis/Het womxn; ALL of us define what it is to be womxn.