One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman” reflects Simone de Beauvoir in her book The Second Sex (1949), and I have been wondering of the wisdom of this sentence for quite some time. What does it take for a female child to mature into a woman, not only physically but also in a mindset?
I have been a daughter, mother, wife and partner, yet, I can safely say, the first time I really understood the price and pride of being a woman was when I realized I was in an abusive relationship and that I had to co-parent a child with the abuser. Not only was the abuse inseparable from the low regard the abuser had for me as a woman and mother of his child, but also from the lack of institutional understanding and support I suffered as a dv survivor at the hands of the Family Courts.
Fast forward, ten years later, I found myself marching in Washington D.C. on the day of Trump’s inauguration and a year later in New York City. It is incredibly uplifting to be able to march for women’s rights and see how our movement has united the progressive forces in this country. At the march in NYC, I saw people campaigning for the Dreamers, LGBTQ rights, the environment, free Palestine and more, all under the aegis of the Women’s March.
I felt a glimpse of hope, a shift in public discourse and accountability in the air. When I reached 45th Street and heard a policewoman in her loudspeaker tell us “this is where the March ends but your fight will continue,” I could barely hold back my tears. Through hard-earned lessons, I can say, I have become a woman, not only in body, but also in the mind.