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On Femaleness

I felt today, perhaps for the first time, thankfulness for being female.

Amid the ocean of sexual assault made visible by the #metoo campaign, and exposure of yet another high profile sexual predator (oh god, another one), it can begin to feel as if being female is a terrible thing. That perhaps there is something inherent in femaleness that makes experiences of domination and exploitation unavoidable. 

While sexual assault is a ubiquitous female experience in today's society, there is nothing about femaleness that makes it so.

In rejecting the violence done to us, it's easy to slip into rejecting ourselves. To despise qualities of femaleness. The breasts that get stared at. The curves that get grabbed. The spaces between our legs, that men might use to dominate or humiliate us, mostly with impunity.

I remembered today, that I like the femaleness of my body. I enjoy the softness of my breasts. I like the feeling of my butt cheeks in my jeans. I am awed by the reproductive potential of my womb, and its monthly, bloody, cycle.

As I feel sorrow and grief over the many violations done by men against women, it somehow helps to also welcome and celebrate what feels blissful and nurturing to this female body. Lowering myself slowing into a warm bath, the edge of the water slowly rolling up the side of my legs. Arching and flexing on the yoga mat, rolling vertebra-by-vertebra from cat to cow, and back again.

Today, I spent the afternoon framing poppies that I picked and pressed between the pages of a heavy cook book. Opening the long closed pages, I marvelled at the fragility of the paper-dry petals and the many tiny yellow seeds, like dust, at its centre, that could have been so easily lost to the wind, or the furry legs of a bee. I remembered the plants that grew them; rooted in dirt, standing in the weeds, and reaching for the sky. Slow, beautiful and determined.

Ode To The Winter Blooming Wattle