I found myself in an interesting conversation about vaginas today.
Actually it wasn’t so much a conversation as it was a group of my PA brothers calling each other vaginas, giggling like schoolgirls and making lewd gestures with a cannoli. I’m the only sister in a PA family of ten on this particular job, and I think in that moment they forgot that I do, in fact, have a vagina.
On the flip side, it was in that moment that I was poignantly reminded that they all do, in fact, have penises. Penises intact, they were acting like Neanderthals. So just like the great Jane Goodall did before me, I took this opportunity to study their behavior.
In that 30-minute lunch break I learned that it was, alas, not a good thing to be a vagina and if your PA brother offers you a tampon–boy, did he get you. Every true dude in the vicinity will be [heartily] laughing at that one. But through careful observation and analysis, I discovered that this web of insults surrounding the female anatomy has far less to do with the actual vagina as it does the absence of the penis. The main message:
Be a Man.
Have you noticed that men are always imploring one another to be Men? If you’re a Man you’re strong. If you’re a Man, you’re a provider. If you’re a Man, you don’t even need to take your pants off to pee. A prideful species indeed, men find it a great honor to be Men; and that pride has given them a vast amount of power in this world.
So, to my fellow vaginas out there, my message is as follows:
Be a Woman.
When you’re a Woman, you’re intelligent. When you’re a Woman, you’re compassionate. When you’re a Woman, you bleed for up to 7 days straight every month and don’t die because you have miniature peanut butters cups hidden all over the house. You know, ladies, I think it’s time we took a tip from the Neanderthals and started imploring one another to be Women. Let’s break this down.
Be a Woman. Mind your physicality.
As a biological female, your body is politicized. From the talking heads in Washington to that weirdo with the lazy eye that bags your groceries, everyone and his brother thinks they have some say over happens with your body. And in many places across the world, it’s far worse than that.
A Woman understands the power in her physicality; she owns it. A Woman walks with confidence. She keeps her shoulders back and her chest forward. She makes eye contact and offers a firm handshake. A Woman is inherently strong and simply doesn’t have time to entertain the myth of the frail, conquerable female.
Be a Woman. Regard your mind.
In yet another interesting conversation with a different member of the crew, he told me that gender discrimination in the film industry was–get this–fiction; jobs, he explained, simply go to those that are qualified. My feelings on his statement aside, the fact of the matter is that gender discrimination does exist in this industry and many others. To borrow the words of the great Lily Allen, it’s hard out here for a bitch. But fair enough.
A Woman accepts that challenge, not only because she has to but also because she’s equipped to. Almost by design, a Woman is a Jane of All Trades. She’s a provider, a breadwinner, an artist and perpetual problem-solver hurdling obstacles on her way to a better tomorrow. A Woman knows that from her mind comes her unique voice and therein lies her power. A Woman is qualified.
Be a Woman. Respect your fellow vaginas.
Ten years ago this year, the great Tina Fey taught us a very valuable lesson when she dissected girl-on-girl bullying in her film Mean Girls. Many of us behaved this way as young women, and many of us continue this behavior into our adult lives. It’s bullshit.
A Woman thinks the overwhelming amount of girl-on-girl bullying and girlfriend dumping is total socialized bullshit. A Woman is–at the very least–respectful of the women around her. A Woman recognizes that if/when she’s jealous of her fellow vagina that it’s really just an opportunity to learn from her and grow beyond superficial feelings. A Woman networks with her fellow vaginas, uplifts and stands by them. She has great vagina role models and strives herself to be one if only to join in raising a new generation of Little Women that aren’t afraid to stand by one another.
Be a Woman. Glorify your lady bits.
A Woman has read the great Inga Muscio’s CUNT: A Declaration of Independence. A Woman re-Tweets the great Betty White when she denounces the common catchphrase grow some balls telling us, “If you want to be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can really take a pounding.” A Woman does a fist pump to that one.
She has a vagina, tits, low swinging, childbearing hips. She is constructed of those bits and pieces, physical and spiritual, exposed and hidden, political and personal; and in all that, per the words of the eternally great Maya Angelou, a Woman is Phenomenal. One finds great pride in being a Woman, phenomenally.
Don’t be a dick. Be a Woman.
In fond memory of the ever so inspiring Maya Angelou.
Rest peacefully, Phenomenal Woman.