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New Definition of Womanhood

Reflections from Helynna Brooke, Red Web Foundation Board president 

Womanhood needs to be defined by women. For too long it has been defined by men, the media and advertisements. If we do not help girls define womanhood, they will be defined. Older women who matter to the girl should be a part of teaching the skills to survive successfully and conscientiously in our culture as women.

In other cultures, older women, who upheld the values of femaleness decided when a girl could join them in womanhood. Things considered in making this decision would be the level of maturity she had attained, her wisdom, and self-discipline. In our culture, men decide if we are women. This decision is primarily on how a female looks - if she has breasts and curves, she is a woman. Loss of virginity and pregnancy are also definitions of womanhood in our culture.

To help girls make a successful transition from girl to woman we need a definition of womanhood that includes all aspects of being human, not just the physical attributes of the female or the ability to create life. To move among the women in your life, with a deep sense of connection, nurturance and support. To be confident and secure, not only in your accomplishments, but just because you are a woman. Feeling empowered and proud to be female. All this can be ours, beginning early in our female lives.

To become a woman takes a lot of energy, work, and experience, yet from the day of the first menses any young woman can become a mother. She needs support, teaching, and love from all of the people in her life to make responsible decisions about her body and learn the many ways a woman can make positive choices about how to use her body, mind, and soul.

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