Real Women

In my last post, I spoke of a meme I saw on facebook that bugged me. The time has come to reveal said meme:

photo from memegenerator.net

I will admit that it is sort of funny.  I am not the least bit offended by the implication that women should stick to making sandwiches instead of doing all that silly learning. What bugs me about this meme is the first two words: Real Women.

I see quotes and ecards abound that begin with “Real women” or “Real men” all the time. However, I am not a man. Since they seem perfectly capable of defending themselves, let’s just stick with real women for now.

Among the things that I’ve seen that are supposed to make a real woman, besides sandwich artistry (are there any single Subway workers? Could you put down your husband as a reference on their application?), are tattoos, watching football, drinking beer, and of course curves.

So what about those who hate tattoos, sports, and beer, and the girls who possess anthills instead of mountaintops? Are they not real? Do they simply not exist, or have they just not properly met the conditions for official membership in the gender?  Here is what Dwight Schrute has to say on the matter:

photo from memegenerator.net

Why don’t we see any quotes that actually qualify all women as women? Like, “Real women have ovaries,” or, not to leave out those who’ve had a hysterectomy, “Real women have two X chromosomes.” Now, that’s nearly all-inclusive, but it still leaves out those women who were unfortunate enough to be born as men. The phrase “real women” implies that there are women who do not deserve the title.

The gender lines have definitely blurred in the last few decades, but do we really live in a society where a claim to one’s gender is not an innate, inalienable right? Is it a title that can be taken away from us, something we have to prove? Why is it, that when a woman fails at a gender-specific part of her life, like being a mother or wife, she is automatically labelled as “not a good woman?” A man’s masculinity isn’t contingent upon his ability (or willingness) to be a father, so why should women feel pressure to succeed as “real women?”

A woman’s worth should not be defined by how she measures up to anyone else’s standards. I may not be able to make a decent sandwich, but I am still a Real Woman, whether Dwight can see me or not.