How to Be a Woman

by Apollia, a Qualified Expert on How to Be a Woman,
With 26 Years of Experience Being Female

This article was written in response to a challenge to write an article by this title in the blog post How To Be a Man by Steve Pavlina. Thanks for the inspiration, Steve!

It's easy. All you have to do is be born with the appropriate physical characteristics. You can act any way you please, and no matter how much or how little you live up to arbitrary cultural standards of femininity, you'll still qualify as a biological female. That's all there is to it!

However, if you can't make up your mind how you want to act, and want some clearer, more specific instructions on how to be a woman, there are plenty of arbitrary gender-based stereotypical roles to choose from, concocted by cultures all over the world.

You can research this topic on the web. (Here's a decent starting point, though it's not completely trustworthy since Wikipedia can be edited by literally anyone with any agenda: Wikipedia: Gender role) Or, you can ask any random person you know to tell you how you, as a woman, should act. For instance, if you asked me, I would tell you that you ought to send me lots of money.

Of course, if independence and self-determination are important to you, you'll probably want to take everything you hear from any other source besides yourself with a grain of salt.

You also might want to question your own assumptions too, because as Leonardo da Vinci once said (in Italian), "The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions" - and, even though Leonardo was apparently talking about men, there's a good chance that this quote, and many other quotes seemingly referring only to men, are just as applicable to women.

You'll have to make your own decision, though, about whether Leonardo da Vinci is worth listening to - unless you decide to just unthinkingly agree with me that he is worth listening to much of the time.

Speaking of unthinking agreement - another tack on life you can consider, besides being independent and self-determining, is being obedient, compliant, impressionable, malleable, and out to please others. This is not necessarily a difficult path to follow, assuming what others want you to do is compatible with what you yourself enjoy doing.

However, sometimes you'll run into others who have contradictory opinions about how you (or women in general) should act - leaving you with the dilemma of having to make decisions about who it's more important to you to please. It can also be bad if others want you to do things that really go against your grain. If it remains important to you to please those others, this is going to set you up for a lot of pain and inner conflict.

Fortunately, one cure for this pain is simple - just cease to care about slaving to please the other person or people. Or, a more difficult (in my opinion) possible solution is, you can continue slaving, and perhaps someday successfully adapt yourself to accomodating those desires of others which are incompatible with your own with no feeling of unhappiness or self-denial.

There are people who will try to convince you this is a bad decision, and from certain perspectives (including mine), it is a bad decision (since, for one thing, I think it's harder work and might actually be impossible in many cases) - but it's your life, and your decision.

An option many choose is to live with a mixture of being independent and self-determining in some realms of life, and compliant, conformist, and out to please others in other realms of life.

You can also employ these two basic approaches with different styles. You could be ruthlessly, obliviously independent and blatantly not care about anyone else's opinions on how you should act - or ruthlessly, obliviously determined to slave to please a particular person or cult or something no matter how much anyone pleads with you to stop because they think it's bad for you.

Or, you could have a nicer, more compromising style - either in actuality, or merely seeming that way on the surface, where you appear to (or actually do) open-mindedly take others' feedback into account, instead of blocking out and discounting the ideas of everyone who doesn't support what you think, feel, or want to do.

Which style and approach is best depends on your values and goals. There are no doubt also other possibilities - for example, having no strategy at all and aimlessly fluctuating between styles and approaches, or doing whatever is expedient and brings you closer to whatever goal you have in mind, or doing whatever is fun or easy at the moment regardless of the consequences.

You can even choose to slave to seem independent and self-determining merely because of wanting to please others by seeming independent and self-determining. One example would be a woman, who truly just wants to stay at home and be a homemaker, entering the workforce and unhappily struggling to have a career and to seem strong and independent just because it's the popular feminist thing to do. Different strokes for different folks.

Whatever you choose, it can be useful to bear in mind there are probably many alternate choices and possibilities you haven't even thought of, and things are often not as simple as they might seem on the surface.

It might also be a good idea to examine your values, goals, and motivations, and reflect on why you have them. Are they what you really want and care about, or are they just products of what you feel others want - the result of cultural pressure, familial pressure, peer pressure, or the pressure of trying to please a particular individual of any category, like a love interest? You could also consider whether these values, goals, and motivations really make you happy or not, and whether or not it might be a good idea to change them, instead of just blindly acting upon them.

In conclusion, however, it is my opinion that no woman ever really needs to worry about how to be a woman. Unless some very dramatic physical changes happen to your body, you're probably going to remain a woman for the rest of your life no matter what you do or how you act, whether you like it or not. In my opinion, all women are entitled to have 100% confidence in their femininity - since if someone is a woman, it's an objective fact. Worrying about whether or not one should try to live up to other people's standards, and how much, is a separate, subjective issue.

The above article is just as applicable to how to be a man, or how to be a hermaphrodite - just change it to suit those genders.

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Last modified: May 11, 2008
This page uploaded to web: May 11, 2008