Monday, December 12, 2011

Is Kimani a Real Girl?

Dr. Logan Levkoff wrote a post, “The True Meaning of Womanhood.” Daring soul. She took a good stab at it, but her conclusion that Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin represent the “wrong” definition of woman, which seemed to be the real reason for the article, annoyed me and thus sparked my brain cells, forcing me to consider what really makes a woman, a woman.

I have to question some of Dr. Levkoff’s points. She asks, “Is womanhood measured in degrees? Are there some women who are ‘more woman’ than others?” and then answers herself with a firm, “No, of course not.” Immediately following she defines being a woman as “a state of mind and a commitment to social action.”

If that were the actual definition of womanhood, the true meaning of womanhood, then either we all have the same state of mind and are all equally committed to social action, or womanhood can be measured in degrees. Oops Dr. Levkoff.

One reason she needs to define it that way (“I think I am, therefore I am” and “I agree with Dr. Levkoff’s political views, therefore I am”) is to open the door to transgendered women. (A transgendered person is someone whose gender identity is different from their assigned sex at birth.)

She correctly makes clear that a woman is not simply the sum of her physical parts. She points out that a woman who has a mastectomy is no less a woman after, and I agree. Seeing how we have objectified and sexualized women based on a body image, I get why she wants to toss boobs to the wind, but I can’t let her.

Because according to Dr. Levkoff, Kimani might not qualify as a girl. After all, Kimani may never even understand that she is a “woman,” as her state of mind is limited. Kimani will doubtfully be committed to any social action. Rather than losing her girl parts to cancer, Kimani has lost her mind parts to meningitis, but this makes her no less a girl who will grow up to be a woman.

Dr. Levkoff’s true meaning of womanhood is flawed because the scope is too narrow, her political mission too obvious. When defining womanhood, you cannot separate the physical and the metaphysical and exclude either one or the other. The true meaning of womanhood is complex and vast, but I promise you there is a place for Kimani within it.


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