birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Culture v Biology

Both culture snd biology shape my views regarding my gender.

Culturally I was influenced by the principle of GRIT: girls raised in the South. I was raised to never feel anger, to be quiet, helpful, useful, pretty. Physiologically I am an average sized adult woman, but in my mind's eye I am an Amazon: broad in the shoulder, wide in the hip. This view of self originated in the conflict that I saw between what culture defined as feminine and how I perceived my femaleness.

As a child, my ideal image of the female and femininity was that of a slender girl dressed in tights, ballet flats and a leotard. This image was manifested in the illustrations in my Readers Digest for Young Readers. But I was pudgy, not slender. This point was driven home by my mother's mother who offered me a dollar for each pound I lost.

As a young adult of the burn-your-bra generation, I came to accept feeling more biologically feminine than culturally feminine. I dressed in jeans, second-hand store hoodies. I wore Dr. Scholl's sandals until I could wear boots, then boots until I could wear sandals.

As a young mother pregnant with her second child, I hoped that the baby would also be a boy, like my first. I didn't feel like I would be a good role model for a girl. Again, my feeling that I was culturally deficient came into play.

As an older, now single, woman, I sometimes feel like I don't belong. I think that in other times, places, and cultures, I would be seen as the witch, the eccentric old crone. Though perhaps this is more ageism than sexism.

I'm Every Woman, It's All in Me

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