Is it the make-up and shoes? Or the tampax in her bag? Is it the lover? Or moving out of home? Holding her baby? Or perhaps it’s the bank account in her name with money she has earned in it?
Is it knowing how to walk like a woman? Or graduating from college? Is it being able to buy condoms without being embarrassed? Or knowing when to say “No!”? Is it looking in the mirror and loving what she sees? Or being able to give her heart to someone, and then cope when that someone leaves? Is it when she no longer expects to be treated like a princess? Is it when she can hold her drink, or when she knows when to stop? Or perhaps when she knows what it means to put the needs of someone she loves before herself, not to please or gain love, but just because she wants to?
Which of these would you say defines a woman?
What have I missed?
Of course, there is no single defining moment, but many women remember some event which made them realise that they had taken another important step towards womanhood.
My concern is that we no longer provide our children with clear markers to indicate that they are progressing along their path towards adulthood. Every teenage girl longs for affirmation that she is on her way towards becoming a woman. Teenager girls often don the clothes, make-up, and mannerisms of a women mistakenly believing that this makes her so. Appearance is such a small part of what it means to be a women, but who is there to teach our daughters this?
We can be. We can spend time with our girls, in the company of other women, doing things that you enjoy together. We can talk about what it was like for us, growing up through our teenage years. We can tell them our stories. We can remember aloud important events that for us marked our progress towards adulthood. We can allow them to overhear and join our conversations, woman to woman.
This way she will learn what it is to be a woman.