What is a woman? I used to always contemplate this all the time. I would stare into a big mirror, stare face-to-face with a figure that had always looked different from the other females that had surrounded me. Ever since the stimulated thought of 'athleticism' and 'weightlifting' had entered my brain at 6th grade, I had undergone a physical and mental transformation that many women and men wouldn't, normally, agree on. While most girls were looking at bigger busts and curvy butts, this girl had been looking at leaner abs and defined deltoids. While other girls slapped on coats of make-up and 'feminine' clothes, this girl was going 'all natural' and wearing hoodies for days. I wanted to be built, lean, cut, whatever other words to describe those boys that were athletic in high school. I wanted to be physically toned. However, I had an obstacle that would constantly question my aspirations: everyone. What did it mean to be a woman? As a teen, I reflected my physically changing body after a few years of working out. My chest had widened, my shoulders were more developed, my biceps and triceps popped out and a few veins had shown every time I flexed. Even though I hated leg days, I'd done the exercises to even out my bottom-half with my top-half. My quads and calves were noticeable and my shins were toned. My butt wasn't as curvy but the gluteal muscles had started to show in the shaggy basketball shorts.
I do acknowledge that my physique is different from what other girls had. I've always had a 'boy-like' stature. I remember when I was first starting this transition to a more athletic body; or what other people have said from a 'feminine' to a more 'masculine' body, there were always the comments that would get to me. "Stop lifting weights, your chest will get too big to fit a bra." "Girls don't normally lift weights." "Why do you want muscles are you a man?" "You are like the only girl who signed up for the weightlifting class." "Who are you are you a man?"
If being a man meant that I was a person that lifts weights than (by all means) 'yes, I am a man.' If being a man means having muscles on my arms and legs then 'yes, I am a man.' But if society were to only look at the biological structure of a woman then I am a woman. I was born with a vagina and breasts, so that must mean I am a woman.
As I look in the mirror, I say that I am a woman. I am a woman who will still do the hobbies that I love and I will continue to do the things that I want to do no matter what other people say. I identify as a woman but that doesn't necessarily mean I have to look like a 'woman.' How I present myself doesn't have to concern with the social standards of how a woman looks. I am a 'strong' woman regardless of society's definition of one.
If my presence could change the close-minded society of what a women should and can be, then let it be. Let society see this unfeminine body and be woken from their brainwashed minds. Let society see this body smash all social expectations of a woman. And when little girls, who are going through the same criticism for their own bodies and minds, are asked what 'horrible monstrosity' they are. Let them respond with "I am a woman."