|Serena posing for Vanity Fair|
Do you need to give birth to be a “real woman”. The short answer? No.
Serena Williams faced a social media crucifying this week when she said in a magazine interview that she was excited to give birth as she would feel like a “real woman”. A slight poor choice of words which many took offence to and didn't hesitate to let her know by barraging her via social media channels.
I am speculating here but I do not think she meant this as an insult to women. To those who cannot have children or choose not to. Does this make them any less of a woman compared to someone who has had children? Of course not. When I gave birth did I feel any more of a woman compared to my pre child self? No, it made me a mother but no more of a woman. The same principle applies that you do not have to have given birth to be a mother.
Put very crudely, women were meant to carry and bear children. This was their biological design, to help carry on the human race. In this day and age there are so many more factors to consider. It isn’t as simple as that. Not all women want to have children and not all mothers give birth to theirs. Families come in all shapes and sizes and it isn't a one size fits all world anymore.
Some topics will always cause an uproar. And this is one of them. Women are not the timid hide in the shadows beings we used to be. We have a voice and one we exercise reguarly. We want to be heard, to be respected for the decisions we make. Women do not apolgise for not wanting children or admitting how desperate they are to have them. There is still too much stigma and a sense of shame surrounding the topic of inferitility.
People do love a good witch hunt and when something starts trending it will soon snow ball into something very ugly. One comment suddenly turns into one of the leading strong female role models in sport attacking those who cannot and choose not to have children with the common # of #chooseyourwordscarefully
I have to admit something here and it has changed my view dramatically of how I view things on social media. When I first saw that Serena had made that comment; I too, was taken aback about how insensitive it was. Talking to my partner about it, he perceived it as something differently entirely. He said that being a sports woman she is likely to be seen as very masculine. I can imagine the comments she must have received about the way she looks and the field she has chosen to pursue a career in. Being pregnant and giving birth is something (at the moment 😉) only a woman can do. This is what I believe she was trying to convey in the interview and not what she was accused of doing. I may be wrong but I struggle to see why a feminist icon would destroy her reputation by being purposely insensitive to a lot of women that lookup to and respect her.
It is argued we are the easily offended generation and social media does play a role. I was once attacked by what seemed like half the CHD community after I penned an article to say I didn't like it when people asked me if my son was fixed after his heart op. I was bombarded with comments and many said I was too easily offended. I do believe those in the spot light should indeed choose their words more carefully, (D Trump I am looking at you) hell, I think we could all do with doing this perhaps the world would be a kinder place. We are all still allowed an opinion and have a voice and with the ability to make something viral worldwide in a click and a matter of seconds it is so easy to cause a stir or controversy with someone. Just as it takes one retweet, one comment and the trolls are after you in the blink of an eye. When the likelihood is it has been misconstrued, manipulated and taken utterly out of context.
When you do come across these sensationalised articles we are all guilty of devouring after they pop up on our newsfeeds maybe we should just take a step back revaluate before we start sharpening the pitchforks.