A Blog on Surviving Womanhood

Category Archives: Womanhood

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today is a day to celebrate the wonderful contribution that women make to our society.

Thank you to all the women who have changed my life: you have taught me that being strong and courageous are beautiful qualities to possess; that the greatest gift a mother can give her kids is her own time, knowledge, confidence; and that being a woman is hard work and underappreciated, but very rewarding.

And thank you to the men, who treat woman as equals, with respect and dignity; who recognize that beauty isn’t defined by dress size but rather by a vivacious personality; who recognize that being a feminist is a good thing when it promotes the equality of men and women; and who find an intense, courageous, strong woman attractive, rather than emasculating or threatening.

Happy International Women’s Day! Cheers to all the women who strive to be the best version of themselves that they can be, and to the men who support them!


The Wonders of Womahood


I recently attended a mooting (mock trial) competition where the top four student oral advocates from almost every school across the country gathered to compete in front of judges across the country. At this competition, I met some of the best and brightest law students, that served as a population sample of Canada’s law talented law students.

At the reception, I had the chance to look around the room and mingle with these delightful students.While there were plenty more women at the moot competition reception than what I usually see at law firm receptions, there were very few minorities – and even less female minorities. Frankly, I was sticking out like a sore thumb at the reception, and I’ve come to realize that was not a one-time occurrence. I always get this feeling – of not belonging, of being the odd “man” out – when I attend law firm receptions.

Law is still a boys club. The stereotypical idea the old, Caucasian man who serves as the head of the law firm is a stereotype that actually exists. And while there has been some progressive change in the legal field for women, I’m struggling to see minorities and female minorities, rising to the ranks in law. Most of the lawyers I see in large law firms are men. I’ve been told by student recruiters at Bay street law firms that being a woman in law isn’t easy. One recruiter told me, rather frankly, that every child a female lawyer has puts her off the track to making partner at the firm by three years. Can you imagine? You return from having a kid after 6 months of maternity leave to be pushed back three years! I want to believe it’s because law is so fast-paced and ever-changing, but lets face it – I’m still quoting English law from the Privy Council from the early 1900s. It’s really quite astounding that 6 months maternity makes you, in the eyes of the law firm, less qualified to be a partner by three years.

Much of the discrimination is inherent in the legal justice system. It stems from “old school” judges or senior partners that aren’t used to having women in court, to the challenge with being accepted into law school as a minority student. At the last mooting competition I was involved in, a male judge told a female mooter on my team that she came across too severe, and told the female competition that he liked that she smiled and “was charming”. While the advice was well-intentioned, no male mooter received any comments about being too severe. Male mooters are never told that they were too aggressive, that they don’t smile enough, or that they aren’t charming enough. It’s okay for men to be that way, but not for females.

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“Do you know what a woman is most afraid of in the world? It’s that she is not gonna find that one person who accepts her for everything that she is, and that, when she finally starts to let him in, he’s just going to leave.” – Kate to Ben, in Ben and Kate Season 1, Episode 1.

All women want a person that will accept them for everything they are. We want that guy who likes all of us – who sees that there are flaws but doesn’t say anything because he sees the “big picture beauty” as I like to call it. We all want that guy who is intoxicated by your beauty and smarts and smile. The guy whose eyes still light up when you come to bed, even though you didn’t have a chance to shave your legs, and your stomach has gotten a little flabby over the years. We want the guy that says “I love you” every morning, and even though you reply “I love you too”, still stops you, puts his hands on your shoulders, looks you in the eyes, and says “No, I really love you”. We want that guy. We deserve that guy – the guy who respects our hearts and minds and character first, and recognizes that our bodies are one part of our beauty.

Even though I’ve dated an amazing man for so many years, I still get nervous around him. I still feel a little insecure – when he puts his arms around my waist, I instinctively suck in my stomach. When he keeps glancing at my lips, just before making a move to kiss me, I wonder if he is noticing that I missed threading a couple of hairs off my upper lip.

Like all women – like all humans – I’m not perfect – not physically, not personally. I get unnecessarily worried over small things, and sometimes I get really mean when I am trying to hammer home a point. When I am around people and feeling nervous, I make really inappropriate jokes.

I couldn’t pinpoint the exact ingredients to a “healthy, normal relationship” but I can say from dating someone for many years, that one of the many reasons my relationship works is because he gives me confidence. He never makes me feel bad for not living up to the ever-so-high standards of beauty that society puts on me, and in exchange, I always make an effort to look my best, and impress him. When I am feeling insecure, he soothes me rather than exploiting those feelings for his personal gain. He makes me proud of who I am, and never says things that makes me feel I’m not good enough, or smart enough, or skinny enough or hot enough, or talented enough, or charming enough.

He makes me feel like I am enough. He makes me feel like who I am, in my entirety, is just right for him, and I don’t need to change at all for him to consider me “good enough”.

We’ve been together for almost 8 years, and have weathered a lot of storms, but I always get butterflies before we meet. I always want him to see me at my best, and I appreciate when he loves me the same way at my worst. I don’t know what makes a perfect relationship, but as long as I am enough for him, that’s good enough for me.


A different kind of woman…

Change Tomorrow's World

We youth know the internet as a big place, where a lot of people feel okay about tormenting and hurting others behind the protection of the sterile glare of their computer screens.

But Balpreet Kaur, a neuroscience major and baptized Sikh woman, is showing us all, through courage and eloquence, that educating others can be the antidote to ignorance, hate, and unkindness.

Check it out:

A young Sikh woman — whose photo was taken at an airport, posted online, and then ridiculed by hundreds — is being hailed across the web today after defending herself so eloquently that her original tormenter felt compelled to apologize to all Sikhs everywhere.

Please see the full CBC news article, written by  Lauren O’Neil, here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourcommunity/2012/09/bearded-sikh-woman-teaches-reddit-a-lesson.html

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Is it just me, or is it tough to find a good guy, now-a-days? I mean, maybe its just me, but whenever I start thinking about my future, I get this nagging feeling. Any thoughts of marriage end up involving a very handsome groom with a blurred face. When will that face crystallize?! I’m finding as I get older, and transitioning out of school, that it is becoming harder and harder to find a guy I can date longer than a year, let alone find “the one”. I feel like I might end up dragging, or worse, being dragged, to the altar.

So this post ends up being about finding “the one” – less about deciphering who is the one, and actually determining where the hell you can even find him – or his friend, brother, cousin, relative, etc.

One really important thing to remember is that, although it’s really hard, you have to put yourself out there. You have to be confident – you have to remember you are incredible, and interesting, and unique, and you need to have a thick skin and not be afraid of a little rejection.

Once you got your confidence on high blast, lit with neon signs and decked out in glitter, time to go fishing!

Take Advantage of School: School presents a wonderful opportunity to meet people. Between classes, clubs and extra-curricular activities, the potential to meet people are endless! Plus, school allows you to connect with specific groups or types of people – you can join a club that contains people you would be interested in, whether its meeting an adventurous person in the sky-diving club, or someone of your own ethnic background. Put yourself out there!

Ask a Friend to Set You Up: Your friends know you best, and they may have someone special in mind for you, based on the intimate relationships they share with their other friends. What could be the harm of getting their advice or trying a couple blind dates?

Be Careful About Dating in the Workplace: It’s easy to meet people at work, but harder to get rid of them from your life if the relationship goes south. Be as close to 100% sure before you pursue a workplace relationship.

Go to the right places to find the right type of man: What type of guy do you want? Maybe someone who likes to drink and have a good time? Take your girlfriends and go out to the local bar. Looking for someone more low-key and philosophical? Try checking out the art gallery or the spoken word contest or book reading at a local cafe. In other words, go to the right place to find the right guy for you. It always surprises me when my girlfriends go to a bar, come home with someone they later realize is not compatible with them, and then stare at me baffled. Choose the right location to find the right person. Common interests in location lead to common interests in relationships.

Know What You Want and Don’t Settle for Less: You may meet a lot of duds before the right one comes along. A lot of women don’t realize that the inability to know what they want is the direct reason they can’t select the right guy for them. For some people, it’s a process of elimination – each new (and failed) relationship teaches them what they are or aren’t looking for  in the final selection. But for others, it’s about indecision – about not knowing within what you want, or knowing that you are good enough to deserve what you want, and thus, finding the right person seems like an insurmountable challenge. You have to know yourself – and be confident enough in yourself to recognize that you are good enough for the best person for you. You should never settle for less than what makes you really happy – you should love yourself enough to recognize that it is better to be alone, then be with someone else and unhappy.

 Other thoughts on how/where to find the right guy? Share them with us!

~ The Wonders of Womanhood

My Declaration of Self Esteem
By Virginia Satir 
I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it — I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself.

I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know — but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me.

However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do.

I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay. — from Self Esteem

Alright so today The Wonders of Womanhood has decided to tackle a rather uncomfortable situation. You know how annoying it is to have Aunt Flo in town but sometimes…she makes her presence known to others. I remember last year I was sitting in a lecture hall at U of T. A young woman sit in the row behind me. She sat down and a slight shift in the position of her legs and I got a clear whiff of Aunt Flo being in town! It was a rather uncomfortable and sometimes unbearable situation for all!

We would like to tell you – a bad-smelling period is a very normal concern. There is nothing wrong with you. Periods are the discharge of blood, uterine lining and fluids; it’s not a pretty combination and you shouldn’t feel insecure if you notice Aunt Flo is…talking softly but wearing a loud shirt!

So, how can you combat this concern, and make sure Aunt Flow stays in your pants?

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