As someone who is very vocal about not wanting kids, I often get asked, “What if your husband wants to have kids?” My answer to that may be one of two things: first, I might not even choose to marry. And second, if ever I opt to marry someone, my body will not be a conjugal property.
Us women have been brought up in a world where we believe we can have a say in our choices — whether as simple as the clothes we wear, or something as far-reaching as the rights that we should have.
This Women’s Month, we’re celebrating owning our bodies in all the ways we choose to do so. We asked a bunch of strong and independent women what it means for a woman to “own” her body, and how they assert ownership of their own bodies.
A woman owns her own body when she has complete autonomy over it, when she is free to stake a claim to it, when she has a choice on what she can do with it. In the Philippines, women are still battling for our rights to our own bodies. We’ve seen this in how we’ve toiled over the Reproductive Health Law in Congress; how difficult it was to pass the bill into law without judgment or controversy.
As a legislator, I hope that I am able to help assert (women’s) ownership of their bodies (and in effect assert ownership over my own body, too) by making sure that I continue to uphold pro-women laws that give every Filipina autonomy, freedom and choice.
A woman takes ownership of her body the moment she realizes it’s not for anyone else’s consumption. It’s easier said than done, but what I try to do is be in the room, and of the room.
Whether you’re butch or femme. Whether you prefer to dress modestly or not. Whether or not you’ve figured out the right ways to love your body. Be proud to take up the space that you do.
I personally take up as much space as I want to (and as a plus-sized woman, it’s a fair amount that I never apologize for) and I believe in my personal capabilities, beauty, standards and potential.
However, I also feel that confidence is incomplete if I’m not empowering other women to see themselves just as defiantly. Because, despite all that’s impressed upon us from a tender age, there is so much space for all of us and all the diverse things that distinguish us from one another as people, not just as women.
So, to me, fully owning your body as a woman means challenging the narrow spectrum in which women are allowed by society to exist. Be yourself at maximum capacity, but also be generous with yourself towards other women who might need the encouragement.
We own our bodies for the very reason that they are ours. We are capable of doing absolutely anything we want for ourselves. We can choose to show off our bodies, hide our bodies, tattoo our bodies, shave our bodies, have surgery on our bodies, and all sorts of things. We are not obliged to follow anyone else’s beliefs and constructs because it is not their body to begin with.
I assert my ownership by being extremely unapologetic about what I have. I am a transitioning transgender woman and, right now, my gender dysphoria tells me that my body isn’t the right level of feminine yet to pass for a “real” girl.
But when I come to realize that women’s bodies come in all shapes and sizes, I get to proudly show off what I currently have and that still makes me valid. I have stretch marks, flab, muscles and I lack hips and a big butt. But you know what? I don’t really care! I’m proud of who I am and what I have become through the years that have passed. I am capable of showing to the world the power of my own body.
A woman should be able to own, decide and make choices about her body without fear of being discriminated against. I take ownership of my own body by taking care of myself.
For me it is important to feel good about oneself, because how can you perform or take care of your family if you’re not at 100 percent? Get a pamper day at least once a month, or a haircut, or a tattoo! It should be your right, and no one needs to have a say in it.