In All Ways A Woman By Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou, original name Marguerite Annie Johnson, (born April 4, 1928, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. died May 28, 2014, Winston-Salem, North Carolina), American poet, memoirist, and actress whose several volumes of autobiography explore the themes of economic, racial, and sexual oppression.

In All Ways a Woman - Maya Angelou

In my young years, 
I took pride in the fact that luck was called a lady. 
In fact, there were so few public acknowledgments of the female presence that 
I felt personally honored whenever nature and large ships were referred to as feminine. 

But as I matured, 
I began to resent being considered a sister to a changeling as fickle as luck, 
as aloof as an ocean, 
and as frivolous as nature. 

The phrase 'A woman always has the right to change her mind' 
played so aptly into the negative image of the female that 
I made myself a victim of an unwavering decision. 

Even if I made an inane and stupid choice, 
I stuck by it rather than 'be like a woman and change my mind.' 

Being a woman is hard work. 
Not without joy and even ecstasy, 
but still relentless, unending work. 

Becoming an old female may require 
only being born with certain genitalia, 
inheriting long-living genes, 
and the fortune not to be run over by an 
out-of-control truck, 
but to become and remain a woman command 
the existence and employment of genius. 

The woman who survives intact and 
happy must be at once tender and tough. 

She must have convinced herself, 
or be in the unending process of convincing herself, 
that she, her values, 
and her choices are important. 

In a time and world where 
males hold sway and control, 
the pressure upon women to yield 
their rights of way are tremendous. 

And it is under those very circumstances 
that the woman's toughness must be in evidence. 

She must resist considering herself 
a lesser version of her male counterpart. 

She is not a sculptress, poetess, 
authoress, Jewess, Negress, 
or even (now rare) in 
university parlance a rectoress. 

If she is the thing, 
then for her own sense of self 
and for the education of the ill-informed, 
She must insist on rectitude in being 
the thing and in being called the thing. 

A rose by any other name may 
smell as sweet, but a woman 
called by a devaluing name will 
only be weakened by the misnomer. 

She will need to prize her tenderness 
and be able to display it at 
appropriate times in order to 
prevent toughness from gaining 
total authority and to avoid becoming 
a mirror image of those men 
who value power above life, 
and control over love. 

It is imperative that a woman keep 
her sense of humor intact and at the ready. 

She must-see, 
even if only in secret, 
that she is the funniest, 
the looniest woman in her world, 
which she should also see as being 
the most absurd world of all times. 

It has been said that laughter is 
therapeutic and amiability lengthens the life span. 

Women should be challenging, tender, 
laugh as much as possible, and live long lives. 

The struggle for equality continues unabated, 
and the woman warrior who is armed with 
wit and courage will be among the first to celebrate victory.

Maya Angelou

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