JANUARY 1 2018 – AUGUST 2021

Footage was edited from thirty zoom interviews, smartphone videos, then edited with iMovie by Ruth Chase. The work presents contrasting viewpoints, encouraging the viewer to come to their own conclusions.

Participants include Michelle Amador, Eileen Bryant Archibald, Karla Kaizoji Austin, Be Boggs, Adrienne Boudreaux, Catharine Bramkamp, Adrian Card, Mira Clark, Brooke Condon, Colleen Graham, Brynn Farwell, Elma Jella’, Beatriz E. Ledesma, Gabi Markham, Chandra Merod, Luciano Mota, Nona, Michelle Litton Ogaidi, Rey Otis, Cassie Robertson, Steve Roddy, Aqueila M. Lewis-Ross, Shōkai Sinclair, Kim Stewart, Dana Divird Stevens, Valerie Hiestand Stuart, Andie Thrams, Tia Tuenge, Casey Louis Travis, Nicole Weaver, Jen Rhi Winders, and Carolyn Crist Wright.

Prompting Question – What does it mean to be a woman?
In each video participants share unique and diverse perspectives on the meaning of womanhood, allowing the viewer exposure to new ideas or possibilities about what it means to be a woman.

“My deepest jealousies towards other women were because I was attracted to them.”
“I think about the danger of visibility as a woman.”
“Non-binary identity started me on a path of thinking about my own expression of femininity.”
“It’s been ok for girls to aspire to masculine occupations, but the flip side for boys …
“Being a woman, you’re given a female gift pack that gives you six tools to get through life.”
“I am a part of a sacred balance in life.”
“Being a woman equals being powerful and living in a constant sate of creation.”
“When I think of womanhood I think about what makes us different than men.”
“I never had a desire to do the things we have culturally infused into womanhood.”
“Being a woman is understanding what society expects then finding a path.”
“I like being small and feeling powerful along with the awareness of being other.”
“In the 21st century it’s been ok for girls to aspire to traditional masculine occupations.”
“Am I feminine, yes, can I not be, yes.”
“To be a woman means to be part of the human race.”
“The feminist fire comes out when I feel like other women, or I can’t do something.”
“Now that I’m a mom, a woman is a She-Ro; she can hold the world in her hands.”
“Women have come so far that the use of Miss or Ms doesn’t need to reflect their marital status.”
“We are in a time when the benefits of the power of woman is being understood.”
“I am an advocate for endometriosis education.”
“At 69 years old I don’t fit the mold for womanhood.”
“Women have an inner warrior that stands within her all the time.”
“As mothers, we raise our children while simultaneously healing.”
“We are here to be the guardians of love.”
“Being my authentic self means giving zero fucks about what other people think of me.”
“At 83 I feel freedom being a woman.”
“I’m not allowed to have an emotion unless it’s tied to my reproductive system.”
“Women have been traumatized by Covid and they have to take care of themselves.”

By Terra Nyssa

Instinctively we are born into this world as nurtures and leaders. We are born in this world as educators, supporters, guides and healers. We are born into this world as feeling, empathetic beings. We hold a special place in our hearts for those who show us beauty, love and strength. We have a desire to emulate that, to find the inspired, and the wisdom in life all around us. But we must also address the challenges, what happens to us along our journey is crucial. Being human is challenging, being a woman human in this modern time is even more challenging. Yet along this journey we stand in the shoes of many women who have come before us, not even knowing it. We as women wouldn’t be who we are without the ancestors who have come before us and made it possible to be who we are now. Through their suffering and celebrations were able to have a voice in so many ways they didn’t. With all its beauty and challenges in this present day, I am inspired by this generation of young women. By the collaborations that are taking place between generations of women. It’s an inspiring time to be a woman! So in some ways it feels like a responsibility as a woman to create platforms and support for all women in solidarity for the human beings on this planet. For those who show up and those who can’t. Depending on where a person comes from, what they have had to endure and and what we are lifted up by, all brings fuel to the story of women today. In collaboration we learn and grow.  That’s what it means to be a woman today. 

Photo by Renate Putzka of Terra Nyssa

By Kimberly Stewart

Dear Mother Earth,

How do I belong? Does it come from you for me to take? Or, do I plant it, nurture it, and call it my own? 

If it comes from you, how will I recognize your gift? Will I feel a part of the environment you have surrounded me with, or will I feel a stranger in an unknown land? How will you know it is the right place for me?

If I plant my desire of belonging will you help me? Is this a mutual endeavor that both of us will benefit from or will it be dead roots in depleted soil from countless times before. 

Perhaps for me to belong, I must listen with more than my ears. I must tread without trampling and see with my heart beyond my own selfishness. 

In the end, Belonging is not something to take, or own. It is something to borrow and then to share with the next.

Photo by Kimberly Stewart