The Prologue

Full moon, heavy rain, wakeful sleep.

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So what makes women uniquely women? Treading on ice, slippery slopes, and other dangerous and overused phrases. There really is no universal experience, it seems. Making generalized statements is dangerous, I agree. Cultures vary so widely. People vary widely. Gender is in flux in the modern, western world, and likely always has been in many times and places.

Yet, I want to make some statements and observations. And yet again, I look suspiciously at surveys and studies that I could reference to make broad statements. I raise and eyebrow and purse my lips at scientific queries into hormones, and which gender has more of which one and in a laboratory setting what photographs, ideas, or situations make a woman's or man's this or that fire, pulse, or release (talkin' hormones and blood pressure, here).

Maybe it works out best if we no longer generalize, no longer stereotype. But, I am really curious. Broadly, women and men are different. Within that broad span, we have culture and cultural definitions and expectations. We have religion. We have relative amounts of freedom that have been granted women and men, and women and men of different classes and pigmentation. And, we have new cultural terms like cisgender and transgender, and we have older cultural terms that we have accepted and taken for granted, like 'gender'. Just like Little Sal and Little Bear in Blueberries for Sal by Robert McClosky, we are all mixed up on Blueberry Hill.

A little mixing up is a good thing, since we've thrown ourselves into the stocks, culturally, saying for the past hundred or maybe two thousand years: "women do this", "men do that".

So, there you are, this is the prologue. It's muddy, muddy, muddy out there. Luckily, blueberries are delicious no matter what the discourse is. In the meantime, this is big a topic, so I am taking my time.