In this ongoing series Melanie explores what being a woman means to her. The social process of becoming a woman, whether born female or transitioning later, is complex, learned, and combines both experiences and a socialized perception of gender norms. When someone wants to be recognized as a woman, how does society encourage her to represent herself?
A twenty-one-year-old Latina, Melanie lives in the Bronx with her mother and three young stepsisters in a one-bedroom apartment. Outside of her family and her boyfriend, she is isolated from meaningful human contact; while transitioning in high school her friends fled and the neighbors grew distant. Melanie is able to discover womanhood on her own terms through resiliency, inner strength, and loving herself.
All quotes are Melanie's.