What is a Woman?

IT’S WOMEN’S DAY AND MUSEUMS IN FLORENCE ARE FREE!!! (This is perfect timing because my wallet got stolen in Spain and I have no money.)

I started at the Bargello, a five minute walk down my street. Stepping in, the inner courtyard glowed, sunlight streaking down from the clear sky. Sixty degrees at 10 AM would make for a good day no matter what, but the breathtaking sculptures around me created an otherworldly feeling. It helped seeing such a large amount of my fellow ladies out and about; they made my heart happy. Finally, a day for us.

Me in museums: most of the time, I have no idea what I’m looking but if it looks important, you bet I have a picture of it in my phone. Even though it means I’m clueless, I find that museums are only entertaining if someone doesn’t force me to go. Museums, with all their doors and artifacts, can be a maze, but it’s terribly fun to be lost in the right place.

I tried to soak in all the greats who came before me. People around me glanced and left. Wait, don’t you get it? I wanted to yell.

After the Bargello, I went to Palazzo Davanzati and the Palazzo Vecchio. Both were filled with so many paintings and dishes, they get muddled in my mind.

*3 hour intermission while I’m at school*

View from a window at Pitti Palace

Pitti Palace gave me some feels. I love the Medici family, and that place was chalk full of reminders—I’ve read many books on the Medici, and that made seeing this place a lot more meaninful. They bought it in the 1500s and I couldn’t help but pretend I was royalty while strolling about the palace and the gardens. If I ditched my backpack and traded my ripped jeans for an elegant dress, I could be a young lady out for a stroll. But then, in that time period, I’d have so many less rights. I’d be traded for marriage and smash fruit on my cheeks to make me flushed and pretty.

These thoughts, and the Portrait of a Woman which hung in the gallery, made me wonder: what defines a woman? Does she have to be weak and elegant? Pretty and promiscuous? Intelligent and quiet? Loud and wild? Women were all of these things back then, and they are now too. So perhaps being a woman means being brave enough to be true to oneself, no matter what type of self that is. Perhaps being a woman means possessing a quiet–yet sometimes deafening–strength. Past all speculation, one thing is for sure: being a woman is timeless.

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