Listening to Her

The Sundial’s social media team interviewed members of the CSUN community about their opinion on womanhood.


Nicole Bezerra is a CSUN alumna who graduated with a degree in psychology last fall.

Q: What parts of womanhood would you say that you embrace the most?

A: I think that I embrace the strength and overall duality of womanhood. I value my independence and doing things on my own, but I also value my support system and being a part of a support system for others.

Q: What are some things you wish people knew about being a woman?

A: We are often doing or dealing with a lot more than it appears. We can be juggling 20 different situations and you wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at us.

Q: Do you have any advice for other generations of women?

A: To just continue to grow and challenge the norms. You’re a lot stronger than you might think. Never let the world make you feel small or incapable.

Jennifer Berry is a professor in the department of gender and women’s studies. This year marks the 20th anniversary of her teaching at CSUN. 

Q: So, to begin with our first question, what parts of womanhood would you say that you embrace the most? 

A: Great question. I love how smart women are, I love our bodies, I love how strong women are. I love being a mother. I loved being pregnant and sustaining two babies … I’m a mother of twins. I fed those babies with my milk, I sustained those babies in my belly. I love the friendships that women have. There’s a sisterhood that I have with my colleagues here at CSUN for sure and out in the wide world. I love a lot of stuff about being a woman.

Q: What are some things you wish people knew about being a woman?

A: That women have to live with sexism every day, every minute of their lives, and that women are taught to endure sexism rather than fight it. That we are dismissed, we are devalued for thinking a lot of times, we are reduced to our body parts both on film and in the media. Our girls in the many of the public school systems are unsafe from sexual harassment. We do not get proper diagnoses in health. There was a huge article recently in The New York Times about how they have not been studying menopause correctly for decades, and decades, and decades. These are all women’s issues. We fear that to be a woman is to be afraid a lot of times because we are threatened with violence. So that’s the negative. 

What I wish people also knew about being a woman is that it’s amazing having a female body. As I said, I’m a mother, so I knew what it was like to breastfeed and all that, but even if you decide not to become a mother, your vagina has tremendous power. The clitoris is the only organ in the entire human race set up for sexual pleasure and satisfaction. That’s radical, that we have a body organ that is set up solely for pleasure. I wish people knew more things about mothers and how much they do in a day. For example, before I even come in to teach my classes. I’m usually responsible for getting two kids out the door dressed, fed and out. Now, they’re 15 now, but I never stopped working when I was a mom, and all the things I had to do even before I showed up to my classes, you know, getting them fed, getting them out the door, tying their shoes, signing the field trip slips, signing the permission slips, setting them up for soccer, whatever it was. How much women do in a day, I wish people knew that, respected that and honored that. 

Q: And then, do you have any advice for other generations of women?

A: My advice for every woman on the planet is to lead a life of no limits and to push against whatever she thinks she cannot do, and try to do it. While she’s trying to do the impossible, she brings in a whole team of women around her that can cheer her on.

Kimberly Parada is an English major with an emphasis on creative writing. She graduates in the spring.

Q: What parts of womanhood would you say you embrace the most?

A: This is sad, but I guess the physical aspect of what a woman looks like, I guess. I embrace that most because I feel like that’s what a lot of the times is defined as what womanhood is; how you physically look. And it’s easier to embrace that rather than other aspects. 

Q: What are some things that you wish people knew about being a woman? 

A: It’s the misfortune of just being a woman, honestly. And I know that that’s such a general term to say, but I guess to put it in context, I saw this TikTok once that was a trans man, a female to male, and he said that he didn’t realize how much women weren’t heard. Because once they transitioned into a man, everybody took into consideration their ideas, and that literally made me cry … It was just like, wow, like, it’s just so fucking sad to not even be considered in anything. So it’s just, I guess, understanding the misfortune of being a woman is probably something people should take into consideration, and really look into and understand.

Q: Do you have any advice for other generations of women?

A: I mean, I have a younger sister. I talk to her, or at least I try, because she’s 20 and she doesn’t want to listen to me. But if I were to want her to understand something it’s … everyone’s going to look at you and see a woman and just want to understand you physically. 

Whether we like it or not, that will always happen. …  Even if they only understand that, just do what you do, regardless of how people see you. Because at the end of the day … it’s not going to change. And if you constantly just try to fit in that mold, you’re just gonna be fucking unhappy. So just do what you do, regardless of how you present yourself physically … Just, who cares? Who cares? It doesn’t matter. 

Q: Do you have anything else that you would like to add in relation to this topic? Anything you want to get off your chest?

A: As sad as it seems, it’s not good being a woman and that’s really sad because you want so bad to be understood. I think that’s where the issue lies, it’s trying to be understood. And people try to understand you in ways that aren’t progressive, like I said, physically. 

Women have been tied so much with physical aspects, whether it be through sexuality or whatever, beauty. But that’s not understanding a woman, that’s just seeing a woman or what you believe is a woman. So sometimes just shutting up and trying to understand rather than add to a topic or add to what a woman is trying to say, just, you know, listen, and try to understand.