Identity, according to Caverero, is not something that we innately possess and reveal, but something we understand through narratives provided to us by others. She writes about a scene in the Odyssey where Ulysses sits incognito in the court of the Phaeacians listening to a blind man sing about the Trojan War. Having never heard his own life articulated by another person, Ulysses starts to weep. Hannah Arendt called this moment, poetically speaking, the beginning of history.
There’s no good answer to being a woman. The answer may instead lie in how we refuse the question…. We are told that there is one storyline about what makes a good life, even though not a few who follow that storyline have bad lives. We speak as though there is one good plot, with one happy outcome, while the myriad forms a life can take flower and wither all around us.