Is the Wage Gap Even Real?

Women argue with me every time I suggest that the pervasive statistics on the wage gap are wrong. They cite personal examples and refuse to grant credence to my ideas. But now, thanks to this 5 minute video, I know for a fact that the traditional idea of women making 77 cents to every dollar a man makes is wrong – when other factors are considered, that gap is reduced from 23 cents to about 6 cents.

But that 23 cents didn’t come out of thin air – it’s calculated by dividing the median wages of all women working full time by the median wages of all men working full time. As the video I linked above shows, this doesn’t take into account other important factors, chief among them the often underrated and entirely unpaid choice to birth children. But the primary culprit is job choice. More women are teachers. More men are aerospace engineers. More women are social workers, and more men are investment bankers.

Women tend to choose paths of connection and health, while men chase money and power. And which of these does our society value more?

You don’t need to be a statistician to know that we live in a society valuing competition over connection, infrastructure over mental health, technology over education, and money over connection.

So it’s no surprise that most of the jobs that require intense masculine yang energy are higher paying than those that require soft feminine yin energy.

So, ladies and gents, when you bring up the wage gap, please change your language. Yes, patriarchy is a real thing, but it’s not perpetuated by companies choosing to pay men more than they pay women. It’s far more systemic than that, and reducing it to physical gender misses the point entirely. It’s a preference for masculine energy over feminine, a valuing of intensity over ease, power over empathy.

Let’s keep using that 77 cents on the dollar statistic. But take sex out of the equation and start talking about masculine and feminine. About the fact that our society pays engineers and lawyers and investment bankers hundreds of thousands more than teachers and social workers and counselors. And maybe we’ll start making progress.

Peace, Love, and Namaste –

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In Celebration of Women

Aren’t we lucky, getting a whole day to celebrate our sex? Personally, I take it further – it’s become a lifestyle. I grew up resisting it, seeing femininity as a weakness, an excuse to be emotionally unstable and manipulative, a made-up façade under which brains were supposed to atrophy, a body and soul with no purpose past the functional roles of briefly being sexy and then bearing and raising children.

I grew up wearing my older brother’s hand-me-down basketball shorts and t-shirts, running around outside, reading books, and acing timed math tests –

boyish little girl

One Halloween I was a twerk queen…

#TBT halloween twerking little girl

…and the next I was a football player –

little girl halloween football player

While I’ve always loved style and dance, my preferences for intellectual conversations and theological debates followed me throughout adolescence, leading to taunts of lesbianism (at a time when I was fully in denial of existing as a sexual being – straight or otherwise) and honest thoughts of changing my gender. Because men have it easier. They get to be smart and funny and ugly and still respected, considered successful. But women – women only have to be beautiful, women can only be doted on and adored. I decided I was too short to become male and that, for me, it wasn’t worth the process of switching over, and now – well, now I am a woman. And now I absolutely respect and adore that.

let's be feminists beautiful blog woman

But this did not happen overnight. Before I could ever celebrate my femininity, I had to understand it. So I studied, spent years exploring and trying on different forms, trying to understand what this was. And I learned that Western culture has a very limited understanding of it.

Today is International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate those who identify as women. Feminism is more than this – it is a celebration of the feminine. Man or woman or gender neutral, every single one of us has feminine energies and qualities. Maybe you don’t like that we use this word, indicative of our society’s binary idea of gender, to describe intuition, sensitivity, beauty, and other lighter energies, but let’s take one step at a time. For now, this is how people understand it, and it makes the most sense to use it.

Feminism got lost when women tried to be men, just like patriarchy became toxic when men denied their feminine qualities. We need balance – all of us. Men focused on brute force and power, and more recently, women have embraced our masculine energies, focusing on gaining access to the boys’ club that was politics and business and science and philosophy and – practically everything. Now men stay at home to raise children and women, too, are finding our way to this balance. We’ve gained access – women are CEOs, we are philosophers, we are engineers, we are mathematicians. We wear pants suits and we cut off all our hair and we are powerful. But let’s not forget our sensitivity, our beauty.

Let’s relish in our ability to wear dresses and lipstick, let’s lean in to our femininity in order to actualize ourselves – societally and personally. And – what  I love most about this – is that it’s inclusive. Everyone has a feminine side, everyone can embrace emotion because we all have it. Everyone can be beautiful, and sensitive, and sweet – these are not weak. It takes strength to feel. It takes courage to be sensitive and kind and caring, bravery to be beautiful and fragile. Men, women, everyone – we are fragile, we are lovely, we are gracious – we are feminine. This is feminism. This is what I celebrate. So today, on this day for women, and on every subsequent day, let’s celebrate the women in our lives and the feminine energies within us. Let’s all be feminists.

feminism is for everyone #internationalwomensday

Love, calm, & care –

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Winter Mini Skirts and Sex Appeal

Ah winter, a time when the legs must always be covered and skirts seem inaccessible. But are they really? My tweed mini skirt is designated solely as a winter skirt – I don’t wear it unless there’s snow on the ground. Why? It’s too short to wear without tights, the fabric is too heavy for summer, and it’s black and white – my primary winter color combo.

I found this skirt at a thrift store for a couple dollars. It’s originally Forever 21. I like the metallic threads woven through it, and it’s a nice weight – balancing the short length well for cold weather.

close up wool mini skirt

I think we can all agree that sexy becomes difficult in winter. Yes, it’s a way of carrying yourself that flows from an internal well of self-love, but, in clothing, it’s typically considered form-fitting and skin-baring. If this is a part of your style, winter can feel confusing, even stifling. Sometimes all I want is to wear a sleeveless crop top! But alas, my abs freeze with the slightest chill in the air, so I’m left to other means. This skirt, like my leather one, is the perfect combination of cute and sexy. It’s not too much, but it’s fitted, high-waisted, short – just the right dose of winter sex appeal. And, depending on how I style it, I can raise that up or down.

winter wool tweed mini skirt

If I only feel like being comfortable, I throw a roomy flannel over it – it’s more cute than anything since I’m mixing patterns and wearing a massive shirt. And, most importantly, I’m comfortable. And warm.

flannel and winter mini skirt

Medium appeal – a fitted t-shirt, layered with a beanie and, when I get cold, my scarf and cashmere sweater. I would describe this as relaxed sexy, if anything. I’m comfortable, I’m wearing a beanie and sneakers, my body is covered, but I’m wearing a mini skirt and I love it.

winter mini skirt comfortable sexy cool

If you’re not sure about how to stay warm in a skirt or what type of tights to wear, check out this post I wrote a couple months ago. It’s easier than you think.

winter pattern mixing sweater with mini skirt

For a little more, I pair it with a v-neck sweater. Even this is relaxed and adorable because I’m comfortable, I’m warm, and the sweater is kinda long – I like to balance emphases in this way. Since my chest is bare, my waist is a bit obscured. I am teaching children in these outfits, after all.

tweed mini skirt winter sex appeal

So I didn’t get crazy with sex appeal here, but honestly I never do – that’s not my style. And I’m not trying to impress anyone. At least now you know a mini skirt is possible this time of year and, if you’ve got a hot date for Valentine’s day, pop a lacy leotard under your skirt, pair it with some over the knee boots and a bold lip, and you’re set. My date is with myself in a gorgeous Chinese coffee shop, so I will be wearing this because I can –

YOLO hat, comfortable sweatpants, relaxed winter style

I found a couple winter wool mini skirt options online – a J Crew skirt on Tradesy that has some fun color to it and a black and white H&M one on Poshmark. Stay strong, friends, we’ve got a month or two left in winter and then we can toss out the tights! In the meantime, buy yourself some flowers and be your own valentine, because you deserve all the love in the world and it starts flowing when you give it to your self.

Valentine's Day roses self-love

Love, calm, & care –

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Winter Layering with Summer Crop Tops

I’ll let you in on something – I haven’t always adored being female. There are just so many rules! As a kid I ran around in my brother’s hand-me-down basketball shorts all morning and then had afternoon tea in a fake silk ballgown my mother stitched up, but the romantic comedies I watched and the novels I read told me that women needed men in order to be confident, whole people and that, above all else, we’re supposed to be pretty – devoting our lives to finding a mate. This didn’t jive with me even in my adolescence, so I wore ridiculous, ostentatiously feminine outfits – playing dress up everyday with high heels and makeup in an attempt to find clothes in which I actually felt like myself.

And this, my friends, is why I love androgyny – a blending of gender concepts and styles and feelings and traits that allows men to be emotional and women to be intelligent and all of us to wear whatever the hell we please.

Sometimes I feel like dressing like a boy. A boy who has my closet and my tastes and my figure. When the mood strikes, I’ll layer my black summer crop tops over button downs for a comfy boyish sweater vest look. I just love it, and there’s so much variety to be found within it, depending on how far I want to go – necklace or no, silky top or flannel.

close up layering pajama top

I like to balance masculine and feminine elements, so I put the edgy leather leggings with the silky pajama top –

androgynous girl winter layering style

The lumberjack flannel with the beanie, pencil skirt, and bulky boots –

androgynous girl winter style flannel

androgynous flannel girl winter layering style

And the sweet lilac suede with simple black pants, a necklace, and my loafers –

androgynous female winter style

People might do a double take when you step out like this, but so what? What really matters is that your clothes honestly represent who you are. Personally, I find it liberating.

androgynous female purple winter layering style

What are your thoughts on this baby step into androgyny? Not for you? Down to try it?

Love, calm, & care –

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