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 –
One Halloween I was a twerk queen…
…and the next I was a 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.
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.
Love, calm, & care –