In the words of Jess from New Girl, “I break for birds. I rock a lot of polka dots. I have touched glitter in the last 24 hours! And that doesn’t mean I’m not smart and tough and strong.”
Sometimes it feels like you have to choose between being feminine and being a feminist. Why can’t I do both?
I’m tired of being considered weak just because I’m feminine. Just because I use makeup doesn’t mean I’m insecure. Just because I put bows in my hair doesn’t mean I’m an airhead. Just because I kiss my cat every morning doesn’t mean I’m a pushover. Just because I wear pink lipstick doesn’t mean I am submissive.
Strength has nothing to do with what you wear, but who you are. In our culture, people tend to see a strong person as someone who’s dominant, mean, and has a lack of emotion, but I don’t find this true at all. Being strong doesn’t mean you have to make others feel weak. Just because I’m kind does not make me powerless. Caring for others and caring for yourself isn’t a sign of fragility.
Just look at some incredible women throughout history and in society today who are both strong and feminine. Let’s start with Cleopatra, who was basically the queen of eyeliner and also the ruler of an entire kingdom. Audrey Hepburn, a Hollywood icon with impeccable fashion taste who wore sparkling necklaces and tiaras. Her father abandoned her family when she was young and despite growing up during a World War, she did everything she could to help. She practiced ballet in her teens to (secretly) raise money for the Dutch resistance to fight the Nazi’s in WWII and gave up her career in film to help others as a goodwill ambassador. Malala Yousafzai, a teenage girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban for pursuing an education and continued to fight for women’s education after this, confessed that her favorite color is pink. Marilyn Monroe, the ultimate style icon, grew up in foster homes where she was sexually abused, and yet she worked through her hardship to follow her film career.
Being girly doesn’t mean you are not strong. Being hard doesn’t make you tough. Taylor Swift is one of the girliest women in Hollywood. She has endured much criticism, especially for her dating life. At one point she was considered a joke because of all the boyfriends she’d had. Yet she was strong, and at the same time, she didn’t allow this hard world to change her, she didn’t let this world make her hard-hearted. Taylor Swift recently reached out to one of her fans on Instagram speaking against the cynics of this world, saying “the only way they win is if your tears turn to stone and make you bitter like them. It’s okay to ask why. It’s okay to wonder how you could try so hard and still get stomped all over. Just don’t let them change you or stop you from singing or dancing around to your favorite song.”
Don’t let the world tell you that being kind is a weakness. Don’t let them tell you that you must give up your femininity in order to be strong. You are strong because of your character, not because of your hobbies. Your thoughts are valid because you are important. Don’t let the world turn you hard. You do you.