Today I come to you with more questions than answers. Today I’m considering another one of my core desired feelings: feminine.
I spent a lot of time in college trying to grow comfortable in my own skin as a woman. I was challenged to let go of the conditioning that I’d already undergone in my formative years. I grew up with a mother that had pulled my hair into tight buns and told me that it hurt to be beautiful. That message compounded with images of 90’s era Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera with their crop tops and toned tummies. For as long as I could remember, I hated my body because it didn’t look anything like what I saw on TV or in magazines. I was short and chubby instead of long and lean. I though this made me less of a woman.
And then I discovered feminism and I started challenging the notions of beauty. Despite my academic curiosity, I didn’t magically undo years of conditioning. I still feel uncomfortable in my own body sometimes. I struggle to celebrate and fully embrace my own femininity.
But feminism has changed my perspective on my life. I love reading books that tackle women’s major issues as we struggle to carve out identities that allow us to live with dignity and agency in a world that still perpetuates patriarchy. I recently read Bad Feminist, and although I don’t necessarily agree with everything that Roxane Gay espouses in her collection of essays, I did feel my passion for feminism reignite. I have been a bad feminist in many ways. But I do understand that the need for feminists in today’s world persists.
And so today I pose the following questions to my female readers: how do you create opportunities for yourself to feel feminine? What books capture elements of your experience as a woman? Are you a feminist? Why or why not? Do you see elements of patriarchy in your every day lives? How do you response to instances of sexism major or minor? Any responses will be helpful in guiding me toward creating more concrete methods of embracing my own femininity.