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Halls of the Dark Muse

Be Strong! Be Woman!

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I was looking up music videos on YouTube when this ad played before one of the songs, and normally I just skip the ads, but as I was waiting for the skip ad countdown, I actually got intrigued by the ad and continued to watching it. It was quite interesting and sends a powerful message I think.

It started out by asking young women (in their 20s) a guy, and a boy about maybe 12 or so to do things like a girl. Throw like a girl, run like a girl, fight like a girl etc.. and they would all do these stereotypical, mocking like gestures, you know the kind that are often associated with the comment you do such and such like a girl" implying you cannot really do it at all.

Than they asked girls from the ages of around 6 to 10 the same questions, and when they where asked to do these things, they did them just like normal people. When asked to run like a girl they ran as if trying to win a race, when asked to fight like a girl they threw out boxing punches.

I was always a tom boy (still am in many ways) as a kid I played with the nighboorhood boys, and wrestled with them, climbed trees, did crazy stuff on my bike, liked to try and seek out new adventures, I was the girl who was "one of the guys" I always got along better with guys than girls, never really felt like I had much in common with most girls.

Then when I was in high school I went through this phase where I really rebelled against my femininity and anything that was associated with being a girl. Even before that in Middle School there where these electives that where requirements, I forget what all the choices where, but one of them was Home Ec which taught things like sewing, and cooking which are all useful skills but they where also the sorts of things associated with the domestic sphere and stereotypically seen as women's tasks, and so just to prove a point I chose wood shop instead. And of course there is nothing wrong with a girl taking that class, there where other girls in it, but the problem is I wasn't doing it for the right reasons, so it was not an enjoyable experience for me. Also the teacher wasn't a good teacher, which is a whole other story.

So anyway in high school I did have this mentality that in order to be strong and tough it meant having to be masculine, so I never would wear dresses or skirts, I would dress in guy clothes, (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, I still think they make cooler t-shirts for guys, than for women, and I prefer guys sneakers to women sneakers) but I wanted to reject everything that was feminine because I did associate femininity with weakness.

Then as I got older I balanced out more and I leaned to embrace my femininity, while still having a very masculine side. I leaned that you can be a woman, and be proud of that, and embrace your womanhood, dress like a woman, look like a woman, and still be strong, still be bad ***.

While it is true that men are biologically stronger than women, women can still be fighters. There is this TV show American Ninja Warrior, it is this really hardcore obstacle course with these obstacles that seem like they should be impossible, and a lot of them really emphasize upper body strength. There was this woman who was the first woman ever to actually make it through the qualifying rounds into the semi-finals. And in the semi-finals she completed the course where lots of guys before her, who where in great shape and top athletes failed.

There is still a part of me that does rebel against certain things which are stereotypically associated with women. I refuse to wear the color pink, and cannot stand it. I love earthy colors like blue and green (though I admit I do love purple). I never wear make-up, and though I do love my long hair most the time I just put it up in a braid, simple, easy, practical, doesn't get in the way when I want to do things. I cannot stand long nails, I am a chronic nail bitter, but I did go through a phase where I was trying to grow them out, and break my habit, but as soon as they started to get long they drove me crazy, and would just get in the way, or always break anyway, so I went back to nail biting. As part of a Halloween costume one time I wore these press on nails and it didn't take long before I ripped them all off.

But I have learned not to resent my womanhood and I learned the feeling of empowerment I get from both owning my femininity while still being strong. I have also learned not to allow anyone else to define for me what it means to be a woman.
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