I rescheduled today's post in light of a recent read that had me so fired up and ready to kick some booty. *Ahem* Today I read a post written by Elizabeth over at Delightfully Tacky. I've always loved Elizabeth's demeanor an her hoorah attitude. She's a fearless and fun female with a tomboy side that is fascinating. She's equally adorable and quirky and I had the pleasure of meeting her last year as she drove across the country in her '73 Winnebago Brave. Today she published a piece titled The Infinite Variety of Individuals and man, it was a refreshing read (and full of adorable pictures of Elizabeth, too!). I've thought about things relating to this issue a lot the past couple of years. After my time at BUST and just being inspired by incredible women, I've also come to the harsh reality that all feminists aren't created equal. What I mean by that is that today men are not women's biggest enemy in the world place or at home... while we are still competing for equal salaries and benefits, women have a bigger monster to stand up to each and every day... each other. I've posted pieces about girl power before and how we should all be "girl's girls" and help build each other up instead of tearing one another down, but this was such a wonderful example of that in real life. Please know that up front, this is not in any way a rant. I know from experience it's hard to detect tone and inflection in a written piece, but I give respect where respect is due in every facet of this debate.
I guess I should start at the beginning. Julie Klausner originally wrote a post about the backward nature of grown women liking things that linked them to their youth. Cupcakes, the color pink, rainbows, unicorns, laughing a lot, etc. She claims that women like these things in order to seem more innocent and youth-like to men. She says that we choose to publicize those things so that we can seem less intimidating and more approachable and datable. Excuse me?! Did you really just go there?! If we're talking about anyone setting us back in the feminist movement then surely that must make the cut! What happened to people just liking things because they like them? If you were to ask me (and I know you didn't, but I'm sharing anyway!), cupcakes, rainbows and laughing are pretty magical things! They're awesome. Let's not try to deny. So why do we have to "be hard" just to be "modern women" in the eyes of Klausner? Isn't that just as bad? Be who you are, be unabashed and unashamed! Yeah, I graduated college. I have a degree, a car payment, and a Costco membership... I'm an adult woman, right? So as an adult woman who has accomplished things in her life, why can't I like cupcakes without feeling chastised by the rest of today's "modern women?"
I've always considered myself a feminist. I believe in equality all around and not bowing down to anyone's expectations or desires. I believe in being myself whole-heartedly and not being ashamed of my accomplishments, or my failures. Yet one thing has always irked me about the present-day feminist movement. It seems that so many "feminists" (and I use quotations for emphasis) are so hell-bent in pointing out every other woman being a bad feminist. See, I'm even doing it myself. It's such a twisted and backward world we're living in. I can agree with Elizabeth when she says that she notes the valid points in Klausner's argument, that we should never dumb ourselves down in pursuit of a man. Of course we shouldn't. But we also shouldn't pretend to not like the things we truly do enjoy for the same reason!
If you like cupcakes and rainbows, like them! Don't apologize! If you like boot cut jeans and trucker hats, like them! Don't apologize! If you've made the personal decision to be a stay at home mom or stripper, do it! Don't apologize! So many women say that "you can't be a stripper and be a feminist" or "SAHMs are bad feminists!" That's such bullcrap! If you have made that decision, then you're doing everything right. Maybe you're taking the reigns on your sexuality, or maybe you just like the money, but don't feel like you're any less of a woman because you're an exotic dancer. Maybe you're a stay at home mom raising two kids while Dad is out working 9 to 5. If you've made the decision to be a SAHM, own it! As long as no one is forcing you into that role then you're just as strong as the rest of us.
So many women today just take things at face value. They don't look at the underlying reasoning. Or maybe they do, in the case of Klausner, and they just get it all wrong. Sure, there are some women out there who dumb their likings down to simple pleasures like "cuddling" and "kissing in the rain," but that doesn't mean the rest of us deserve to be lumped into that category, too. We shouldn't be written off just because we sincerely enjoy those activities.
Elizabeth was quick to make such a good point in her post. She said "I want girls to feel like they can be contradictory." Exactly! Bravo Elizabeth! It's totally okay to be a huge melting post of interests and activities! I wear a dress every single day. Every day. Not because I need a man to visualize me as a helpless child in need of a knight in shining armor. No. I wear them because I like them! They make me feel awesome. In a way, they make me feel even more badass than wearing jeans because I have this juxtaposition with my tattoos and to me, it creates a beautiful composition. Klausner also mentions these women "getting tattoos they will never grow into" and she links an image of a rabbit tattooed behind a woman's ear. What?! So we're allowed to draw conclusions on the importance of someone else's tattoo simply because in real life's form it's a fluffy and sweet creature?! I feel that while the original article set out to make a valid point, it missed it's mark and instead made a completely different one entirely. Rather than convince us all to drop our "cutesy" likings, it's made us more and more aware of the judgmental side within our own gender. Klausner's post also failed to deliver an unbiased look at the current trend and instead it really only pointed out one thing, it annoyed her. While you can write about things that annoy you (much like I'm doing myself), you also must give all due respect and I personally think she missed the mark.
With that being said, I hope you all like what you like, when you like, and for reasons that are your own... not because some journalist said it's taboo or because some guy might notice you. Wear frilly dresses and get tattooed. Dress head to toe in pink and rebuild that engine in that sweet '67 Mustang. Be a total tomboy and secretly watch Clueless when you're home alone. Don't let anyone make you feel inferior because you don't live by their standards. Wear your XX chromosomes proudly! I'd forego a Wine and Cheese night with stuffy people in a heartbeat for a throwback slumber party, popcorn and our favorite 90's RomComs. In fact, who's up for it?!