Being A Strong Woman

** "Being a woman" = Embracing the feminine gender. This blog post is geared towards any person who identifies as a woman, or who feels that the feminine gender speaks to them. I realize there are multiple genders aside from female and male, and gender is completely different from biological sex. **

Being a woman is not something I would damn as a bad thing. I don't feel like the lesser gender, or that I lack the upper hand when it comes to life. My gender is something I embrace in very superficial ways (sue me for liking shoes I guess). My closet overflows with fancy dresses, bright colored sandals, and my jewelry collection cascades down my bathroom wall. My femininity projects into my personality as well - I cry like a girl, laugh like a girl, move like a girl, and talk like a girl because I am a girl. That's not an insult, and I don't think embracing my gender is bad. Being a woman is empowering, fun, sexy, and a positive thing. It's about time we, as women, start looking at it that way. 

Somewhere in the mixture of generations we have created this stigma that being a girl is a bad thing. Whether this was created by men or women, I'll never know, but I think it's fueled by our own gender. We slut shame like it's our job and we judge other women as if they are a completely different species. Putting down our gender is second nature to women, and that gives us a caddy and shady impression. What's the point of this? When did someone else's promiscuity, or lack thereof, become something that you felt inclined to discuss? We hate when our personal business becomes the weekly topic for gossip, but continue to do it ourselves. Instead of worrying about what the next woman is wearing or doing or who she is seeing, take that time to focus on how you can bring her, and yourself, up as a woman. We cant expect society to treat us with respect if we can't treat each other with respect. 

Now, if we can get past how we internally treat our gender, lets start figuring out how to be strong on the exterior. I came across a commercial as I was scrolling through Facebook one night that caught me eye. I think it was titled something along the lines of "Don't Say Sorry". The video flashed between scenes of women apologizing for things that absolutely did NOT need an apology. Saying sorry for voicing your opinion isn't necessary, and I think thats worth discussing. I'm not promoting rude behavior and I don't feel like women should throw away polite traits and courtesy, but simply changing the way we word things can make us stronger and more empowered. I have 9 trillion opinions about topics, and I'm not going to apologize for how I see the world or what I do. Being able to walk with pride in my values and opinions is important to me, and too often I feel like I have to apologize for things that a man wouldn't apologize for. 

How did our gender become so scared of opinions and voices? What can we do to feel more empowered and comfortable with our own thoughts? There are so many things we are capable of doing - playing sports, changing the world, running a company, and raising a family - why are we so afraid of doing these things?  

Society pushes women to be prim and proper, always in control, generous and kind, and to respect others along with themselves. When I was young I was taught that self respect was shown through what you wore and how you acted. If I had on a low cut shirt or a tight skirt, I could feel the stinging looks from people disapproving. I was asked “don’t you have respect for your body?”. I didn’t feel the connection between my wardrobe choices and how much respect I have for myself. I struggled for a long time, wondering why I was perceived as having no respect for myself because of what I chose to wear. Now that I am older, and possibly more wiser, I’ve been able to create my own values and definitions of things like self respect. Today, I don’t associate my outer appearance with self respect. Self respect is not measured by the way you dress or sexual activity. Self respect is being happy with who you are and being brave enough to live a completely happy life the way you want. 

Now, maybe this post sounds like I'm some man-hating feminist, but I promise you I don't hate the male population. Some of them are really awesome friends or boyfriends or fathers or brothers. This isn't about pushing feminism or condemning other genders. It's about inspiring young women to stand tall and be a catalyst for change in the world. Women are inspiring individuals, and I want to see my sisters being the best they can be. 

8 Ways to be a strong woman:
  1. Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes,
  2. Educate yourself everyday - never get tired of learning new things. 
  3. Find your own personal style, that makes you feel beautiful. 
  4. Surround yourself with other women and men who support your hopes and dreams.
  5. Recognize how strong you are, and let it be known. 
  6. Be an advocate for your fellow sisters - aka play nice!
  7. Work on being happy with yourself instead of fitting in with society. 
  8. If something isn't making you happy, get rid of it.