As gender roles are changing in today’s world, I think we are in the process of redefining what it means to be a woman. Women are more financially independent than ever before. We’re free to develop our interests and contribute in ways we feel are meaningful for us. And it’s even socially acceptable to speak out against harassment. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this movement of female empowerment. And yet in some ways, I think it’s easy to discredit some of the finer virtues of our sex.
I’ve always been very in touch with my feminine side. I own more heels than flats, I can talk about my feelings for hours, and I wear dresses 80 out of 93 days of summer. That is to say that I genuinely love being a woman. But in my early teens, I had my own rebellion against the system. At 15, I declared that I would never wear the color pink; my choice to move to New York for career felt like a bold move against my small town upbringing surrounded by teenager-turned-housewives; and I Tina Fey’ed my way to financial reporting (an arena largely populated by men). I took pride in that. And if I’m being honest with myself, I would say that I was subconsciously acting upon a deep-seated belief that independence and strength are at odds with effeminacy.
But femininity has come to mean many different things to me these past few years. It means that I can be independent, tenacious, and opinionated—while also being elegant, ladylike, and compassionate. A true woman may like to throw a football or race motorbikes, but she never loses her femininity. Everything about her—her poise, her knowing glances, her insinuating silence, her refined manners, her laugh—all shows that she’s comfortable in her own skin. She is competent and capable, but happy to admit that she needs a man in her life. She lights up the room with her warmth. She’s kind and giving, and makes people feel good in her company. She is a person of strong character and integrity. She always sticks to her principles, even in the face of adversity, and holds people in her life to a high standard. She is strong and kicks ass out in the world—and is unapologetically woman.
So ladies. It’s time to reclaim femininity in the ways that we want it to be defined, to celebrate the fact that we are closer and closer to calling it our own. Because the world needs more women who can say yes to that red gown event, as well as that executive board meeting. The world needs more women who are bold and daring, as well as kind and gentle. And above all, let us honor that in one another because the greatest asset we have is each other.
What I’m wearing: Express Crew Neck Blouse, H&M necklace, Zara Leather Jacket, similar Massimo Dutti wool coat
Photography by Sarah Wight.