Gender roles are dumb as fuck.
How about that for an eloquent introduction?
Gender roles are weaved into everything that we do, how we dress and feel the need to dress, how we act and feel pressured to act, what we like and what we feel we should like, from the day that a human being is born into this world, it is either given a pink blanket, or a blue blanket-
and that is the start of it all.
Before that, even, we hold gender reveal parties and celebrations, where we release pink or blue balloons from a box, cut into a pink or blue cake, without knowing who that human being will grow up to be, what gender it will identify as, and what it will be like as an individual, we label it accordingly, and place it in a one-size-fits-all, pre-packaged box, that provides an implication as to how that person should act and be in society, based on the genitalia between their legs.
I no longer fit the standards of what a woman should be, according to the gender roles that we follow and force onto others- and I have faced the repercussions of this, for being who I am, and doing what I want. Some people tolerate it but don’t condone it, and thank the heavens that their daughter is normal and dresses like, well, more feminine. But, here is the thing: I am feminine.
What does it mean to be feminine? I am a woman. I am proud to be a woman, I love being a woman. But, other people see me as less of a woman because I don’t conform to the gender roles and standards with which we associate womanhood. But, what is womanhood? What is femininity?
I am a woman, and I am no less of a woman than I was when I looked like this:
I am not a masculine woman, because for that I pose the same question: what does it mean to be masculine? Do we consider anyone who wears a collared shirt underneath a sweater to be masculine? Does masculinity go further than how one chooses to dress themselves? People associate with being masculine, it is the embodiment of their own definition, and that varies from person to person, man to man, masculine woman to masculine woman. There might be plenty of masculine women out there, and there is nothing wrong with or strange about that, but I am not one of them.
I am a woman who identifies with being feminine, I associate with femininity, and I think that it is a beautiful thing that I have always connected to. I embrace femininity, because to me, wearing dresses and painting nails isn’t what femininity is about.
According to the dictionary, femininity is the quality of being female; womanliness.
What does being a female mean? Being a female means being strong, it means being a fighter, being able to handle the tough situations in life and come out stronger. It means being brave and standing up for what we believe in, fighting for what we think is right and fighting for our rights, striving to make the world a better place and leave it in better condition than we found it. Being a woman comes with a plethora of disadvantages, and some people and often times the world might see us as incapable, or unable to do something, but being a woman is proving to others and ourselves that we can. Regardless of who believes that we can not, we know that we are able and capable of doing anything that we set our mind to, that life is what we make it, and there is an abundance of opportunities for those who seek them out. Being a woman is being responsible for ourselves, and not depending on anyone else. It is independence in all forms, figuring out what it is we want from this life and working our asses off to get it. Being a woman means shooting for the moon, and never settling for the stars. Being a woman is being fucking extraordinary, but more than anything else, being a woman is knowing that each of us is able to define what femininity is to us, and that we do not have to follow the ideals, beliefs, and standards set by someone else.
Gender roles are a social construct, it is not how someone dresses that makes them feminine or masculine, and a woman who dares to go against gender roles is no less of a woman and no less feminine than a woman who follows them. Women are entitled to their own definitions of what it means to be feminine, at the end of the day being feminine is more of a feeling inside, something warm and glowing within, and that feeling and the embodiment of that definition is different for everybody. But, being feminine for me, personally, is about the emotional intelligence that I have developed. It is about being a strong and independent and loving woman like my mother always has been, being a good person. It is about kneeling when I can no longer stand in life, being strong even when I have no strength left. That is what femininity is, being an amazing and strong and persevering woman, doing amazing things and living a full life on our own accord- and I will not be told otherwise. Some women feel empowered through wearing heels and makeup, and others feel empowered through athletics and wearing yoga pants, but the root of those do not lie within what these women are wearing, but how they feel when they are wearing them.
Femininity, to me, is about being a true and authentic version of myself, which always has been and always will be a powerful, kick-ass woman who can do anything, and will do great things in this lifetime- no matter what I’m wearing while doing them.