For decades, I bowed to the assumption that I was less of a woman because of my faulty reproductive organs. Even after our family was complete, I bought into the stigma that I would abandon my femininity if I had a hysterectomy.
When it comes to the pink craze for girls? Now we have a problem. As currently used in the marketing of everything from clothing to tools, pink is no longer simply a color -- it is the foundation of a constrained concept of femininity.
I am so sick of the scrutinizing of female athletes and whether or not they are feminine, whether they can be both feminine and athletic, and all the rest of that tired, sexist, clueless, despicable BS. Heads-up: Athleticism is not gendered.
I will not blame myself or any other woman for giving into the fear. But I am going to celebrate every Serena, Bree, Malala, Janelle, Joanna and the countless other women who manage to point the way to out of the fear of being feminine while being who we are.
It's dark. Very dark. And I'm in the woods, surrounded by strange men with flashlights on their heads. I'm cold. Hungry. And really scared. A guy with neck tattoos is squinting at me. Please, God, don't let me piss him off.
The belief that both men and women deserve equal rights (and by extension that all people do) is gaining acceptance worldwide. But it still hasn't translated into the way that we relate to other living beings.
The truth is that you can be any kind of woman that you want to be and still be a strong woman. You do not have to sort through stereotypes and decide which one to put on each day. You can love Shrek, foster kittens, read Nicholas Sparks books and be a strong woman.
Today's women have little in common with the figure of the typical housewife who dominated the 80s. Yet, marketers seem to be struggling to adapt their discourse to these changes and translate this evolution into relevant and engaging communication that really speaks to women.
I believe these seemingly harmless social norms serve to send a mixed -- and ultimately harmful -- message to men. When it comes down to it, how can we as women demand equal wages when we also expect to be paid for?
Treat your self with kindness and love, and you will find that same kindness and love surrounding you. You will eventually notice the negative behavior occurring around you and choose to remove yourself from harmful relationships.
We have to examine who's actually setting standards for what is an acceptable version of femininity. The patriarchy reaffirms this ideal of acceptable femininity to better conceptualize, understand, and control the fairer sex.
It's not that I'm interested in being a guy, or taking on a romantic role other than my own, but Travolta is part of my adolescent history. He's really the only male actor I've imitated with any regularity -- and I became Travolta across a range of characters.
I want to be wary of making her embarrassed or ashamed of what she likes, especially if it seems girly. Because misogyny gets internalized. Because fantasy is the one game in which we all have autonomy. Because that unembarrassed power is a thing I want to preserve for my daughter.
Feminism is about enabling women to have what they choose. But women choose to feel like women - to experience the delectable polarity of the female and the male, and that requires a culture that empowers, and celebrates, both.
I am not arguing that we should throw away the very virtues that are found within the feminine and masculine categories. I say we should stop distinguishing between "masculine virtues" and "feminine virtues."