Feminism, Shaving, and Other Things

As I grow up, I’ve learned to question the things I was socialized to believe about my identities (as any good liberal arts college student should!). That being said, viewing how I was socialized into my role as a female has lead me to question a lot of the behavior I partake in – such as shaving, dating, wearing a bra, painting my nails, etc.. I’ve read numerous articles telling girls to stop doing these gendered female activities because of the always-present-male-gaze that we are socialized, as girls, to abide to.

I think that it’s important to enable girls to be able to dress and act however they like. That’s why I’ve been frustrated, lately, by a lot of the rhetoric I am confronted with on campus. It becomes a sort of competition – who’s the most feminist? Who is brave enough to go braless and who steps away from the bounds of femininity the most? I’m not a fan of that kind of rhetoric – rhetoric that puts down stereotypically “feminine” things and urges females to act more masculine. FEMALES SHOULD NOT BE PRESSURED TO ACT ANY WAY, AT ALL. ACT HOWEVER YOU DAMN WANT, LADIES. As long as you are doing it for yourself, and not anyone else, then ladies – do whatever the hell you want.

I paint my nails and I wear a bra and I shave my legs. These are things that I have always done, and I will admit, they began because of how I was socialized. I was told I had to shave my legs once I turned eleven, I painted my nails so I could be like the other girls, and I wore my hair the way I thought the boys would like. I hate that I thought that way, and I hate that other little girls are going to think that way too.

Now, when I shave my legs, it’s different. I don’t do it for my boyfriend (I would never date anyone who told me that I had to look a certain way for them, anyway. I’m not one to take misogynistic shit lightly), I don’t do it because my friends do, and I don’t do it because people tell me to. To be honest, I go weeks in the summertime without shaving and look like a beautiful hairy goddess. I hate shaving behind my knees so I don’t (it’s very soft back there!), but the little prickles – damn, they bug me. I don’t care if they bug anyone else, but they bug me, so I shave them because I like it when my legs are smooth.

I paint my nails pink and wear pink because I like pink. At first, I was socialized to be PINK – pink means you’re a girl. Now, I’m taking the color back. I’m owning it. I’m not letting anyone tell me that it’s the only color I can wear. I wear it because I choose to.

I have a boyfriend because I am in love. Not because I’m supposed to be dating boys, but because I fell in love when I was sixteen and wasn’t expecting it. He has turned out to become my biggest supporter.

I wear a bra because it hurts not to. I’ve stopped buying push-up ones like I used to, because I wore push-up ones for other people and not for myself. Now, I wear normal, comfy bras for myself.

I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated because my whole life, growing up, I was forced into femininity. Pink, flowers, dance, cheer. Those were things I liked. I wonder if I would have liked them if I hadn’t been socialized that way. Either way, these are things I still, for the most part, like.

Yet, I’m even more frustrated, because when I came to college and finally began to understand and embrace what it meant to be female, criticism poured into my ears. As if there’s a correct way to go about being a woman, and that being female and loving my femininity wasn’t enough to smash the patriarchy.

I drink my tea from a mug that says “MALE TEARS” and I always sit with my legs crossed (not exactly “lady-like”). I’m not afraid to stand up for myself. I also like pink and flowers and shaving my legs. Sue me. Smashing the patriarchy isn’t about leaving behind femininity – it’s about allowing girls to choose who they want to be, and boys too, for that matter. It’s about allowing people to embrace femininity or reject it, if they want. It’s about taking the negative connotation away from femininity. It’s about giving girls the power to choose what they want to do, and empowering other women to choose what they want. It is not about criticizing other girls’ choices.

And mostly, it’s about empowering women and girls, together, to be able to finally feel safe in this world that is so controlled by men.

 

Read another one of my articles on femininity here635929150785520908571202620_feminism_small-003

My Honest Review of Cursed Child

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!tumblr_nwnzkgfafg1uzswlz_og_1280!!!

This past weekend, I spent July 30th in a Barnes and Noble, awaiting the midnight release of the newest edition to the Harry Potter series. When I got home, I read until I fell asleep, and promptly finished in the morning. And let me tell you, it was one weird play.

Despite the weirdness, I completely loved it. I will try to keep this to minimal spoilers. I know there were a lot of problematic aspects of it, but there were also some amazing aspects as well. I have always been very much a fan of the books, and usually refuse to believe any kind of AU proposal to the words of Queen Rowling. Thus, even though some of the events in Cursed Child were strange, I take them as the truth.

First, I do want to address the queer-baiting. I’ve seen a lot of angry posts on Tumblr, which I completely validate and hear. However, I think it’s problematic that people are automatically assuming Scorpius is straight because he asked out Rose. First of all, BISEXUALITY EXISTS!!!!!!!! It’s quite obvious to me that there are feelings stronger than friendship between Albus and Scorpius, but that doesn’t mean that Scorpius can’t have feelings for Rose as well. Plus, they are fourteen year old boys, who are still figuring out their sexuality in a world that is, unfortunately, still very heteronormative. It’s still very bothersome that the writers did not put any openly LGBTQ characters in the play, and I am very angry about that. However, I don’t like the discussion that assumes Scorpius’s (and Albus’s, as well) sexuality is a dichotomy between straight and gay. Yet another instance of ignoring bisexuality as an option…

Second of all, despite a lot of angry Harry lovers, I think Harry was VERY true to his character. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Harry and all his flaws, but If there’s anything I’ve learned from growing up, it’s that you usually parent like your parents, and if you don’t have anything good to go off of, you have to try very hard to be good. HARRY HAD NO POSITIVE FATHER FIGURES. Sirius was reckless and treated Harry more like a friend than a son, Vernon was…well, Vernon, Dumbledore had some serious trust issues concerning Harry…the list goes on. It makes complete sense to me that Harry would have some trouble being a parent.

NOW, for the positives:

  • Ron and Hermione are still my favorite couple ever. EVER.
  • Dumbledore showing up at the beginning of the play and then not again until the end was incredibly accurate to his character. I lol’d.
  • Scorpius is like, my new favorite. He’s adorable.
  • Snape!!!!!!
  • Lesson learned: Don’t mess with time. Just don’t.
  • When I read the seventh book in the fifth grade, I decided I would name my daughter Rose because I thought I was Hermione (and still do tbh). Literally all my favorite things have a character named Rose in them, and the name becomes more important to me as I grow up. And I just have to say – my future child’s namesake is BADASS. She wasn’t in the play enough for my liking, but I loved her all the same.
  • Albus and Scorpius ❤
  • All in all, it has a lot of lessons about fatherhood, motherhood, and leadership, all important things in my opinion.
  • It shines some positive light on Slytherin, which I appreciated. I’m still a die-hard Gryffindor myself, though.
  • Things happen for a reason. I think that this play demonstrated that in many ways, which is a lesson I’m working on understanding in my own life.

Overall, I thought it was a lot of fun. Yes, there were problematic aspects, as to be expected, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it. It was fun, it was different, and it was very much a play. I hope that I can see it performed one day!

 

 

Top Tips for Readers

As an avid (and quite frankly, obsessive) reader myself, I’ve spent a lot of this summer with my nose in a book. I go through books like food and often don’t know what to do when I don’t have a book I’m reading! I’ve been trying to find new ways to indulge myself and immerse myself even more into the books I read, so here are a few tips for book readers who want the books to leave an impact.

  1. Before starting a new book, sleep on the one you just finished. Oftentimes, I finish a book in a day and then I want to keep reading and pick up a new book. I usually stop myself from doing that, because sometimes it’s best to just let the book marinate – sleep on it, think about it, give yourself at least a night before starting a new one.
  2. Write what you learn. In my journal, I like the create lists (Can you tell I’m a list person?) of lessons I learn from each book I read. Now, not every book inspires me enough to create a journal entry like this, but I think it’s important to think about and reflect on what you learn from each book you read. Then, you can always look back when you’re looking to re-read a book, or when you’re looking to recommend a book to a friend!
  3. READ OUTSIDE. I am so much happier when I read outside, especially in the summer!
  4. Paper books, paper books, paper books. I refuse to use a Kindle (although it would be much more convenient for travel…) because I still can’t get over the magic of turning the page and holding a REAL BOOK in my hands.
  5. When you feel yourself going into a reading dry spell (we all get this…when you just can’t get yourself to finish, let alone start, a new book) pick up an old one that you love. Re-read your favorite book to get you back into the swing of reading.

What are your reading tips? Let me know in the comments!