By Tamkeen Mir
When I was in my early teens, I remember being a complete tomboy. I loved football, hated makeup, basically hated anything ‘girly’. To me, the definition of being cool was being ‘one of the guys’ because I thought it made me come across as tough and badass. Black was my favourite colour, and pink my least favourite.
But as I grew up, I realized I had an inclination towards long floral dresses, something I associated with being ‘girly’, and initially, I hated myself for it. I even forced myself to wear jeans to purposely distance myself from dresses. But along with dresses also came the urge to abandon my typical demeanor of being ‘tough’ for a softer demeanor, and this change confused me. This was because I saw women around me vigorously working to reach the superior level given to men in society, and I saw these women abandon femininity in their journey of doing so. Femininity, apparently, was detrimental to a woman’s success.
But who defined what success was? Who said that success was earning six figures at a job if all you really wanted to do was stay at home to raise children? I didn’t realize it at the time, but we were being pushed into a box of what the ‘modern’ woman is like, and this box was being created for us under the false illusion of ‘freedom of choice’ and modern day feminism.
And then, I came across the terms femininity and masculinity, and from there the whole story changed. Masculinity and femininity are energies, and both these energies exist at different levels within everyone. But it feels like we associate masculinity with strength and desirability, perhaps because masculinity was traditionally dominant in men, and the male gender was dominant in society, and to reach that ‘strength’, we all should focus on our masculinity.
We have made ‘man’ the standard that all women have to reach.
A ‘boss ass’ woman is revered and praised but a ‘soft’ woman is critiqued and put down.
But is that equality? Should we even want equality, or is equity the better goal?
Wouldn’t true equity be if we celebrated housewives just as much as working women and we celebrated pink just as much as black? If we celebrated women with a dominant feminine energy just as much as women with a dominant masculine energy?
After concluding that, I let myself replace all my jeans with colourful feminine dresses and fell in love with baby pink. I started enhancing my nurturing capacity and spent hours on developing my inclination towards traditional femininity.
Because feminism, I realized, is not about gaining equal rights by becoming men, but rather about letting women truly be whoever they want to be by presenting them with equal opportunities. True equality is giving everybody the freedom of choice and respecting everybody’s choice, no matter what it is. Women can be feminists and be housewives, they can be feminists and love long flowy dresses, and they can be feminists and want to nurture a family.
The modern day woman is whoever she truly wants to be.
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