Dear Pope Francis,
Femininity. Femininity. Femininity! No matter how I say it, there’s something about that word, and everything it implies, that I resist. When I hear it, I think of frilly dresses and dolls and tea parties. All very childish images. What I’m looking for is a grown up femininity, one that can stand on two feet and keep up with the boys, with a strong moral code and sense of self. I want to be feminine by embracing my self-confidence and reflecting that in all facets of my life, from the clothes I wear, to how I spend my time, to the words I use.
I think my challenge with the word ‘feminine’ is that I associate it with being weak. I have been very blessed to know some very strong women, some of whom have become good friends, and all of whom are role models for me. I wouldn’t describe any of them as distinctly ‘feminine’. These women are beautiful inside and out, strong and self-confident; not at all the childish image I have of femininity.
Just to clarify, I’m not trying to discredit femininity. I think it’s important that women celebrate who they are as women. I do feel pretty when I put on a dress, I enjoy a good chick flick every now and then, and girl talk is one of my favourite stress relieving activities. But these things don’t exclusively equal femininity for me.
What I’m looking for is some sort of middle ground between my childish associations with femininity on one hand, and the independent woman I am, and strong, confident women I have as role models, on the other. I don’t know if such a middle ground exists outside of my search for a grown up femininity, but I can see it in the women around me. I see it in Meredith when she wears skirts, not because that’s what women should wear, but because that’s what she’s most comfortable in. I saw it in my Oma (grandmother), who immigrated to Canada without knowing a word of English, and built a life here. Last but not least, I see it in my mom, who can make me laugh, let me cry and give me a reality check, all in the same conversation.
This middle ground is a place where femininity is more than being sweet and ‘womanly’ (whatever that means), and is about letting each woman celebrate being a woman, whether that’s wearing skirts or jeans, focusing on a career or being a stay-at-home mom, or playing hockey or knitting. For me personally, this is embracing some very important things about myself: the fact that I am independent, and will almost always try to do things on my own first; the fact that I enjoy being outside and having the tan lines to prove it; and the fact that deep down, I like getting dressed up and feeling pretty inside and out.
Feeling more comfortable with my femininity,