How do you define a feminist woman? We sum it up in our definition of a Polinista:
I am technically a feminist. I get down with the historical academic frameworks as well as the crunk feminists, so I can appreciate a good feminist critique. But all this Beyoncé-bashing and “bottom-bitch feminism” flatulence that’s followed the brilliant release of her new album is really starting to piss me off. The debate over how to define feminism is one thing, but all the commentary vomiting forth in the blogosphere, nixing Yonce from the feminist club, and judging who exactly gets to be a member, reeks of bourgeois academic elitism. It’s disappointing, but not shocking, that so many self-professed sistah girls out there are exerting so much energy to cut a sistah down rather than lift her up.
In full disclosure I am a mega Beyoncé fan (all you Politini fans know this;-). I think she walks on frickin water, so you know where I stand on that (and no I’m not a Stan). But this isn’t about Beyoncé really. Nothing about this debate is actually about her. It’s about a much bigger problem with feminism in general–both traditional/white/middle-class feminism and much of the anti-establishment neuvo-feminism that has risen up in protest.
Feminism is fucked. This brand at least, because it continues to promote an exclusionary, narrow-minded, ideology that stifles the ability of women to authentically connect with their full selves. Feminism is so much more than radical politics and slut shaming.
So let me set the record straight on what it really means to be a feminist:
Feminists Pop Their Collars and Brush Their Shoulders Off
Simply put, being a feminist means you believe in the equality of the sexes, and that power should not be implied based on gender, but accessible without regard to it. But it’s more than that. A feminist woman, believes in her own equality, and not just equality as it relates to quantifiable social and economic parity with men. A feminist believes that SHE can literally do and be anything, and she sets her intention on doing just that. At its core, feminism is about promoting and preserving the self-efficacy of women. Self-esteem, limitless dreams, hope, a clear vision of self, and confidence are all critical personal traits successful people have. We need to cultivate these traits more in women—and stop hating women who exude them—because believing (in yourself) is the first step towards achieving.
Feminists Don’t Fear Vulnerability, They Embrace It
If you haven’t watched Brene Brown’s Ted Talk on the power of vulnerability then do so immediately. Yes stop reading this and go watch it, and then come back and absorb this. Everything worth experiencing in life seeps through in those moments when you let yourself go a little bit, and open yourself up without assurance or insurance. Being a feminist doesn’t mean you hide your femininity, hate men, hate sex, don’t rely on a partner, or can and/or want to do everything that a man can/does. Feminism is not about what you reject, but what you embrace–the fullness of YOU, and the totality of your womanness. Really loving all of yourself is a radically vulnerable act. Feminists are not afraid of to be vulnerable, in fact, they are secure enough to bask in the immeasurable love, joy and fulfillment that vulnerability makes way for in their lives. They don’t lose their own identities because they do so, they enrich them.
Feminists are Beautiful AND Brilliant
The two are NOT mutually exclusive. Taking pride in one’s appearance doesn’t weaken your message, Ladies. Ignoring it does. The idea that a woman who cares about how she presents in the world is shallow and frivolous, is utter bullshit. Quite the contrary. Style is a tool that helps you access your power. Just think about how you feel when you put on your favorite outfit, or your sexiest shoes (you know you have your version of a freak’em dress). Your back is just a little straighter, your chin a bit higher, you have a little more swag in your step, don’t you? Of course you do, because you’re c o n f i d en t. Why wouldn’t you want to feel like that all day, every day? We all should strive to project on the outside how we feel on the inside, and present the way we want to be perceived. Style is Power. Period.
Beyoncé IS a Feminist Manifesto
I said this wasn’t about Beyoncé, but well okay it kinda is, at least it’s about her haters. The undisputed fact is that Beyoncé’s success and wealth are equivalent to her husband’s–she makes as much money (if not more) each year, and has been honing her craft much longer than him, working her ass off since she was a child. THAT is why she is a superstar/mogul in her own right, and yes that makes her a BOSS. Those who willfully ignore the fact that SHE holds both power and purse strings have zero credibility in my book, as the entire premise of their anti-feminist/”bottom bitch” accusations are based on hateration, not fact.
We LOVE Beyoncé because she encourages us to tap into our inner power. To pop our collars, get that swag/switch back in our step, and to revel in our self-esteem, not demure from it. She models vulnerability and shows us it’s rewards, and she affirms our sexuality and liberates us to bask in it, on our own terms.
We love Yonce because she urges us to reconnect with OURSELVES and reclaim our own power and agency. And to recognize that we each are indeed flawless. That is after all what feminism is really about, isn’t it?
What makes you Flawless? Share with us on our Facebook page and continue the conversation there! And join Politini for the full convo on this, Thursday at 8pm on blis.fm.