Thursday, 19 December 2013

all fired up about feminism.

This has been a crazy few weeks for our household. Neil has taken charge of it with gusto. His mouth is on fire with new molars and we just all got over this random barf fest of 2013 that quite literally lasted exactly 12 hours per person. Needless to say, I am looking forward to a happier child and less sickness ridden home in the days ahead. Christmas is almost here! 

My real reason for coming to the blog today is a couple of things. As ridiculous as it may sound to some, Beyonce brought me here for this post as well as a plea from this mom of three

First things first, Beyonce dropped this self-titled crazy album last week and I have been obsessed with all aspects of it ever since. I mean, obviously she is a way far out out of my realm but ever since I have critically listened to this record I have felt ridiculously empowered. Very embarrassingly so actually. The link included in this paragraph examines her album much better than I ever could, but I wanted to share what I have learned from it as I believe it is a valuable lesson for women my age. 

It is okay. It is okay to feel the way you do about everything you experience and deal with. From sex to kids to significant others to other women and most importantly, yourself. The doubts, the overbearing self-examination, the anger and fright we experience as a result of being 'grown' women is all natural and something we should speak freely about and without fear. I think that the acknowledgement of the struggle is what's got me most about this whole 'visual album'. 

I get that her physique is pretty much unattainable for non-famous folk but I really don't think that is what it's all about. Even just hearing that BEYONCE hasn't 'felt like herself since the baby' (song: mine) is a god damn breath of fresh air. The sexual element is also incredibly eye-opening. She includes this quote in (song: ****flawless) from a Ted Talk  with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

'We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller
We say to girls: You can have ambition, but not too much
You should aim to be successful, but not too successful
Otherwise, you will threaten the man

Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is most important
Now, marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don't teach boys the same?

We raise girls to see each others as competitors
Not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual being in the way that boys are.
Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.'

So simple. But then again NOT. For being sexual is something to be looked down upon for most. This is why I love this album. It is literally COVERED in sex. Beyonce has no problem showcasing her sexuality, which is her choice. NOT EVERYONE WILL FEEL LIKE THIS. Which is what I am gaining from this record. Being sexual or not is your decision as a women and you should have the complete right to make it. Not looked down upon if you prefer blatant sexuality and not chastised if you don't. This is when equality will happen. 

This is where the second awesome woman comes in. Taryn Brumfitt, mom of three posed nude in her mom bod in all its glory. Just as proud as Beyonce's dancer bod and with an even better message about balance and realism. We are not all Beyonces with trainers, nannies and endless opportunities to perfect our amazing dance routines. Taryn's story is much closer to our own. Letting go of the expectations but still concentrating on her health is what i see as the most inspiring:

'I AM a health advocate. I run, I lift weights, I eat healthily but I also have a 

cookie with my soy latte and knock back the odd burger or yiros when I feel 

like it. It’s called balance. And whilst I am getting on my soap box (I’ll just 

be here for another minute) health is not dictated by your looks. Health is 

physical, emotional and spiritual and so much more that is not visible and not 

always obvious to others.'

Having a healthy lifestyle should be rewarding enough in itself. It is not always going to be the reality so we have to cut ourselves some slack here. Exercising and eating right makes us feel good and that should be the reason we do it. Not to try and get to some goal we made up in our own heads. 

You are all flawless and woke up like this. (as Bey says) Feminine beauty is something we all possess, inside and out so my new goal is to make that a practice. To me, feminism isn't about acting more like a man, it's being true to my own femininity and not being ashamed of it anymore. Red lips, sweat pants and all. 

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