Feminine energy is not weak. We don’t need to be more masculine or diminish our femininity in order to feel strong and independent. In fact, both energies are equally powerful in a very different way.
Pink has become an inappropriate colour for girls/ women. It is considered bad if you “still” think pink is a symbol of femininity. But when has the association with pink become so negative? Isn’t it just an example of internalised sexism that we think pink is shallow, weak and unintelligent because it’s “girly”?
When women wear menswear, it’s considered cool and edgy, but it’s totally the opposite when it’s the other way round. Does being a feminist mean that you have to stripe off your girliness and hold grudges against the mainstream girly stuff?
Gender Equality or Gender Equity?
It’s been forever since we’ve talked about gender inequality. Some may believe that equality means treating men and women exactly the same. But is it really a practical idea to have? Does “equality” mean “sameness”?
Everyone has a different starting point, and we all know men and women (or any gender) have different needs, gender issues and perceived gender roles whether you agree or not. Shouldn’t we try our best to promote equal rights and equal access to opportunities, and provide mentorship and support to some who don’t have the access to?
There’s a misguided idea that in order for women to have true gender equality, women have to be like men and distance themselves from their femininity. Why is it that female-typical traits are seen as inferior and considered lesser than male-typical traits? Are we challenging the true sexism or do we just want to keep feeding the idea to women that they have to constantly compete with men especially in the workplace while most traditional jobs were designed for men and both sexes are operating at different baselines…
Sexual liberation or self-sexualisation?
We see social media influencers and celebrities making profits successfully and getting attention by sexualising themselves while facing criticism for being too vulgar. “My body my choice” is often used as a response to fight back against criticism. Some believe that self-sexualisation is a way to take ownership of their bodies and sexuality, especially in the eyes of modern feminists.
This statement takes me back to 2013 when I was working on my school dissertation about “sexual objectification of women”. And here is what I said in my dissertation - “sex always sells and always will. Women will continuously be sexualised and objectified whether it’s by choice or not. However, women can empower themselves with their sexual power and be in control of their sexuality.” That was my young self writing about female empowerment without any real-life experience.
I don’t think I was wrong, but not 100% right either. One thing that keeps me wondering is if we are just using “empowerment” to glorify the idea of “self-sexualisation”- basically making a thirst trap. We have been hearing how female objectification plays out negatively in society for decades but now we celebrate it as female empowerment when this sexualisation is still centred around male attention. Are we just piggybacking on the value of female empowerment and making profits out of it because we are living in the capitalist system? Does “embracing our sexuality” mean that we need to subscribe to the hyper-sexualised cultural trend?
Is it misogynistic?
Traditional female values are not as appreciated as traditional male values in this day and age. Being a caring, dedicated, responsible mother is not considered successful anymore. Women are encouraged to pursue careers and personal ambitions before relationships and children. We uphold male characteristics as empowering while simultaneously downplaying traditional female roles that society once told us were oppressive.
Society believes women are oppressed by “the patriarchy” (aka toxic masculinity). To break this, women are encouraged to take up men’s places and leave the traditional gender roles behind. While it is true that traditional gender roles have, at times, perpetuated inequality and limited opportunities for women, it is also important to consider that empowerment is not about belittling the contribution of housewives and mothers nor obsessively proving ourselves to society that we can replace men like wearing a “strap-on”