I want to make something really clear. Just because you say you’ve done something liberating, empowering, feminist, strong, etc. et cetera doesn’t actually mean it’s true. I could spend every waking minute telling people I’m actually Caucasian with very delicate Asian-like features, but that still won’t stop the fact that I am, at my very core, Asian. I could persecute someone in the name of religion — NAY, IN THE NAME OF GOD — and it still wouldn’t be what God wanted. (And I shouldn’t have to put this here, but I will absolutely never persecute anyone ever for any reason.)
I’m not going to get on this whole tirade about modesty — I’m LDS, which means I practice modesty in my appearance, but I also recognize very fully that modest is most certainly NOT hottest. And not everyone subscribes to the same belief system I do, nor do they agree with my personal views on modesty and why one practices it, so I’m not going to try and change any minds here in this blog post.
But let me be really clear — I feel quite empowered about my body in what I consider a healthy way, and I don’t feel any sort of need to flaunt it (and this isn’t a self-consciousness thing, although I’m softer in certain areas than I’d personally like to be). It’s probably 25% modesty and 75% understanding what empowerment actually means. [By definition, empower is to “make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.”] So what exactly is it that I need to do to feel empowered?
- Well, first off, I don’t use the word lightly. It’s taken us decades, centuries, heck even millennia to get the power we have (and we still have a long long way to go). Not everything I do in my everyday life is a move in the name of empowerment. Sometimes I just, like, enjoy binge-watching Netflix or whatever. And I certainly do it because I can, but … let’s not quantify things that don’t actually deserve quantification.
- I have a very clear idea of the sort of woman I’d like to be. I am not particularly close to being her (and I daresay it will take me the rest of my life to get closer), but I know who I’d like to become as the years go by. Understanding that gets easier the older you get.
- I feel very confident with the body that I have, and I don’t give it too much power. I realize that I’ve been bestowed with certain parts that make me more feminine than a man, and that for whatever reason those parts can be quite powerful to them (fat sacks, guys. They’re fat sacks, and they come and go and spend the majority of our lives being saggy, so get over them already.), so I’m not going to take that for granted. But I also have hair where I don’t want it like everyone else, skin covering my entirety like everyone else except for Harvey Dent, facial features like 99% of everyone else, and fingernails that grow at an alarmingly fast rate like some other people who may read this and think oh my gosh she GETS it. What I’m trying to say is that it’s just a body. I was born with it like everyone else, and we really shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about oversexualizing it because that leads to all sorts of issues in the long run.
- I vote, and I make sure to never vote against myself or my basic human rights. This should be pretty self-explanatory.
- I give very little thought about other women’s bodies — someone else’s appearance should ultimately not matter to any of us at all ever. We all make certain decisions in the morning that we think make us beautiful, and who’s to say we’re wrong? (And I know, I know, there are all those Buzzfeed articles about the worst makeup in the world, and that truly stumps me because it’s pretty awful. But also that’s an aberration and most women don’t look like that on a regular basis.)
- I don’t spend my time concerned with looking like anyone famous. Do you even know what it takes to look like a famous person? Nutritionists, dietitians, personal chefs, personal trainers, photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, lighting … coordinators (I don’t even know what to call them), lavish homes styled by interior decorators, wardrobes upon wardrobes upon wardrobes. Unless I somehow stumble into a life that is identical to that (Dear God, it is my humble prayer that I never stumble into a life that is identical to that. Amen.), I might as well stop trying now. I’m not caving, I’m being realistic. Also, I don’t want anyone telling me how to eat. I will eat however I want thankyouverymuch.
Sometimes we need to call certain things as they are. Posing topless in front of a mirror with your bestie (who may not even be your bestie in the real life), giving the world the finger (which is actually so apropos when you think about it) isn’t actually empowerment. It could be labeled a lot of things, but empowering or feminist or liberating aren’t it.