My Morning Routine
When I wake up in the morning, I shower, shave my legs, and put on make-up. I usually put on a dress and sometimes heels. I am what one might call “feminine,” but I have a problem with that label. I think that when we throw around labels such as “feminine” and “masculine” we put expectations on people to act a certain way. We teach children from an early age how to sit for their gender, how to dress for their gender, how to choose toys for their gender, and what their capable of doing in their gender. They are weird if they do it wrong. We tell little boys to “man up” if they cry. We tell young girls to cover up their sexuality and act like “ladies.” Feminists understand these challenges are not simply “women issues,” but issues for everyone.
“Feminine” and “masculine” our terms we define as a society, terms that change over time. They’re binary terms, their problematic terms. You can be feminist and wear make-up (I do), but you cannot be feminist and have narrowed definitions of gender. Feminism is revealing how society gives us a false understanding of our bodies. Feminism is working towards healthy relationships with our bodies; no matter how you define gender.
When I walk to work, I take a certain path because I know it’s the safest. On other occasions I have been whistled at from cars, told I have sweet thighs, told I should smile more, and invited to sit on faces. I have been followed too close for comfort. When I walk to work, I worry my skirt is too short. I feel exposed. I know if I am assaulted, people will be suspicious because I wore a short skirt and because I’m not a virgin.
I am a feminist, because I want women to be safe. I want women, who have been violated, not to be violated again by aggressive questions about their sexual history and clothing choices.
I am a feminist. I wear make-up and dresses. I walk down streets. I am here to be, not to be defined by old ideas.
Everyday Feminism is the newest sub-series in Clear the Way’s Feminist Fridays. Each month I will ask contributors to share how they act out their feminism in their everyday lives. The purpose of this series is to showcase the beauty, variety, and depth of feminism as a daily choice. If you’d like to contribute to this series, do not hesitate to email me.