Feminine vs. Feminist Part 3: Is the “vs” Really Necessary?

I have never been married, although I guess you could say that I’m married to my job, which I assume is similar to being married to a person. It sends you through all the various emotions: excitement, boredom, passion, resentment, love, indifference. You become an expert in things like conflict resolution and censoring what you say until everyone’s out of earshot and you can just mutter things under your breath.

Amazing how a job sounds not only like marriage but also like parenthood.

But if it works, it works, and the result of that union is a bond so great that nothing can break it. It creates a whole new product that can accomplish more than the individual components. (Chemistry will ALWAYS find its way into my conversations.)

Is it possible for the adjectives feminine and feminist to be “married”?

In my humble opinion: no.

Before you start screaming at your computer, give me a chance to explain.

My parents have a great marriage. They navigated careers, finances, a bunch of kids, and different family backgrounds (my mother comes from a loud Greek family and my father from a more stoic Swedish family; can you say yikes?). And they did this all for decades without ripping off each other’s faces. What says true love more than that?

They each have their own quirks which the other has come to accept and put up with, but they have more respect for each other than any other two people I know. They treat each other like royalty. Surviving parenthood can do that to you, I guess.

But in spite of my parents’ awesome relationship, they are still individuals. They function together as a team but they also operate separately. They don’t see the need to do everything together because, let’s face it, any couple that kids themselves into thinking they’ll never want to be apart from their significant other is playing with dynamite.

I don’t think we can “marry” feminine and feminist. Instead, I think we could stand to blend the two into one brand new product; but here’s the beauty of that idea: I think we can blend them in a way that depends solely on the person who wants to embody that new quality.

How is that possible?

To me, being a feminist is anyone (man or woman) who wants equality for the sexes: equal pay, equal opportunities, and equal respect. It’s a definition pretty well set in stone.

But being feminine – that one is harder to navigate. If you just type the word “feminine” into Google, the definition that comes up is “having qualities or appearance traditionally associated with women, especially delicacy and prettiness.”

O. M. G.

Apparently womanhood has been reduced to being delicate (translation: helpless) and beautiful (another quality which unfortunately is also defined by society).

Admit it. A lot of people when they hear the word “feminine” think of sobbing over rom coms, sipping Cosmos, and buying all things pink and frilly. It’s anything “girly” and of course, doing anything “like a girl” is one of the most classic insults.

(Thank you to Dove for transforming “Like a Girl” into something connotative with strength and importance.)

But there’s also nothing wrong with a woman who cries at a good movie and loves to dress up and wear make up. Just like there’s nothing wrong with the woman who doesn’t. Does that make her less of a woman?

What if each woman brought her own definition of femininity to the table? What if she realized that no matter what her interests, ambitions, and dreams, she could be a force to be reckoned with? What if she blended her own uniqueness with the ability to use her voice, stand up for herself, and see herself as an equal?

What if we put a name to this phenomenon?

Woman.

Peace, Prosperity, and Organic Photovoltaics,

Chic Geek and Chemistry Freak

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