In the famous words of Meghan Markle “Being a feminist and being feminine are not mutually exclusive” or as she said in a slightly different way “You can be a woman who wants to look good and still stand up for the equality of women”. I would go so far as saying, that when a woman stands in her power and is proud of her unique form of femininity and beauty; she not only inspires all women to do the same, she helps rewrite the definition of being a woman in the first place.
According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, the definition of Feminine is- ‘having characteristics that are traditionally thought to be typical of or suitable for a woman’. Looking back through history, those characteristics have changed somewhat to suit the era. Each and every one of us also has our own definition of what it means to be a feminine woman and how we portray that to the world. This is what excites me the most.
I personally love being a woman and have never felt my pursuit of feeling like a woman or looking beautiful (my version of it) has stood in the way of me achieving what I want. I accept that the timing and place of my birth have a lot to do with that. When I think of women I admire, the likes of Amal Clooney, Amy Cuddy, Natalie Portman, and Diane Von Furstenberg all come to mind. Highly-intelligent and successful women, who proudly flaunt their version of beauty, use their voice to make a difference and are unapologetic in owning their power.
I started to think about this after speaking with a colleague of mine who not only enjoyed a successful career as a model but is also an Oxford University Medical Doctor, award-winning author and the founder of a new line of innovative skincare. We discussed the negative stereotypes often associated with being a model and whether they would have an impact on her personal brand as a health professional overall. My feedback was, that once upon a time it may have been a hindrance in such a male-dominated industry, but in the world we live in today, her story was perfect in all of its honesty.
Your personal brand is not only about what you do, but it is also about who you are and everything that makes you unique. How you look, whether you like it or not, is a big part of that equation. That women feel more pressure than men to adhere to what society deems as beautiful (and feminine) is debatable, and really beside the point. What matters is that women embrace their own form of beauty and celebrate it.
When a woman owns her version of beauty and fearlessly puts herself out there, she sends a clear message about her definition of being a woman. The more women do this and challenge unrealistic airbrushed ideals, the less power society has in creating the accepted definition of beauty and femininity.
If there was ever a time in history for women to not only embrace and flaunt their unique form of beauty alongside their skills, talent, and education, it is now. As a society we are experiencing a paradigm shift, old conventions are beginning to crumble, the power that once lay in the hands of the few, is now in the hands of the many (literally). Individuals from all walks of life have the ability to create a movement on their phone with a clever hashtag.
We all have a personal brand, and in the digital era that we find ourselves in, we have the unprecedented ability to share our story and make a difference in our own way. If we want to change the way society views women, then we need more women to fearlessly put themselves out there in all their feminine glory.