Saying that you are a feminist, is a lot more difficult than one would imagine. People tend to view this matter black and white – and it is! At least, partially. You either are a feminist or you aren’t, there is no point in discussing this. You can’t be a little bit feminist, when you feel like it and none when you are not in the mood. –
When you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies. (Jon Stewart)
Additionally, everyone seems to think that feminists have to be a certain way. Many don’t recognize that being a feminist is just an addition to an already existing person, to many other characteristics and values. People tend to overlook the line-up of all your personality traits as soon as you say “I am a feminist”. They judge you and ascribe to you all the characteristics they connect with the word – man-bashing, aggressive, humorless, boring, grey, looking-for-attention – if you every claimed a feminist viewpoint, I am pretty sure you heard those words too.
Empowerment is also this – realizing who and what you are and not being quiet about it. You are not “just” a feminist (or “just” a painter, a dancer, a mother, a worker etc. for the matter). You are not “just” serious, creative, flexible, tired, ambitious. Your personality and you are two colourful beings, full of different mixtures, structures, patterns and priorities. It’s high time for women to not hide their personality in the closet anymore, just because some unqualified hypercritic might have something negative to say.
When we are born, we are a bit like a new canvas. Over the years we develop, improve, change – more paint, more creativity, more colour is added to what is to be our life. Time to show those colour to the world.
How to realize the potential of your personality’s colours
- Discover them – I am not saying “write down your favorite colours” or something like that. This article is not about being super-spiritual. What I am saying is that to defend and empower yourself in the face of everyday problems and judgments, you first of all have to get to know yourself, all the facets of you. What are you passionate about? Who is important for you? What are your values? Can you answer these questions already? If not, deliberately take some time off and write down what first comes to your mind. Don’t discredit in the first place, write down everything, as small as it may seem, let pass all your thoughts and reevaluate each of them later on. The more you know about yourself, the harder it is for anyone else to doubt or belittle you. Really do take the time to create a colourful picture in your mind, which you can come back to in times of anger or insecurities. Whenever someone tries to dim your light, look at it again and be aware of how shiny you are. As little as it is important how others see you, as important it is how you see yourself.
- Free them – I am sure that you have a wonderful and unique personality. It is not necessary to shout that out to the world or have a fancy Instagram account or 10000 followers on YouTube. But don’t hold yourself back, just because of others. Judging is everywhere, anytime. If you got to the point where you know who you are, you will find a way to express yourself. Maybe you want to do it through a nice blog, maybe by singing songs or designing computergames, I wouldn’t know. But you will know what feels right to you. Do that.
- Stick by them – Personalities and values can change, sure. That is sometimes appropriate, often necessary, we get older, we get (hopefully) wiser, we adopt new characteristics or ideas. Yet, try to not forget your picture of yourself. Of course you can change, you should change, but again, not because of other people. If someone doubts or criticizes you, listen, take from it what you can, but don’t adapt or change your values towards the ones of another person. Staying true to yourself might be one of the most important things to do when you are trying to get more powerful. It is also the most difficult one. Don’t let anyone tell you that a feminist isn’t allowed to wear colourful clothes, short skirts or high heels, or that a mother isn’t allowed to be sexy or that a model can’t be curvy. People are so obsessed with conformity nowadays that individuality is often lost. Everyone claims to be more “special” than the other, just to display the same views, the same ideas, the same shades of grey once again. It is especially tempting if close ones, family, the partner or friends, have a completely different opinion on something. But if they are that close, sticking to your values won’t harm the relationship, but rather strengthen it. And for the ones that are offended by your views? Well, maybe that person is one of the things that has to be removed from your life.
By being yourself you already are the best version you can possibly get. Don’t be worried that other people might not approve of you. Often the attempt to keep you small and grey is the futile hope of hiding their own insecurities and doubts. Don’t let anyone do this to you. Life is colourful – and so are you.