Femininity is defined by the dictionary as being “qualities or attributes regarded as characteristic of women.” So much of our society is built upon these standards.
People expect the female body to be perfect. We grow up being told that only tall, blonde, and skinny is beautiful. Even when we know we shouldn’t, we begin to believe the lies. And why shouldn’t we? The models for a lot of our favorite brands fit this description and so do the stars of shows like “The Bachelor.” A majority of the people in the public eye fit this profile.
I, as a woman, am no stranger to facing these standards and fighting off feelings of inadequacy when I feel like my femininity has been compromised by some force or another.
This is just a heads up: this story is about to take a personal turn.
In 2017, I was diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune condition of the skin.
Chronic. That meant it would be a part of me forever. Something that made me feel ugly and insecure and unworthy would be a part of me forever. For awhile, this was a scary thought. How had I become a stranger in my own skin?
I no longer felt like a woman. My body had been tainted by this strange new disease. It was my new tattoo. A permanent tattoo I never asked for. I felt that my womanhood had been stolen by this condition.
I realized, though, that my outlook needed to change, especially if this was going to stay with me for the rest of my life. Yes, my feelings were valid, but they were harmful. Rather than focusing on all that my autoimmune condition had taken from me, I realized I needed to recognize what it had given me. And what it gave me was a strength I did not have before. I knew I needed to identify the things that made me feel beautiful and enhance those.
I like my eyes, so I knew I could find new ways to experiment with eyeshadow and mascara.
The things that make me feel beautiful are not only physical. Helping people makes me feel beautiful. Learning new things makes me feel beautiful. Feeling beautiful has made me feel like a woman. I understood that I was only as beautiful as I was kind. I redefined what femininity meant to me.
I share my story in the hopes of empowering you. Society’s expectations of femininity and beauty do not matter. Whether you are a size 0 or a size 24, you are beautiful. It doesn’t matter if you’re skin is clear, or not. You are beautiful.
Redefine your femininity. The sooner you do, the happier you’ll be.