I've seen so many young women deterred by some feminists' all-or-nothing mentality. A strong woman has a masculine image in society, often thought of by men as not traditionally beautiful and averse to feminine things. Women in positions of power especially are expected to give up feminine "trivial" pursuits and put on a no-nonsense look, women like Hillary Clinton.
Yet, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is showing young women that they can be strong, powerful, and feminine all at once. She wears her hair down, puts on a bold red lip, and wears makeup on occasion.
Why is this so important?
In a time when some women are turning their backs on extreme feminism, AOC shows them that they do not have to give up parts of themselves to be treated equally, that being a feminist has and always will be about everyone's right to be treated equally for who they are. AOC's embrace of her feminine qualities is also a pushback to her male colleagues who question her authority as a new female member in Congress.
Why is it important to hold onto one's femininity?
Femininity is stereotyped as weak in our patriarchal society, when it is women's strength. Our ability to give life, our beauty, our ability to be beautiful and strong — all of these qualities portray us as human. We are complex beings who cannot be placed into either-or categories of strong and weak, of masculine or feminine.
What does this tell men?
Men who see feminine women in positions of power can no longer make the case for femininity being a sign of weakness. Women who embrace their femininity as strength, are demanding respect for women everywhere, respect for the fact that women can be more than one thing.