There's an article that's been floating around the Internet for about half a year now (claiming that "Ladies, Nike shorts and leggings are for the gym, nowhere else"), and after the Odyssey re-shared it to their Facebook page last week I just had to jump in on the conversation.
The article basically bashes women for "not trying hard enough" by not putting enough effort into their appearances, and it says that a "grown woman" would do better.
NEWSFLASH: A "grown woman" can decide for herself what she wears and when she wears it.
I am not the kind of woman that "spends an hour [each night] prepping myself for the next day," but I am also not the kind of woman to shame any other woman for choosing to do so.
But that's okay. We both have a right to do (or not do) to our bodies whatever we choose to. Why can't we just accept that every woman is different, and it is every woman's birthright to decide how she is to live her life?
Sadly, this is about more than just respecting other people's life choices. It's about our culture's idea of a "good woman". This "good woman" falls on the "right" side of every binary known to humankind. She's cis-gendered, middle class, white, thin, able-bodied, young, and heterosexual, and she's got the "right" style to prove it (jeans, polished makeup, access to a gym and a shower to use three times a day, a perfect 8 hours of sleep, and a polyester suit according to this article's author). And what happens to anyone who does not fit this narrow idea of a proper lady? They are inherently wrong, inferior, and unworthy of being treated as a "grown ass woman".
NEWSFLASH: Such binary thinking is a load of BS. The truth is there is no wrong way to be a woman.
I identify as a feminine, cis-gender woman, but I don't even own a pair of jeans. Or a bra, for that matter. I only ever wear makeup for performances or special occasions. I shower every other day, or every two days because 1) my skin gets dry easily and 2) I'm lazy. Here's the big kicker: I haven't shaved my legs in three years because I think I have better things to do with my time and money.
These are all big "no-no"s according to this article, but after years of unlearning that others' opinions matter and instead discovering myself, this is how I choose to live. I deserve no shame for my decisions, and I certainly deserve respect no matter how I look or act.
You are a woman, you define femininity.
So shout out to all the women who reject American respectability politics and refuse to be limited by arbitrary ideas of what it means to be "lady." Shoutout to all the women who consistently challenge ideas of what it means to look/be "good" and choose instead to define "good" for themselves. Shoutout to all the women who express themselves through their clothes/appearances, and shoutout to all the women who don't care to spend their energy on such a practice. Shoutout to every woman out there just trying to do their thing. You do you, boo.