Welcome to the Damsel with Success Instagram, featuring strong women of all shapes, sizes, ages, and lives. This Instagram is for girls like me, who are tired of prescribing to the stereotypes that society forces us to fit into in this polarized society.
Society puts a heavy strain on women. ‘Girls should like wearing dresses,’ society tells us, ‘because dresses are feminine.’ Either that, or she should despise them and remove her femininity altogether, so as not to encourage any further limitations put forth by our culture.
It seems like we have polarized women into two categories: the charming domestic or the masculinized feminist. Heaven forbid a girl love a good dress and hiking, dirt biking, and speaking her mind. That would not fit into these theoretical boxes at all.
However, from my experiences, no girl is actually like that. Society, I believe, does not despise femininity, nor does it despise masculinity. What it balks against is the mixing of the two—when a person refuses to prescribe to one set of characteristics.
Most of the women I know exhibit what is considered ‘masculine’ traits: they are goal-oriented, highly motivated, analytical, and stern. However, they also exhibit many ‘feminine’ characteristics: they are wonderful listeners, lovers of cute clothing, and amazing nurturers. It is the balancing of the two that makes each girl powerful, unique, and utterly fascinating.
Growing up, I thought I had to reject the girly side of me. I thought that to be a strong woman I had to hate pink, despise shopping, and run away at the mention of girl-talk. I thought by shunning the femininity in myself I would finally be accepted and seen as an equal.
I still want to be successful now, but I refuse to do so if it is not on my own terms. My feminine qualities are a part of me, and it does not make me less worthy. I love pink! I love to shop and paint my nails! I believe that embracing my femininity makes me stronger and more confident. I know who I am, and I know who I am not. I am not a man. I never will be.
So in the effort of reclaiming the messiness that is womanhood, I believe the first step is showcasing a mixture of masculine and feminine traits. A girl doesn’t have to be either feminine or masculine…it is the mix of both that makes her beautiful.
A girl in a dress is a powerful thing. She can climb a mountain, win a race, start a company, or be a shaker and mover in this world. Most importantly, though, she will do all of those on her own terms and in a way that embraces who she is as a person–rather than what society tells her she has to be.
If you would like to be featured on Damsel with Success, just post a picture doing something interesting or empowering in a dress (anything from following your life passion to a race to a backflip) on Instagram with @damselwithsuccess in the caption. Add a caption of what it is you are doing, and why you feel women should be able to embrace their femininity along with their passions. All photos will be posted, as long as they are appropriate. You all are strong, incredible, and have a story. Now it’s time for you to share it.