Photo by Karel Chladek
It's International Women's Day today so it got me thinking about all the amazing women that have inspired me. What they had in common. What they didn't. And then the question that kept popping up was: what does being a woman mean to me?
The first words that come to mind are strength, wildness, nature, contradiction, compassion and vulnerability. These concepts are all very appealing to me which is ironic because I used to be afraid of my femininity. I found comfort in dressing boyishly; leather jackets, combat boots, oversized clothes. I still do. But back then I believed that I needed to be strong at all times and wear armour, hide under layers and layers of black eyeliner (even to go to class at 9am...) and a tough guy attitude. The thought of exuding sex and femininity made me feel weak, powerless, embarrassed. As though I couldn't be taken seriously if I exposed my emotions and my female body. I bought into the myth of masculinity, believing that I had to behave more like a "man" if I wanted to succeed in a man's world.
What I didn't realize was that there's power in being different and embracing the duality. There's power in owning yourself and being yourself and all that that implies. Alice Kass has been a sort of ground-breaking personal experience not solely because I've accomplished my professional dream of wanting to work for myself, but because it freed me from my fear of embracing the feminine. People often assume that I've always been obsessed with lingerie. Truth is, I was always intimidated by this world that seemed so far fetched and theatrical. I found it too girly and seductive and at times desperate and cartoonish. I was none of those women projected by traditional or alternative lingerie companies. I was also sort of scared of them.
But when I started to discover brands like Lonely lingerie and Bully Boy, brands that placed style and comfort above just being outwardly attractive to a man, something changed. When I put on this lingerie, I looked in the mirror and I recognized myself. I felt like I could feel like a "hot girl" AND still be myself. I had never really quite felt that before. Feeling sexy and feminine and... confident about it. Needless to say this was game-changing and I was excited for other women to experience this too. I wanted women to feel good about how they look, comfortable in their skin and most importantly FEEL LIKE THEMSELVES. And it's possible, even if you're not what society typically promotes as a sex bomb or femme fatale. You don't have to buy into their prescribed way of looking to feel attractive. There are other ways and other options. You just really need to find what speaks to you. Take some risks but always be true to you. Because confidence makes all the difference.
We are women and undeniably multi-faceted and super powerful. I mean, we're kind of mythical. We bear the possibility of life in our wombs!!! We are inextricably linked to nature. We can feel so much if we just pay attention.
Our intuition is our strength. Knowing what we are but constantly evolving. We can be both masculine and feminine, vulnerable and tough, silly and smart. We can indulge in our appearance and simultaneously kick ass at our jobs. None of these things prevent the other!!! These dualities are actually our secret weapons and we need to use them to our advantage.
It took me a long time to learn all this. It took Alice Kass and all the amazing women I've met along the way, from my customers to collaborators to supporters and friends.
Happy Women's Day
I can finally say that being a woman is awesome.
To be continued.