Oh, my first post! It occurs to me that the title and description header on this blog might give the impression that I’m a transsexual – that I’m literally trying to figure out what it means to be a woman. Such is not the case. Sorry if you were hoping it was.
What I’m trying to get at with this blog is how can I rectify all of the messages I – and everyone else – get about femininity and womanhood in the 21st Century? Yes, we’ve come a long way since the ’20s, ’50s, ’80s…but we’re in a whole new arena now. Ok, I don’t need to wear heels anymore – but what if I want to? I like a door held open for me, but I hate being called “sweetie” by a man who doesn’t know me – even when it’s an innocent moniker. Can I like how my legs look in that jean skirt, and still debate politics at a dinner party?
Too many times, the arena we’re in tells us that women can’t be both smart and sexy – not at the extremes, anyway. There are exceptions, many of them, to be sure – and that’s what I want to find and explore here – along with my own questions, revelations, and trepidations about the decisions I make.
Why? Because I’ve been both an English professor at a university and a dancer with a performance group that performs burlesque. I found myself, just a few months ago, exhilarated to participate in a group dance with a “reveal” (meaning I wore only pasties on top) at the end – my first venture into such a performance. Even though the reveal was literally five seconds long, I also found that there weren’t many people in my life I told about it. I was afraid of judgment, that they wouldn’t get it, that they’d think I was just a dumb girl who wanted to take my clothes off – despite the legitimacy of the group and the beauty of the performance.
Anyone who knows burlesque at all knows that it’s sexy, but also smart and witty…which are adjectives I wouldn’t mind being applied to me. So why the fuss? Why does it all seem like an oxymoron?