So I've been working on answering this question, which is of course the opposite of simple and straightforward. And of course, I'm lots of people. Or rather, I have lots of facets, colours and shades. What I do know for sure, is that I am not beige.
So I thought I'd try and figure out the answer in parts. There's lots of parts that I already know. The obvious stuff. And that's boring. So then, that leaves me with the other, less obvious aspects of self.
I found myself fiddling around with my camera on Saturday night. I was all dressed up for a party in 1920s get up and I was feeling rather sexy so I thought I would try and come up with some selfportraits of how I was seeing myself in that moment. I popped them up on Facebook a couple of days ago but here they are behind the cut and in my new icon.( Collapse )
Firstly, I'm a crap photographer so I'm kinda pleased I got some I like. Secondly, it was very interesting taking my own photo - deciding how I want to look, directing myself, and then judging the outcome. I learned a few things about the way I look and so on (successfully used that in arguing for my hairstyle with my sister on Sunday night).
Thirdly, it was really interesting making myself look the way I wanted to look - as in, why and how. Because ultimately, I wanted to look sexy and powerful in these shots. And I had to figure out how to feel that way in order to look that way. *Luckily* for me, I have watched *a lot* of America's Next Top Model. I understand complex things like "looking fierce" and so on.
I felt sexy that evening. I felt sexy in what I was wearing and how I looked and in who I was. In that moment. And I noticed that feeling sexy made me feel powerful. And happy. And I noticed how, to me, I don't allow myself to feel those three things all at once, in a related way. Which of course led to this post and some dissection of that.
I think it comes back to things I said in the post I wrote on feminism and femininity. You know, where we agreed I could wax my legs, love shoes AND still believe in equality. (A good blogger would give you the link to that post. I am not that blogger. It was near Femmecon in time.)
The nature of my profession often means that I am the only female in the room. In my last job I was the only woman in our team. In this role, I often go to meetings where I am the only woman at the conference room table. Though my current work team is mostly female, we often deal with consultants who are middle aged men and come to meetings and sit opposite us (two or three young women) and put the hard stern word on us.
The one thing I have always been determined to never ever be accused of doing, is using my "feminine wiles" to get me places in this world. Flirting and so on is inappropriate in the workspace, something I very much abhor and never ever do (with like people in power above me. I will admit to teasing and riling up the guys I work with. They do it to me ALL the time!)
But I think somewhere along the line, I took this too far (what? me? surely not?!) and actually exorcised the idea from my brain that it's ok to feel powerful and in control whilst also feeling sexy and happy. I think, in part, that could help explain some of the other ideas of power that I've been mulling over - to do with boundaries and so on. And I think I very much didn't want to allow "sexy" to be part of my persona. Which is not to say that I don't feel sexy. Or don't know how to use those wiles, or in fact don't ever use them. All not true, of course. But the thing I do think is that I feel bad or guilty or choose to ignore that that is part of my persona. And I can see that in the photos that I do allow people to take of me - which in contrast to these, are very family-friendly.
After the soulsearching from Femmeconne about what is a feminist, what is a woman, what kind of a feminist and woman am I and what kind do I want to be, I let go of the ropes a bit. I started to wear a lot of different jewellery and fun shoes and broke out a bit in the clothing I wore. I've tossed out a bunch of clothes that don't conform and I guess this post shows I am still working on my image both in how I see myself and how I present myself to the world.
Work in progress I guess.