Ladies, you've embarrassed strong women long enough.
Lately, there's a certain group of women consistently in the spotlight. Women who really love talking about their genitals. And, I'm just going to say it, they're humiliating the rest of us.
Where do these pussy hat wearing, free contraceptive demanding, abortion-on-demand glorifying, public breast exposing, poor me whining, nasty woman celebrating, genital obsessing, free bleeding females come from? And do they talk to their mother with that mouth?
These women revel in dropping the word "vagina" into any conversation. They brandish it like a talisman, capable of bestowing undisputed relevance.
Stephen Colbert: "Cate Blanchett, what is your moral compass? Where does kindness and humanity sit in a brutal world? Because those are important questions right now."
Cate Blanchett: "In my vagina."
That sounds uncomfortable.
The Apple Has Fallen Far
I'm baffled anyone - the media, the culture, Stephen Colbert - takes these women seriously. When did we start mistaking vulgarity, shrieking, and anger as strength?
Some will blame it on political viewpoints, but I disagree. My girlfriends with differing political or religious viewpoints than I are all classy and kind, funny and joyful, giving and intelligent and successful and just...cool. None wear genital costumes.
What women are actually facing is a crisis of identity. Being a female has become nothing more than a thought. Even a man can be one if he so chooses.
It's way past time for strong women to take our gender back.
The Strong Woman Manifesto
Strong women have been beating down the mangled, overgrown path ahead of me my entire life.
I've watched them face unbearable pain with nobility and charm. I've watched them struggle through financial destitution; the loss of marriages, spouses, parents, and children; the challenge of single motherhood with disabled children; the ache of loneliness; the heartbreak of infertility; the mortality of life in all its shades and tints and textures. And still they do it while enchanting us with their heart and laughter and that incorrigible wink of mischief.
I know what strong women look like because I know their names.
In honor of them, and because they deserve better representation than what they've been getting, here are 8 of the many life lessons they've taught me:
Strong women don't feel sorry for themselves.
Bad things happen to strong women. It's actually the rough edges of their life that have shaped them into the curvaceous, bodacious Amazonians that they are.
That doesn't, however, mean they don't have their weak moments. It means they take those moments, recognize them for what they are, accept they come, soak in the unfairness of it all, then refuse to be defeated by it.
Strong women face challenges with determination, not self-pity.
Strong women respect their bodies.
Self-respect cannot and will not happen without respecting your body. It's the outer presentation of your inner self. Pretending otherwise is a lie. So it must be protected. And honored. And clothed.
Do you want to be viewed as a chalkboard? Then don't expose your breasts to write messages on them.
Strong women use posterboard.
Strong women love strong men.
Dear Lord in Heaven, yes.
And thank you.
Strong men are beautiful creatures. We need more of them, not less. I've never seen a single strong female be intimidated by a strong man. In fact, they thrill her. Strong women know that strong men are their equal, while gloriously different, counterparts. They support them, encourage them, respect them, because she knows true strength never needs others to be less.
Only bullies push others down to feel powerful. Strong women admire strength wherever it is found.
Strong women control their tongue.
You don't have to say everything you think. Really, it's best not.
You also don't have to infuse your verbal dictionary with excessive descriptions of your reproductive organs. The women I admire in my life are always worth listening to because they always have something of value to say. And when they don't, they shut up.
They also keep talk about their private parts private.
Strong women welcome opposing viewpoints.
Disagree with her. She really doesn't care.
A strong woman won't agree with people often. Because she has her own mind. She's a maverick, a pioneer, a free thinker. But she also knows she can gain insight and wisdom from hearing differing opinions...about everything!
What she doesn't do is send f-bomb tirades on Twitter when someone says something she doesn't like.
Want an easy test to tell a strong woman from a weak one? Disagree with her. Then stand back and watch.
Strong women are hard workers.
I've never known a single strong woman who doesn't want to work. Not a single one.
Whether their job is with a company, for their family, or raising the next great generation, strong women embrace the hard labor of life because they want the rewards - self-respect, education, discipline, achievement, better life, more options, sense of fulfillment, and a chance to show off, baby.
Strong women are survivors, not victims.
I've seen this too many times, in too many glorious ways, to believe women cannot and do not overcome some of the harshest circumstances in life. The strongest women among us never see themselves as a victim, even though society would gladly approve them for the label.
They want to be more, prove more, and have more than what victimhood provides. Yes, they have obstacles to face and tears to cry. But they face them. They cry them.
Then strong women go kick ass.
Strong women are more than their gender.
Being a woman is fabulous. And strong women are nothing if not fabulous. They love indulging their relational nature, delighting in their femininity, celebrating and displaying beauty, and exploring all the ways their minds work differently than men.
A strong woman takes great pleasure in being female, but she does not worship it.
The next time a woman starts dropping the v-word, tell her to stop embarrassing herself. And while she's at it, stop embarrassing the rest of us, too.