A letter to myself as a young woman of the millennium:
I am 22 years old and yes, comfortable with my sexuality. I am vital and full of life. I am independent. I am self-sufficient and proud to be a woman. When I go to work, I am my own boss. I can be the head of a newspaper, the editor for a magazine, or a human rights activist. When people walk into an office and ask to see the ďguy in charge,Ē I proudly answer, thatís me. I am in charge of my own life and take orders from no one.
I write what I think. I am not afraid to piss people off if it means telling the truth. The truth is empowering, and being a woman is all about empowerment. This doesnít mean I can control people, or that I have power over them. This doesnít mean that you have power over me. It means that I am in control of myself. I know who I am. I have opinions and standards. I obey only my own morals and ethics. I tell the truth. If it makes you angry, deal with it.
I am a sexual being. Are you shocked? Being a woman and being sexual doesnít mean that Iím going to parade around on the street in black leather boots. It doesnít mean that I get out whips and chains and wear thong underwear like some submissive model in a Versace ad. I donít crouch in front of some man and hope that maybe, just maybe, if Iím good heíll pay attention to me. I am no lapdog.
When I am 65 years old I want to be a crone: wise and beautiful. I will still be comfortable with my sexuality. I will glow. I will be the white-haired woman in the Lubriderm ad. Character lines will speckle my face, indicators of my multitude of experiences. My hair may have lost its colour, but that doesnít mean Iíll subject it to infusions of chocolate and ebony chemicals in an effort to disguise my true self. My flaws are only flaws to others. To me they are indicators of my wisdom, my life experience, and my inner beauty. I will be proud to say I have lived, that I am a woman, that I am still a vital, sexual being. I wonít care if you call me an old hag. I'll know the truth.
Until then, itís okay for me to want to be active. I can take charge of a situation. I can wear high heels when I feel like it and slash a swatch of lipstick across my lips. If it makes me feel good, thatís all thatís important.
I am not some ad for Biotherm or Chloe. I am proud of my sexuality, but thereís more to me than just that. I donít define who I am by the perfume I wear, the makeup that colours my skin, or the spackle of clothes that drapes my body. I dress to please myself and no one else.
If and when I decide to get married, it will be because it is the right choice for me. If I want to have a baby by myself, why the hell not? I wonít get married just to be the good little wife. I wonít ever be defined solely by my role as a wife or mother. When I see an ad on television where the model is dressed in high heels and a tiny apron (yes, sheís nude underneath), vacuuming the floor and dotting perfume on her pulse points, I turn it off. Thatís not who I am. Thereís more to me than a submissive, wholly sexual slave. The cave man days are gone, boy. Get over it.
Do you have a problem with me yet? Are you one of the few who notices the regulations in Advertisement Standards Canada that note: ďPeople must not be sexually portrayed as objects, toys, animals, or with animal-like characteristics. Nor should products be attributed with negative gender stereotypical characteristics.Ē Do you laugh at something like this, saying Why the hell not? Are you one of the people who love seeing the ads for Gucci in which a scantily clad woman is bent in a four-legged pose like a dog at a manís feet, clutching his shoes and lapping up the ground? Her breasts are barely enclosed in her shirt. Her sexuality and animal-like qualities are all that define her. Are you one of those people who thinks thatís a pretty good way to sell stuff?
If you do, explain to me how an advertisement such as Gucciís is empowering to woman. Would you be proud to be that woman?
I am no oneís slave. I am my own person. I am not defined by my sexuality, but I am in control of it. I am proud of it. It is not all that I am, or all that I will ever be. I am a pair of breasts. I am a woman of witticisms and criticisms. I have opinions. I am a pair of legs. I am independent. I possess inner beauty. I have self-control. I sometimes indulge. I like to wear skirts. I wear glasses. I tell the truth. I donít mind pissing people off. I do what I feel is right. Iíll wear my hair however I damn well want to. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am sometimes a lover. I am a friend. I have pride, but sometimes I get jealous. Someday I will be a mother. Maybe Iíll be a wife. Maybe not. I like black underwear. I wear it for me. Maybe Iíll let you see it, maybe not. Itís all up to me. I have choice. And itís all my choice.
I am a woman.
But even if I wasnít, Iíd still be proud of myself, whoever I am.
is not hard to spell.