For the Nice Girls
It’s 2020 and Lizzo is naked on the cover of Rolling Stone. And I love it. How could you not? She’s a woman turning an attitude into art — alongside our other favorites like Lady GaGa, Rihanna, and Cardi B (just a few that come to mind right away). These women are widely celebrated primarily for their “I don’t give a f**k” attitude, and the way this attitude defines the way they take up space in the world of music, media, and culture. The world has fallen to their feet in praise of this bold declaration of respect and it just makes me wonder: what about the modern women walking around town buying beers, waiting at train stations, doing their laundry — ya know, normal gals — what about the ones that do give a f**k? If our heroines are women like Lizzo and Cardi B, where does that leave the girls that just, humbly, care?
Here’s the thing: I give a f**k. Lots of ’em. Always have, always will. It’s a major character flaw sometimes but it is also the best thing about me. And as a modern woman and fervent champion of anything empowerment related, I often feel like that part of me has to cease to exist in order to be this strong, brave version of myself. I’m the “nice girl,” yes. But that does not mean that I am less brave, less intelligent, less ballsy, or less opinionated than any of our loud, earth shattering icons in the music and media space.
Sorry Rihanna, but I see WAY more than dollar signs, and as much as I wish it were that simple, it just isn’t.
There’s a lot to unpack about the complexities of navigating the world as a young adult woman, but an indisputable core influence in the way we live our lives is media. The things we do, see, and hear. As functioning and engaged members of society we are flooded (if not drowning) in images and messages that champion and praise this “bad bitch” troupe, in an effort to further assert the strength and raw power of women. I spent years feeling like I was a weak woman because I knew I wasn’t hardened or harsh, and I knew I couldn’t be. Not authentically. I spent years feeling like a bad feminist because I care so deeply about other people’s feelings. I spent years feeling like I would never reach my potential as a woman because I didn’t fit that bill. Sorry Rihanna, but I see WAY more than dollar signs, and as much as I wish it were that simple, it just isn’t.
I guess I was prompted to write this because empowerment is about acceptance above anything else. What I want to see are images that champion tenderness, softness, vulnerability. I want to see the whole picture. I want to be able to say, shamelessly, that “thank u, next” is so NOT what a string of heartbreaks feels like. I want women, especially ones that care about their place in the modern world, to know that they are more than one thing. That they owe the world nothing, and have nothing to prove. That more than anything, they are human — and that’s what we all should be celebrating, about ourselves and each other. You don’t have to exist one certain way to be on par with the heroines and icons we’ve elected as our representatives in music and culture.
I want women, especially ones that care about their place in the modern world, to know that they are more than one thing. That they owe the world nothing, and have nothing to prove. That more than anything, they are human — and that’s what we all should be celebrating, about ourselves and each other.
Whatever way you like to take up space is the way that you should. If you want to take that boy home cause you haven’t been laid in a while — do it. If you’re scared of the emotional complexity of sex — leave alone. If you want to wear your tiniest top cause you’ve been working out and your body looks bangin’ — do it!!! If you know your body looks bangin’ but you still feel way sexier in a turtleneck sweater — wear the turtleneck!!
Your decision does not define your worth as a woman.
There isn’t one kind of strong woman; there’s, like, BILLIONS. You don’t have to be Lizzo or Rihanna to be a badass woman. You can be you, in all your messy, human, emotional glory, and still be strong and uncompromising. It’s 2020 ladies, do it your way.