Featured Contributor - Marritta Gillcrease
Marritta Gillcrease is an Assistant Coach of Women’s Basketball at Rider University. She founded Rita Speaks Life LLC in order to empower women of all ages, teams, and organizations to dominate in every arena of their lives.
Marritta's book, Total Domination: 10 Keys to Unleash Your Inner Champion, is available now! Get it today!
Women are often compared to flowers. Delicate like an orchid. Happy like a sunflower. Beautiful like a rose. Visually appealing specimen with a potentially alluring scent. Perhaps the intention is to compliment the feminine essence but there’s an implied fragility attached.
The problem is that femininity can often feel more like a window box planter instead of a field of wildflowers. What’s the difference?
Window Boxes Vs Wildflowers
A wildflower is “a flower of an uncultivated variety”, a “flower growing freely without human intervention”. Imagine fields of wildflowers--beautifully multicolored, growing, and unbothered despite their circumstances. Certainly not everyone will appreciate the beauty of wildflowers, but those who do appreciate them for what they are and may even make them centerpieces at the table.
Then there are window boxes. Window boxes are practical but their entire purpose is to provide a contained beauty. The flowers within them are visually appealing but they have no space for growth. They are to be looked at and appreciated from afar but never invited into the space.
It doesn’t take much more than a scroll on social media or turning on the TV to see that Window Box beauty is the standard. Somehow beauty and femininity has been reduced to a list of do’s and don’ts and those who do not check those boxes are made aware of it at every turn.
Think of the messages that are sent to young, female athletes surrounding their femininity once they decide to participate in sports. They are accused of being too aggressive, boyish, or not as strong or as skilled as their male counterparts. They’re boxed in.
The boxing in continues in countless workplace settings and is essentially “unavoidable”. From disparaging comments to disciplinary action, women’s femininity is constantly under scrutiny and held to a third-party’s standard. Hair. Make Up. Clothing. All of it. After a while, it’s enough to make you feel a bit claustrophobic.
The best way to break out of those boxes is to flex your Flower Power as often as possible.
Let go of the definitions and expectations of femininity. Rigid definitions of ‘feminine’ and ‘beautiful’ do not serve the complexities of our experiences. Whether your standard was Barbie or “Baby Got Back”, take some time to examine the origins of your thinking and decide if those beliefs are serving you now. If they are not , it is okay to let them go. (While you’re at it, don’t be afraid to seek out a work culture committed to valuing YOU and not just what YOU LOOK LIKE.)
Define your feminine. There are a few things in this world that are crystal clear, cut and dry but femininity is not one of them. It’s a collection of personal choices and should be treated as such.
Ask yourself what does femininity look like for you? What does it feel like? What makes you feel the most beautiful? Do you prefer low-maintenance femininity of the lip gloss & go variety? Do you pride yourself on being beat to the GAWDS damn near daily? Does your mood make all the difference? Are certain smells important?
In any event, the power to define your femininity rests with you and you can change it as often as you would like. Winning.
Flex on ‘em. Walk your walk! Whether you identify as a carefree wildflower or the rose that grew from the concrete, know that you are strength personified. Own that strength but don’t allow femininity to become your window box. It’s ok to be boundlessly beautiful.
Weigh in below. What’s your view on femininity? Has your experience been that of a wildflower or have you had the view from the window box?
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