Why Not . . . Revel in Being a Woman?

Women’s rights seems to be the topic of great debate recently as a variety of stories have brought contraception, health care and women’s equality to the forefront of the news. While I will spare you from jumping on my soapbox, I will say, it certainly has revved up my engines as I try to not take the many rights and freedoms I have as a woman living in the United States for granted.

Did you know?

*There are still 3 countries in the world that do not allow women the right to vote (Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Omen)

*Women in the United States weren’t allowed equality with regards to access to credit (buying a home, opening a credit card, etc) unless their father or husband would sign for them until the early 1970’s

*Only 1% of the world’s assets are in the name of women. (via OnlineWomeninPolitics)

*Some of the latest countries to grant women suffrage are: Switzerland (1971), Iraq (1980), Namibia (1989), Kazakhstan (1994).

*28 women are current world leaders (including monarchies)

While there are endless statistics I could list, one of the most poignant and eye-opening women’s rights movies I highly suggest you watch is HBO’s Iron Jawed Angels starring Hilary Swank, Anjelica Houston, Francis O’Connor and Patrick Dempsey. Needless to say, it will help American women, but I do believe all women, to better appreciate the rights that were fought long and hard for.

Keeping all of this in mind, I came up with the many ways we as women can revel in our womanhood which is a balancing act, but one that I feel quite proud in bearing as it is such a ponderous and hard fought responsibility we now have (and as you know, haven’t had for long).

1. Exercise your voice – vote!

2. Wear skirts and dresses with abandon. Wear them with confidence knowing that a fabulous pair of jeans will look just as amazing when the occasion calls.

 

3. Raise the bar higher. Always do your best and never hold back just because you’re worried about someone else’s feelings. If they are of mature character, they will appreciate being pushed to do their best as well.

4. Be a positive role model for younger generations. Young girls look up to their mothers, aunts, grandmothers and other women they come into contact with. Demonstrate with your actions and how you live your life that the life ahead of them is theirs to create.

5. Exercise, develop and engage your mind. Never stop learning. Whether it is taking classes at the nearby college, enrolling in a cooking or yoga class at night, going to the library and checking out books or watching intriguing shows and movies, continue to read and absorb information voraciously.  An education is something that can never be taken away from you.

6. Enjoy pampering yourself and applying your make-up, doing your hair, always keeping in mind that you are more than your outer shell, but feeling beautiful sure increases a woman’s confidence.

7. Don’t play the victim and become the director of your own life.

8. Mind your manners and rise above those who have none.

9. Financially support yourself because you can – don’t take this for granted. One of the biggest stresses to any relationship is money, so be sure that you have your financially situation under control so that you know you can always land on your feet no matter what may come in the future.

10. Provoke curiosity, instead of titillating. Women are not trophies and our beautiful curves should be tastefully adorned, not tackily clad.  Dress in a manner that hints at what’s underneath, don’t share the entire story.

11. Respect your body and demand that others do the same. If they refuse to, walk away.

12. Nurture someone – your children, your pets, your dreams, yourself. While nurturing may be engrained in most women’s nature, it doesn’t mean we all are drawn to nurture in the same way. Many women want children – fabulous! I applaud responsible, loving and devoted parents, as we need more of them, but not every woman wants children. Some are perfectly find nurturing their dreams, as well as supporting their significant others. Whatever you choose to care for, do it with zeal and without shame.

13. Know women’s history – be appreciative and never take your rights for granted. Too many women gave so much for women they would never know. Don’t just blithely toss these rights aside.

14. Demand equality.

15. Treat men the way you would want to be treated. Treat ALL people the way you would want to be treated – with respect, courtesy, and kindness.

16. Refuse to be stereotyped. Many people still may be comfortable with patriarchal traditions, but that doesn’t mean their assumptions should influence your direction and decisions. Live for yourself and know that you are worthy of respect regardless of your sex and if you’re willing to work hard and do what needs to be done, you too deserve what you seek.

17. Allow a man to court you – you are the prize, so behave in such a manner. And throughout the process, let him know you appreciate his thoughtfulness. And always remember we teach others how to treat us, so respect yourself with your actions and applaud those actions that are respectful.

18. Break the rules, but follow some too. It really is beneficial to let the guy ask you out.  Trust me on this one, refer to #17. (see comments below for my explanation as to why I wholeheartedly believe this)

19. Be respectful toward other women.  You may not like some women or agree with them, but don’t belittle them.  Be kind.  Set your boundaries and move on.

I have a feeling this list could be much longer, so I’m curious about the ways in which you enjoy reveling in being a woman.  Please do share and have a wonderful Wednesday.

Other posts you might enjoy on the topic of women from The Simply Luxurious Life:

Comments

  1. Love this post. ANother fabulous feature. A few points that I need to take in and consider.
    Thank you xoxo

  2. Women have been able to vote in the UAE since 2006!

  3. Excellent posting! Several points are so valuable.

    Some people at work dress very, very casual. I love to look nice, put on my makeup, and stand out from the crowd! A simple smile to others is so kind and can make their day. Even if you are going through a rough patch treat yourself, be good to yourself. A new shade of polish, a trip to the museum, rent a romantic or funny movie, etc. Tell yourself you are beautiful inside and out!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

  4. I always appreciate the thought and insight you put into your inspiring posts. Good food for thought today.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Heather
    Stylemindchic

  5. You are fantastic! I don’t know how you continually come up with inspiring posts, but I for one am thrilled I found you.

    Truly wonderful!!

  6. Such a brilliant post! Thanks so much for sharing!:)

  7. In defense of #18. Below is my response to an email that was sent questioning my reasoning for including #18.

    To TSLL reader:

    I appreciate your email and want to thank you for taking the time to stop by and share your voice and your experience. While I knew my statement on #18 might ruffle some feathers, I stand wholeheartedly by it, but before any assumptions are made, please let me explain. While I am not certain of your age, I am 32 and speak about this issue based on my experiences, my friends’ experience and being a high school teacher for ten years.

    In my twenties I too mustered up the courage to ask a handful of guys out – some were met with success, some not (define success however you wish). And yes, it most definitely causes the adrenaline to surge and instills a great feeling of empowerment. (Please know, I am all about women empowerment and building a healthy self-confidence.) But after more than ten years of experience in dating and observation, what I’ve learned is by asking a man out, we set the tone that we are not worth being chased, that we don’t have the confidence to believe that we are worth being sought after by the right guy. Also, by women doing the asking, we lower the effort a man has to make to impress us. In fact, by being patient, it actually serves as a barometer to see if they are genuinely interested or simply filling their schedule.

    In the end, it is my understanding that we want someone who adores us, respects us and is willing to make the extra effort (at least in the beginning) to impress us because in their eyes we are worth it. And when we make it easy – yes, we’ve complimented them which is a kind gesture, but we’ve diminished our ability to see if they are genuinely interested.

    It takes great patience for independent women who have been raised to go after what they want to gradually and ever-so subtly pique a man’s interest, but not pounce. But trust me (this was very difficult for me, as I am a “get it done now” kind of girl who doesn’t like to waste time), you want a man who is willing to catch your eye. Who wants to make that effort because such actions reveal so much about their character, just as your patience and respect for yourself speaks very highly of you.

    All of this may on the surface sound very anti-feminist, but please, rest-assured, I am wholeheartedly a feminist. However, we are still dealing with men, and when it comes to relationships; men (or men worth being with) are drawn to women with confidence as long as you are warm and approachable. The confidence you have shouldn’t be heightened because you can muster the guts to ask a man out. Instead, gather your composure and simply get to know him, talk to him and be your charming self whenever you do run into each other, but let him be the gentleman. We truly do dictate how others treat us by what we allow, so set the tone you want and it will be returned by a person who wants to be with you.

    More than anything I share these words because I wish I had been advised of this when I was younger. But, with anything, life is about learning, and I too am still growing. Everyone has their own path, and I absolutely respect this. Thank you again for taking the time to reach out to me and visiting The Simply Luxurious Life.

    Sincerely,

    Shannon Ables

    Note: Allowing the man to ask the woman out is pertaining to the first date. After you have gone out a few times, by all means reciprocate by planning a date (In fact you should, to let him know you are truly interested.)

  8. Thank you for bringing light to this important topic that is still relevant today! I have particularly been fascinated with how women’s rights is portrayed in the drama of Downton Abbey. We just started watching and I’m already hooked!

  9. Shannon,

    A beautiful explanation for #18 on your list and one in which I wholeheartedly agree! When single, I did (make the mistake) of asking a gentleman out and it went exactly as you so beautifully described above. I never felt appreciated or cherished. I promised myself I would not do it again. I am happy to say, I am currently delightfully married to a man who does indeed cherish and honor me. (and incidentally, sought me!) :)

    I have two daughters with whom I will share this post. You have written the advice perfectly and I am thrilled to have it to share. – Thank you!!

  10. Shannon,
    I feel like you are a mentor in my life without you even knowing it! This is such a great post & I’m thankful that you take such care of your words and ideas- sharing with those of us who truly benefit from your wisdom.

    I consider myself an equity feminist, and would be considered a minority amongst feminists. I chose to celebrate the differences in gender. I like that a man is a man and a woman is a woman. I think we have unique qualities on purpose, and that respecting those differences is perfectly appropriate. What is not appropriate is treating one sex less than the other.

    All women should vote, be paid equally, hold positions of authority (duh). And, we should be able to do it in skirts, with makeup, and in a sassy pair of heels. I graduated from college this year, and work for a global consulting firm in Washington, DC. What is hard to see is women who are tremendously successful, smart, and true leaders – but they don’t feel like they can be very feminine. I think DC is infamous for this. We are trying to close the gap between men having the upper hand professionally, and so we dress in all black, or we play it “safe.”

    I’m reminded of a speaker who guest lectured at my school. She said men were capable of tremendous courage and loyalty…IF we let them be.

    Thanks for getting the conversation started. :)

  11. YOU ARE SUCH AN INSPIRATION :)

  12. Great list. Thank you!

  13. What a wonderful post! Shannon you are so inspiring and empowering…especially to us gals in our early 20′s :-)

  14. Thank you Shannon! As always you bring a beautiful mix of beauty and inspiration into my day. This post was especially beautiful because of your weaving in of several issues: equality, the feminine and women’s relationships with men. Absolutely lovely and especially your “putting it out there” on #18.

    I never realized how much of a feminist I was until I was married at the age of 28. I did everything I could during our dating to allow him to be the man and sweep me away. It wasn’t until we were married that my true struggle came out. My man is a treasure…I truly don’t know how I have been so blessed! Unfortunately it took me a good five years to realize the balance of being a confident, somewhat wild go-getter sort of girl and encouraging my man to live up to all of his potential. It breaks my heart to realize how much I smothered who he was just because I was afraid of being put in a stereo-typical cage.

    It’s been a year now since my revelation and I’m so happy to say that our marriage is better than I could have ever imagined and I feel so much more complete as a woman and am proud to have a true man by my side…and I’m still as much a feminist as I ever was…just see it a little more equally now. (And please please know I’m not saying this is a fix for all marriages/relationships…or any other marriages/relationships in fact…just mine because I truly did find a gem and hadn’t appreciated him until it was almost too late.)

    Thank you as always!

  15. I agree whole-heartedly with everything that you said! Thank you for taking the time and having the courage to say it!

  16. Lovely post. I couldn’t agree with you more, especially about how important it is for women to know the history of the struggle for our rights. Thank you for articulating this so well.

  17. Wonderful! There isn’t enough of this going around. I must forward along.
    Thank you for sharing!

  18. One of my favorite books on being a TRUE feminist is “A Return to Modesty.”

  19. Dear Shannon,

    I adore all of your work. I know that you have now extended yourself to a ‘Stylist’ as well, and I want to say ‘Congratulations!’ I am definitely going to try and set up an ‘appointment’ with you one day, and there is no one better I can think of. I am actively trying to go through my clutter of a closet and narrow it down some, haha.

    But, I digress, what I wanted to ask, and I’m sure it’s been asked before, I probably just haven’t seen it, is ‘Have you considered writing a book?’ I know many of us would just love it! I had purchased a book you had suggested on the blog one time, and it was one of the best I’ve read, Bonjour Happiness. I know you have a beautiful gift for writing, your blog is amazing!

    With that said, I am wishing you and yours a truly blessed Thanksgiving. Thank you so much for what you do for women.

    Loving Fan,
    Maggie

    • Maggie,

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by. I am thrilled to hear you are enjoying what you discover here on the blog, and I look forward to working with you when you are ready to hire a stylist.

      With regards to your question. Yes, I am currently working on editing the book I have been dreaming of sharing with my readers. As soon as I know when it will be released, I will be announcing it on the blog and letting readers know when they can pre-order. Thank you so much for asking and for all of your support. Have a wonderful and festive holiday season.

      Sincerely,

      Shannon

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