The women many of us think of when we hear the word “feminists” are the young, college educated women of the 1960′s and 70′s; burning bras and embracing a ”free love” approach to their bodies and sexuality. This Second Wave of Feminism is what most of us recall when we hear the word.
Now there are a lot of people out there writing about this crazy time in US history (some are even insistent that there never actually were any bras burned!) I am not a Feminist history scholar, but I am someone who has done a lot of reading by Betty Friedan and Margaret Sanger and some of the other inspirational forces for this movement.
I maintain that the core beliefs that Second Wave Feminism embraced about women and our bodies did not empower us to embrace our uniquely feminine qualities. Women of this time demanded that they be allowed to change their roles to fit into the positions usually held by men. They did not rightly demand that society change to accomodate the needs of women. This practice encouraged women to actually eschew the very things that made them beautifully unique and womanly. For example, breastfeeding rates hit an all time low of only 24% in 1971! Thankfully things are starting to right themselves as the pendulum begins to swing back to center. Today we boast a nationwide average of about 75% breastfeeding initiation.
A favorite quotation of mine comes from former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. She said, “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t. “
The point that PM Thatcher makes is that femininity is not about being loud and brash with our statements about ourselves. True womanhood can be seen in the quiet confidence of a woman who knows she is whole and is satisfied with her completeness. She does not feel the need to loudly proclaim her greatness. She knows she’s a lady, and that is more than enough.
Now granted, it is always easier to not “toot your own horn” about your amazingness when someone else is doing it for you. Guiding Star Centers want to be there telling our whole world about just how great you were created. We’ll also be there to remind you that your femininity is what makes you so awesome on those days when you might just feel like burning those bras.