As a child I was told that, as a woman, “letting yourself go” meant not wearing makeup. A woman who “let herself go” was one who frequently wore comfortable clothes and let her hair fall naturally. This kind of “let-go woman” certainly didn’t wear heals and nylons. And who would want a woman like that? She had let herself go.
And yet, as a woman, I feel that following this line of thinking is one of the things that would indeed let myself go, because it is not who I am.
I felt a renewed acceptance of my body when I chose to let my hair turn gray naturally. I wear makeup only a couple of times a year. And I don’t own a pair of heels. I keep my fingernails short because it’s easier for me to type this way. These just aren’t things that fit with my particular expression of womanhood or femininity. It’s okay to pick and choose from the possibilities.
There is no reason to adopt a norm that doesn’t quite fit with our sensibilities, just as there’s no reason to rebel against a norm just for the sake of rebelling. We all have better things to do than think about these things, after all, so I will keep this short.
If I had conformed to the archetype from my childhood that describes how a woman should be, I would already be long gone and let-go, and what you would have instead is a façade of Kat, rather than the real, bona fide Kat. And this is the idea of womanhood I want to demonstrate for my daughter: she can create her own beautiful brand of womanhood apart from cultural expectation if she doesn’t let go of herself.