Question of the Day: “Is strong the new pretty?”

With everything going on in the news about women being attacked, women voicing their feelings of being unsafe, and even additional discussion of male harassment and violence against women, I feel like this is an interesting time for women in general. I must say, as a woman, I am surprised at the level of shock and dismay I hear when men find out that women feel afraid much of the time. They are confused when you tell them that you are scared to run in the dark, or a particular man makes you feel really uncomfortable. They can’t even fathom why we feel frightened with being out in public alone or why we feel the need to travel to the bathroom in packs. The recent story about a man raping a woman in a Macy’s bathroom in Center City last week should be enough of a reason for why I never go to the bathroom alone in public if I can help it. All of these thoughts have lead me to today’s question: “Is strong the new pretty?”

For Mothers’ Day last year, my BF bought me a book called Strong is the New Pretty by Kate Parker.

“Be fearless. Have the courage to take risks. Go where there are no guarantees.”

Katie Couric

I love this because the book contains images and stories of girls being wild, stubborn, crazy and real. We as women need to believe that it is important and valuable to center on a person’s ability to be strong and courageous over changing ideals about beauty.

This is such a different message than what I’ve known and maybe we can start to steer the narrative away from women’s looks and turn it more into women’s strengths. As much as society has tried to change this mindset, it is seen again and again. One needs only watch one episode of The Bachelor to see that looks still matter, but what if the bigger picture is helping women to create a vision of themselves as strong.

Perhaps if women start to be viewed with this lens, it will save our lives.

Here are some females who are helping to change the narrative. These stories focus on strength and courage over looks.

Mulan: Disney’s rendition of the folk story of a Chinese girl who goes to fight for the Imperial Army in her father’s place.

“Maybe I didn’t go for my father. Maybe what I really wanted was to prove I could do things right, so when I looked in the mirror, I’d see someone worthwhile.”

Mulan

Abby Wombach: American retired soccer player, coach, two-time Olympic gold medalist, a FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. She just published an incredible book called Wolf Pack.

Based on her inspiring, viral 2018 commencement speech to Barnard College’s graduates in New York City, New York Times bestselling author, two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup champion Abby Wambach delivers her empowering rally cry for women to unleash their individual power, unite with their pack, and emerge victorious together.


You were never Little Red Riding Hood. You were always the wolf.”

Abby Wombach

Amanda Gorman: Twenty-two year old woman of color who read her poem at the Presidential Inauguration. She is the first US youth poet laureate and she wrote “The Hill We Climb”.

This clearly is not enough, but it is a start, and it seems as if it is also a remerging pattern. If we as women start to send a different message, a message that shows we value our strengths over our pretty, then perhaps mindsets will change. But more importantly, we will start to change. If we further hone our various skills that allow us to shine in ways that circumvent the curve of our nose or the rise of cheek bones, we will no longer be able to judge ourselves or others with the same criteria.

We can live in a world where “woman” is synonymous with “bravery”. Our society will look to women to solve the complex issues of this world with our courage and our fortitude. Magazines will not be able to sell products by putting women in baby doll standing poses and giving them that far away look in their eyes. The models will have strong stances and our female super-heroes will wear clothing that does not seek to give them an hourglass figure.

What a world that could be!!

Love and Light, All.