Redefining Womanhood & Whiteness (And More I’m Reading This Week)

From Sex and the City and feminism, to white coming of age stories and career advice, (in the form of poetry, to personal essay, to everything in-between), here is a list of what I’ve stumbled upon this week. (Or, Read other weeks.)

1. This powerful poem about rape, identity, and finding yourself by Jessica Plante.

“…Once, I was raped and that is what I thought
life was, the exhaustion of giving yourself

to every mud-slicked face that can say your name.
Everyone I meet says my name, so who

can I blame for the woman inside me
who calls herself an animal or angel, or bruise

of yesterday?”

Wow, just wow. This poem really ached deep within me. I am always in awe of writers who can dig into personal experience or trauma and share their pain with the world. Vulnerability is such a powerful thing.

2. This excellent article on asking for a position title change after being denied a raise.
This is honestly something I’ve never thought of; in fact, it’s such good information, I included it in my Be A Light resource newsletter. This is a great way to turn a negative situation into a positive one (for both you, and your employer).

3. This piece by Geoff Curtis on LinkedIn about advice for college grads (and all of us, really).
Yes. Yes. Yes. There are so many good and relevant nuggets in here! Ex: “Maintain and build the network you started while in school and do not be afraid to ask for help, advice or mentorship. That is the purpose of your network.” And so much more. Definitely check it out (especially anyone graduating this year!)

4. Calling all Sex and the City fans! This piece about being Miranda by Cynthia Nixon, the woman who played her!

“One thing I always loved about that spirited redhead was that she didn’t suppress her ambitions in order to be more “likable,” nor did she try to squeeze herself into stereotypical notions of womanhood and femininity. She took issue with the idea that wife and mother were prerequisites for a full life and she refused to let societal norms dictate her destiny.”

I’ll be honest, I never really got into the show, but in celebrating the anniversary, I’m excited by how Nixon has defined the character and how many women are becoming ‘Mirandas’ in their own lives—redefined their own versions of womanhood.

5. To continue that thought of #feminism, here’s an article about how women are redefining their success outside of marriage and motherhood.

“I want to have kids, but I don’t know that I would consider that life success.”
— Jane Church (NetPositive)

This piece centers on Church’s accomplishments in being able to hire interns for her nonprofit natural resources company—an accomplishment, she says, that felt more of a life success than getting engaged. I love how this piece discusses the shift in perspective of contemporary women regarding ‘life goals’ or ‘milestones.’ While I personally think that career goals, marriage, deciding not to marry, etc. are all equal in terms of ‘success,’ I love how women are learning to redefine these roles, steps, and ideas for themselves.

6. This this poignant essay by Zoé Samudzi on white female coming of age stories.
The author writes, “In a way, they [these stories] offered me more loneliness than relief, because all I was able to consume were the hopes and dreams and experiences of young white women.”

This essay really shocked me and made me think because honestly, I hadn’t realized how this genre could be perceived by people of a different race, background, etc. To stop and question the media I’ve been consuming, and to view it from a different perspective was eye-opening for me.

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