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International Women’s Day reflection: what is strong? what is bad ass?

Originally written March 10, 2020 as a private journal entry.

Recently, it was International Women’s Day.

I reposted [name removed]’s IWD 2017 project, a gallery of portraits each with a caption on a disc.

Mine wrote:

We all need feminism because everyone can be strong and bad ass in their own way.

Which led my wandering mind to consider:

What is strong? What is not strong?
What is bad ass? What is not bad ass?
How are these terms gendered?

Strong is:

  • asking for help
  • raising children as a single parent
  • calling in discrimination; uplifting & encouraging those that surround you
  • being vulnerable & honest with others & yourself
  • making your health & wellness a priority
  • having courage – to say yes or no

Strong is not:

  • putting up a front – arrogant & hostile, but hurting inside
  • negativity for no reason
  • lashing out/taking out frustrations on others
  • believing it is someone else’s problem to solve

Bad ass is:

  • trail blazing
  • working hard for what you believe in, even in darkness, even when no one’s watching

Bad ass is not:

  • bullying

I pointedly avoid including gendered understandings of strong and bad ass.
What is the difference between a strong man, a strong woman, or a strong non-binary person? Is the strength of a single parent any different when you apply a gender? What about being a bad ass?

As I captioned my repost, these discussions are still relevant and still necessary.

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