We’ve Got A Weak Spot for Femininity: Join the Revolution!
We know they say to not judge a book by it’s cover, but when we saw this bright red cover with the words The Feminine Revolution boldly jumping out at us, we had to imagine that it was a badass book (turns out we were right!).
The Feminine Revolution, written by Catherine Connors and Amy Stanton, largely embraces the concept that “the future is female.” But what makes it a standout is that it celebrates the amazing AND complicated things that make a woman, well, a woman. We’re talking emotions and intuition and sexuality and attention and all of the things that at one time may have categorized a woman as weak.
But weak we are not. It is these exact fragile [eyeroll] traits that are really the underlying superpowers that can lead us to happier and brighter lives. And this revolutionary read is the exact push we needed to embrace those characteristics -- the power is within them.
We got the chance to speak with one-half of this literary duo, Amy Stanton, about her personal experiences, as well as the inspiration behind this text, which features real-life stories and actionable tools to “tap into your feminine superpowers for a happier, more authentic life.” We’re in… how about you?!
The Void: What prompted you to write this book?
Amy Stanton: About five years ago, I was struck by the idea that I might be out of balance. Specifically, I was wondering if my work persona – sometimes tough, direct, assertive – was not a full representation of me. That perhaps I was suppressing my emotionality, sensitivity and vulnerability – these are huge parts of me! AND, I was wondering if this imbalanced “work persona” was spilling over into my personal life and the reason I hadn’t found my guy was because I wasn’t bringing my full, feminine self to relationships.
I started speaking to lots of other women about it and realized so many of us were feeling the same way – that we weren’t able to show these “feminine” parts of ourselves. And I realized I needed to write a book! (I have built a career working with and for women and promoting female role models and positive messaging for women so perhaps it was destiny). Catherine Connors, my writing partner, and I met through a mutual friend a few years back and had so much to discuss. She brought her academic perspective and also a unique point of view from her days working on the Disney princess rebranding. Last year, we kept the conversation going and I suggested we write the book together. And so we did!
The Void: Is there a chapter or specific section that really showcases how to ignite your own "feminine revolution"?
AS: For each person, different aspects of femininity resonate and, as a result, different chapters feel more or less aligned accordingly. For me, the chapter on sensitivity was very relatable and accessible. I’ve been called sensitive from a young age which was reinforced when I entered the workforce in advertising in NYC – I was told not to take things too seriously, not to be sensitive, etc. in performance reviews and in general. As a result, I toughened up. I built up the armor so I could thrive in a “man’s world.” My impression was that sensitivity was weak. And that it wasn’t welcome. So I learned not to show that sensitive side (actually to hide it).
In hindsight and through the exploration of developing and writing the book, I now recognize that my sensitivity is an incredible gift and a huge part of who I am. So I should embrace and own it! My sensitivity is why I’m a great leader of my company: I can sense what my clients need, what people are truly saying or meaning in a meeting, what my employees need, what the best course of action is… My sensitivity makes me a wonderful friend, family member and lover. My sensitivity is everything! So now, not only am I embracing it in my own life but I’m also encouraging others to explore it in a new way.
The Void: You call yourself "a big cryer"—why is that important to you and how do you think it makes you a strong woman?
AS: Crying runs in my family. And similar to my story above, in the workplace I learned to shut it off and not show that side of myself because it wasn’t welcome (let’s be honest… I was never excited to cry in the workplace anyways!) I never chose to break down in tears with my bosses! It just happened, as it does. And now in reflecting back and examining the landscape, and even the health benefits of crying, I see there are a variety of reasons why crying can be a good thing: it can bring you closer to those around you and actually foster connection… that is, if we allow it.
What makes me a strong woman is accepting myself while constantly striving to be my best – it’s the simultaneous process of owning your authenticity and recognizing that there’s always work to be done. And since crying is a part of my authentic self, my opportunity is to use it in a way that is real, meaningful and can serve me versus holding me back. And by the way, you’d be amazed at how many people (men and women!) are self-proclaimed criers when given the opportunity!
The Void: You've worked with a lot of female athletes in your career. What have you learned from them about femininity?
AS: Female athletes, like all women, are each unique and would have their own individual ways of defining and living their authentic femininity. In some sports, femininity is more obvious – in tennis, some of the outfits might be considered more feminine or even “girly”; in track and field, the female athletes look like they’re ready for a photoshoot before they start their races; their hair and make-up is impeccable – they are ready for business! There may be a perception that female athletes are pressured to limit their outward femininity because it could work against them (i.e., if femininity is considered weak). But it ultimately comes down to each athlete and how she chooses to express herself.
The complexity is beautiful! I love that you can look at someone like Serena Williams and see one of the toughest of ALL athletes exploring a totally new, more feminine side of herself, especially as a mother.
The Void: The chapters in your book are almost like a list of derogatory ways that women have been categorized. Why was that important for you and Catherine to embrace and discuss?
AS: You hit the nail on the head. Each chapter title (and concept) is a negative feminine stereotype about women. We break down each of those 21 qualities and show why they’ve been considered feminine historically, why they have been perceived as weak, and why, in fact, they are actually our superpowers.
Why is this important? Because we spend a lot of time beating ourselves up for things that we shouldn’t. This gives us a new way to think about each of these qualities and, instead of feeding the negative stereotype, learning to own our sensitivity, our vulnerability, our intuition, the fact that we’re dreamers… even our glamorous sides. It’s important for us to accept ourselves fully and to ask ourselves why, if these feminine qualities are actually powerful, have we been hiding them or running away from them for all of these years? If we can unload these unnecessary negative stereotypes – and the corresponding negative self-talk – we will feel a sense of freedom and a liberation like never before.
make sure to grab your copy of the feminine revolution: 21 ways to ignite the power of your femininity for a brighter life and a better world!