What is feminine power? In the past few years, these two words have been used more than ever before. Every time I look at my emails I see one or more with these two words as the subject. Since 2011 when Venus crossed in front of the Sun, (a symbol of the feminine leading the masculine), women everywhere have begun to reconnect with their feminine power. Yet what do these words really mean?
The First Wave
In the first wave of the women's movement, during the 60's and 70's, feminine power was defined as " woman power". Women were just beginning to rise up and say look at us, look at what we can do better or as good as you, and don't ever underestimate us again. Women were celebrating their sexuality, sexual freedom, and discovering their bodies and the Big O. We were taking our power back from patriarchal rules, speaking up and saying that being a powerful woman, feminine power, meant being strong, independent, self-sufficient, sovereign and sexually free.
Then the 80's rolled in and so did the "me" generation. Women were now actively pursuing careers or being a working mom, and trying to have it all. The definition of feminine power was redefined once again to being a sort of a superwoman who could juggle her career, family and also be a femme fatal in the bedroom. The music reflected this in songs like "I am Woman Hear me Roar," whether single or married women thought that being powerful meant doing it all and playing like a man with the boys in the boardroom.
Then in the mid-eighties, the Goddess movement was born often called the 2nd wave of the women's movement. This was a very exciting time to live in and for me, it was as if I had been starving for 35 years and suddenly I began stuffing myself on a daily basis with everything and anything I could read about the Goddess. Feminine power was once again being redefined by women like Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman and Starhawk in The Spiral Dance and Truth or Dare. Feminine power was now seen as "power from within", and it was something that both women and men could cultivate their power from within themselves, rather than having power over others.
When the 90's hit suddenly women in media were being portrayed as stand-alone women who had magical powers. Women who could take care of themselves and did not need a man to fulfill them. These new images redefined what being a powerful woman meant to a new generation of girls who now saw women portrayed in a variety of ways. Feminine Power now included magical abilities and new street smarts and savvy.
"From the angry mouths of all-girl underground hardcore punk band/zine makers, Bikini Kill in the early 1990s came the riot grrrl movement, which spawned numerous bands and a thriving DIY subculture including zine production and political activism. Feminine power was on the rise but now it was grounded in a rising consciousness stemming from attacks on legal abortion to Anita Hill's revelatory accusations of sexual harassment, this movement had a message: songs from this era were socially conscious and dealt with rape, violence against women, patriarchy, sexuality, racism, and female empowerment." (Daria Morgandoffer, Huffington Post)
The New Millennium
Then it was the 21st Century and we were in a new millennium, and a new era was ushered in bringing with it a new generation of girls and women. The definition of feminine power once again changed, but not for the benefit of women. What we saw and still see is almost a backlash of the last few decades mentioned in this article. The media which includes film, advertising and music are giving mixed messages about feminine power. The images most commonly seen portray women wearing very little, being tough and strong, sometimes mean and violent, sexy at all times ready to serve her man's needs, using her sexuality to get what she wants, and being thin and pretty. Girls and women are more confused than ever before about what feminine power truly means. But all is not lost for there are organizations and groups of women and girls who are fighting back and taking a stand to change the current definition.
Feminine power is once again being redefined but I think this time it will be more inclusive allowing us to broaden it's meaning to not only include all three of the definition's above, but it can also be defined as a woman who is strong, vulnerable, alluring, courageous, smart, confident, sovereign, loving, compassionate, comfortable in her own body, tough when needed, generous, kind and balanced with her own masculine and feminine qualities.
This definition allows women to truly have it all...all within themselves first, and the rest well that will come too as an outgrowth of their inner strength and beauty.