CADY: Wear pink, care about politics

Taylor+Swift+won+album+of+the+year+for+her+recent+album+Folklore.+Photo+via+Flickr

Taylor Swift won album of the year for her recent album “Folklore.” Photo via Flickr

Something I’ve learned about myself is that I strongly oppose the idea of being mutually exclusive in my identity.

I used to really believe that I had to exist in a box – that I had to be one thing and not the other. If I was sensitive, I could not be strong. If I was shy, I could not be bold. If I wanted to wear pink, I could not care about politics. 

Now, as a twenty-year-old, more developed version of myself, I recognize the myth in that. 

I actually can be a very sensitive and emotional person while being strong – in fact, I think you have to be. I actually can be shy and a bit introverted while also being bold, brave and going after what I want. I actually can wear pink, I can care about my femininity, fashion and pop culture, but also be invested in the political sphere and what’s going on in our world. 

One of my favorite movies is “Legally Blonde.” The iconic film features a woman who goes from being a fashion major to studying at Harvard Law School and pursuing her career as a lawyer. She struggles to be taken seriously because she also really cares about clothes, her appearance and being the typical “girly girl.”

The irony of it all is that the exact reason people don’t take her seriously becomes her strength as a lawyer. She solves a murder trial based on her knowledge of hair care, and the people that once laughed at her sit back in awe that she was able to make such a roundabout revelation and come to really respect her. 

But, why could they not have just respected her from the get-go? Why do women have to prove themselves because they are made into a stereotype by the perceptions of others? 

In her documentary “Miss Americana,” Taylor Swift concludes with this quote that has left a lasting impression on me: “I wanna love glitter and also stand up for the double standards that exist in our society. I wanna wear pink, and tell you how I feel about politics. I don’t think those things have to cancel each other out.”

Swift speaks from her heart in this – and that really resonates with me.

I want to be able to encapsulate all of myself. I want people to look at me and see me beyond my surface-level value. I want to be able to care about how I dress, paint my nails, do my makeup and still add value to society because of my passions. I want that for all women.

Women are judged far too harshly just for their existence. If you put too much effort into your appearance, you are vain or you are just something to look at. If they don’t, they are lazy, they’re unattractive and they don’t appeal to the male gaze. If they care too much about their femininity, advocate for their womanhood and have streamlined interests, they are nothing special.

What a world it would be if we could look at women and see their hearts instead of stopping at the surface.

The idea that they have to find a singular value and identity with that – that they can’t wear pink and care about politics, but rather have to wear pink or care about politics. Especially for young women, it is so important that we erase this narrative.

This story was written by Grace Cady. She can be reached at [email protected]