Fashion and Philosophy Series / On Feminism

What is it really ?  And am i one ???
Ever since this question has been presented to me, i have honestly had a tough time even defining the word. I've always considered myself a humanitarian, an animal rights activist, and an advocate for people with disabilities, but the word 'feminist' seemed to bring back thoughts of the bra-burning, equal pay, equal rights, my body-my-choice 70's.... 

So, on a day, when i was practicing my portrait-taking skills, and wearing make-up and the most feminine outfit i've worn in a while ;) - i decided to look backward, and in doing so, i might figure out what feminism means to me today .....

I grew up in a very small town, smack-dab in the middle of the bible belt. A place where men were men and women knew their 'place'. I learned at a very early age that girls played with dolls and boys liked trucks. Period.
So why did i like rocks, dirt and the occasional play-ground scuffle ?
Don't get me wrong, i dug "Barbie" ( whom i now call "the devil" ),
but thought that was just me being a bit strange. So, i became a cheerleader, hoped to marry a doctor, and blended.

Fast-forward to high school, the 80's. During this time, i began to rebel as most do. I was still a band-geek, but also loved to hang out on the smoking patio. ( yep, that was the eighties ;) - the decade of decadence. 
I quickly morphed into a Madonna-Prince hybrid. My 'insides' were another story.

I found that i was a lot like this rock, all shiny on the outside,
 but very raw and simple on the inside.

I became a wild child. I thought i knew what was what. 
Now some people need a simple nudge to wake up, while other's need a boulder to hit them on the head. I was the latter ....

One night at a party, i was almost raped. I thought it was my fault for 
being drunk. "Whew, close call" or so i thought. Boys will be boys....
I didn't dare tell .....

I found myself in an abusive relationship soon after. 
He said it was my fault and always swore he'd never hurt me again....
The black eyes didn't make me leave, however. It was the cheating.
No one could understand how i could have allowed myself to be treated in such a way. But i could. I thought i was ugly and didn't deserve to be treated in any other way. I did vow, however, that no man would ever get close enough to me to hurt me ever again. Ever...

For many years thereafter, i found thousands of ways to abuse myself.
Go figure !

It has been through many years of pain, then growth, that a gift of freedom and acceptance has been given to me by women who have been there themselves. But not only by women, but men who are also feminists. Who believe in me and have taught me the value of each and every woman in the world. 

Am i a feminist ???

Let me answer that with a quote :
"Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
—Eleanor Roosevelt

                  GLOVES/HAT; VINTAGE
                  SHOES: CANDIE'S
                  NECKLACE: 1928, RETIRED


My Heart Blogged said...

This was a very touching post. Thank you for letting us into to such a raw side of you. That quote is one my all time favorite quotes, it is so empowering.
My Heart Blogged

Nelly said...

Thanks for sharing and I am so glad you are such a happy persin now,Never let anyone say you are anything but the beautiful ,caring and entertaining person that you I love the way you take your pics.

Kathryn from Schoolmarm Style said...

Reva, your raw honest and thoughtful voice is what keeps me coming and back and poring over every single post. This one was great and may have inspired me to add a bit more substance to my writing from time to time.

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

Reva, thank you for your willingness to share your pain, your past, and your heart...I now understand where your empathy for others comes have been in that place of hurt. Today, your strength, confidence, creativity and kindness shine as a beacon of hope for other women...keep up the good work..inspiring others to be their best!

Anonymous said...


Since i found a fashion blog , yours was the first and i was inmedatley interested.Love your sence of humor,your style,your smile, haha even love the hair-do-thing.And then now how you open your hart to us ..that is really special..but that is just the way you are :-).Thanks again from a "Suzy".

fashionoverfifty said...

Aw, Reva~loved this stuff from your heart. so glad to see you have grown from that unhealthy place. Love that quote too--live by it. Paula

WendyB said...

Thanks for sharing all this.

Anonymous said...

The quote really gave me pause--it's right.

However, the post also reminded me of a paper I received from a freshmen student several years ago. The paper basically described her rape at a party at the age of 15, but the focus of the paper was on how crazy her father got over it. When I tried to point out that she'd been raped, she didn't "get it." One wonders how many years of abuse she's how to tolerate because her awareness hadn't been raised. While the quote is true, feminists can "teach" the world just what rape is.

Sheila said...

A beautiful post, dear Reva, from a beautiful woman. *hug*

You look amazing in this, by the way.

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