Powerful women in our society are portrayed as strong and commanding. They generally wear a suit, sometimes replacing the trousers with a skirt. When we see their images online, they look dominating. They look like powerful men, just in another body.
I personally find this to be wrong. Powerful women have traits men will never have, and in portraying them in the same way, we give powerful women a strong disadvantage over their male counterparts. We take powerful women strengths and we remove them.
Powerful Women: Marissa Mayer’s Vogue Shoot
When Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, posed for Vogue, a chorus of criticism fell on her. She dared to be a powerful woman without looking like a powerful man. All the pressure she received, forced her to do a u-turn in her opinion of the images, after all who expects the CEO of a huge corporation like Yahoo! posing as a beautiful woman? Well, in my opinion women should. Powerful women should lead the charge in changing the opinion of what powerful women do and how powerful women should be portrayed.
Powerful women dystopian society
Let’s take a moment to dream about a dystopian society dominated by powerful women. To dream about it, just replace the role of men with women and vice versa. Women would dress and act as women, they should not mimic men to be perceived as powerful women. They would dress nicely, talking about business as much as fashion and style. Powerful women would be perceived as the norm.
Now imagine powerful men, trying to reach the same level of power. To mimic powerful women, they would wear floral, fashion dresses, sometimes replacing the skirt with some more masculine trouser. They would be always perfectly shaved and with their eyebrows shape nothing less than impeccable. They would know the latest trends in colours, and they would sit comfortably with their legs crossed and making the most out of their natural curves.
If this is ridiculous, why do we believe powerful women only if they rip their femininity out of their soul and replace it with an unnatural masculinity?
Changing the perception of powerful women one woman at the time
To perceive women as powerful without having the need of transforming them into dystopian men, we need to accept differences. We need to believe that powerful women look and act differently from powerful men. We do not need to have a generation of powerful women who do not use their strengths in order to be accepted.
Powerful women must be, first and foremost, women. Feminine, different from men, with different traits and passions. Let women be women!
Powerful women worst enemies
In the past months, I have been quite amazed by how women can be women’s worst enemies. If powerful women act differently from powerful men, like Marissa Mayer did, a chorus of feminist dissent starts rising. Powerful women who act as women are portrayed as wrong.
My point is that as long as we want a balance in power, adding more powerful women to the array of amazing ones already in position of power, we need to allow them to be women. We need to stop expecting powerful women to be bad copies of powerful men.