12 December 2013

Healthy Style: On Badassery

I originally posted a version of this over on my Weight Watchers Online blog. But I thought this fashion-interested world might want to read it...so here it is.

We've all been using it.

"I feel like a BAMF."

"I'm one of those people out in the freezing cold, running."

As compliments to others on their running, their yoga, their Tough Mudder, or their Crossfit,


It struck me the other day, as I read a post from a running friend about how and why to run in the cold. I'm with her, 100%, I've found I love it, but something isn't sitting right about one of her reasons for getting out in the cold: "I'm usually the only one out there at 5am in the freezing cold, and if I see others, they're usually much younger, and men. So own the BAMF of being out there," or something like that. Why do we want to be a badass? Or maybe the question is "why do we call a strong, accomplished person who pushes themselves towards goals a badass?"

Isn't that a derogatory term?

We certainly use other phrases and words to describe our womanly selves: strong, committed, dedicated, healthy, thoughtful, gorgeous, brilliant... So why do we feel the need to steal terminology that otherwise applies to people we do not want to be? Even in my bloggery fashion world, I've got a Rocker Chic(k) Pinterest board, with lots of leather and studs, shit-kicker boots, and black eyeliner. I love that stuff. In fact, I'm wearing all black and my combat-like boots today (allbeit with a cozy hand-knit scarf, white wool coat, and fur hat and gloves, balancing that badass).

The fashion-y version of badass. Bullet bracelets and The Real Deal

I suppose it's because we want to feel strong - even when we don't. We want to feel that we can do anything, and byjesus, those biker chicks who kick their biker boys' a.sses whenever they like, well, they can do anything. I suppose it's because we want to leave the doubt of our "softer selves" behind, and charge forward without looking back. I suppose it's because, somehow, boys are still better at this than we are. In our heads, at least. I mean, really, no matter how strong a feminist we are - ahem - I am - there's still doubt. All the rocker chicks and wrestling divas and I'll-give-birth-then-acquire-a-company-2-hours-later CEOs, well, aren't they simply emulating the male?

I hear it now. If this were to "take off" on the interwebs like things do now, I'd be bashed up one side and down the other for saying women just want to be men.

It's alright. I can take it. I'm one of those BAMFer-ines people talk about.

For her birthday last year, H gave the newly 6-year-old Bean a "comic book" of Athena myths. She (and her brother) loves it. Admittedly, I picked it out for her, knowing he'd want her to have a link to her Greek heritage. And what better link than the original lady badass? True, Princess Diana, aka Wonder Woman (also a hero in our superhero-ridden home), also comes from old mythology and the strength of the ages, but Athena? Don't mess with her. It's a message H and I want to the Bean to hear.

The Bean reading Athena to her brother

Be strong. Be true. Be honest. Be kind. Honor your parents and your elders. Speak up for and protect those who cannot speak for or defend themselves. Honor your heritage, your body, and your self by taking care of yourself, both mentally and physically.

And if a devious demi-god tries to get in the way, hold your head high, look forward, and walk right over them with your a.ss-kicking motorcycle boots.

 This year, she's going with a Frye Veronica slouch boot (last year, it was the moto-like Engineer Pull-on, kids' styles, here. We got hers at Nordstrom.). I, on the other hand, got my combat boots at Target


Alison (Wardrobe Oxygen) said...

I have always thought the term badass to be positive, maybe the two negatives cancel one another out? I think badass from Athena to Joan Jett to your little Bean. And I don't think it's as much as wanting to be like men, but breaking the female stereotypes. We aren't all delicate flowers, we can protect ourselves and our loved ones, build homes and fortresses, excel in any trade, and do it in the most amazing badass heels (if we want to). Sounds as though you're a pretty badass mama! :)

Miriam Cutelis said...

Enjoyed this....the idea of running at 5am and Taking on challenges that make one feel like a badass remind me of a quote by Meghan Hicks who did solo fastpacking on the Tahoe Trim Trail, "I wanted a real challenge, not something that I would achieve with relative certainty, something that I would look at with anticipation, hopefulness, intimidation." as all adventures in running for me it's just about choosing challenges that slightly scare you, take your breath away and make you wonder...."could I really do this?".....such as running alone at 5am, or taking on a 50K although I have never even done a marathon, or running in the snow, etc.....the one thing I get from taking on running challenges is the feeling of being proud of oneself.....as a woman society teaches us to see ourselves in the eyes of others, we pose, we wait for others to give approve, or not.....overall, it's always this external approval.......BUT, .with running, we get to only see ourselves in our eyes....and that is all that matters. Invincibility is not innately a feeling we women are taught to feel, but that is what it feels like to achieve goals which scared the shit out of us initially.

DC Celine said...

Alison - my initial thoughts are to agree with you - in fact, that's where I was. And then I thought about it a little bit. Still mulling.

Miriam - glad you enjoyed it, especially since you were the inspiration! It's a curious thing, this badassery - and how to believe in ourselves - isn't it?