I’ve been thinking a lot lately about two different things, the first being Halloween. I picked out a costume – one that I believe does no harm to culture and an icon that I find empowering after taking a class on fairy tales, so let me tell you a little bit about her. Little Red Riding Hood is my favourite character from folktales because from what I’ve studied and understood, I’ve come to the conclusion that she is a pretty awesome feminist. Last year I wrote a post about her on facebook essentially about how she dissuades victim blaming, she is a proponent of the right to say no and she is a diverse and interesting female who labels and identifies her own sexuality – all qualities that I find important as a female. The baseline moral of Little Red Riding Hood (before they cleaned up the fairytales for children to read – children were never the intended audience of these tales but instead they are stories of survival passed down through generations) was that she took off her clothes and got into bed with the big bad wolf who then forced himself upon her. In most of the stories, Little Red who has become an icon because of her red hood, ends up killing the wolf or escaping due to her own wit. She is not naive; she is a strong, witty, diverse, sexual being with flaws, experiences and strong suits who labels nad identifies herself. I ended my post by saying: “Moral of the story: You are not a flat character. You are witty, strong, attractive and you are allowed to love whoever you choose when you choose to. You don’t owe anyone anything. You have rights, dreams, desires, flaws; you are different from everyone else and you are writing your own story so make it great and be proud of it”. I think that while I use women as an example, this also applies to men. Anyways… I chose this costume because I think she is an upstanding icon and a role model for young women but yet due to the length of my skirt and the sexual nature of my costume, I worry about how I will be seen by others. I guess my point here is that why should I worry about this? I am a grown adult woman who can sexualize and label herself. I understand that, as an educator, I should wear responsible clothing but my educational philosophy promotes individuality, identity and proper sexual health. As controversial as this post seems to me, I would not be myself if I didn’t stick up for my own identity. I will be a responsible educator by leading an example for my students, but I will also be a responsible by keeping my private life private and off of the internet. So this Halloween, think about how you choose to label yourself and choose your costume wisely and appropriately. This Halloween, I’ll be labeling myself and dictating my own sexuality regardless of how anyone else labels me. I will not give someone else the power to tell me who I am.
The second thought that I wanted to discuss was that when my boyfriend called me “hot” the other day, my first thought was “thanks, I lost 4 pounds.” Now, those of you who are following my blog know that I’ve been trying to eat healthy and that weight isn’t my main motivator, but still it slips into my thoughts occasionally. I’ve been conditioned to equate my weight to my level of attractiveness. I would say that “I’m not fat” but I’ll paraphrase Lillian Bustle when she says that we’ve created a culture that is told to console someone who is overweight. We wouldn’t tell a tall person “oh no ,you’re not tall”. I am happy with my weight and I don’t have to quantify it through how attractive I am. I am attractive because I have more to myself than my physical appearance and I’m lucky to have a guy who compliments my brain as much if not more than my body. I wanted to show how I deconstructed this thought. Similar to my rant above, I don’t know who told me that it was more appropriate to be thinner, but I am the only person who gets to decide who I am and label myself. Lillian Bustle has an interesting view on this issue in her Ted Talk that you can watch below. I’ll just finish by saying that only you can label yourself so take advantage of that and use your voice for something great.