Our gender expression can be an important and valued part of our identity, touching on every aspect of our well-being, whether physical, emotional, spiritual, or even financial. But social pressure and cultural messaging focused on our gender—and how well we can live up to or “perform” to those expectations—can have a great impact on our feelings of self-worth and can make us struggle with self-acceptance. However, we can also gain great personal satisfaction in living up to those expectations. Our unique and shared experiences as women create a tapestry of community that we can rely on to help us grow more fully into ourselves. Every one of us has the right to live a vibrant life in our full identity, and our struggle for well-being can find support from those who understand and validate the complexities, nuance, pain, and joy of our community’s lived experiences.
So many of the little rituals I have each day—like my makeup or skincare routine—do help soothe and/or rejuvenate me. For me, any type of solo practiced routine is good. But I’ve learned that self-care does not, and cannot, sustain me. And I believe that this may be the case for many of you.
Why are angry women so threatening to others? If we are guilty, depressed, or self-doubting, we stay in place. We do not take action except against our own selves and we are unlikely to be agents of personal and social change. In contrast, angry women may change and challenge the lives of us all.
Audre Lorde reads the essay “Uses of the Erotic: the Erotic as Power.” There are some ad-libs, but this reading is pretty faithful to the final text, which can be found in Lorde’s essay collection Sister Outsider, among other anthologies. One of the most important essays of the 20th century.
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