"You're giving me mean face, mommy!"
My four-year-old daughter says I give her "mean face." It's usually when we are rushing out the door, and she absolutely must change outfits one more time. Beauty trumps all with her. She is a sensitive and beautiful tornado of clothes and sparkles and impractical shoes. She will not be ignored! She is all girl. Sensitive and feminine. Twirly dresses and snails in her pockets (she rescues them... from what, I don't know!)
Before I had my daughter, I could argue to the death that beauty is overvalued. Now, when I see my daughter in all her beautiful sparkles, I see how undervalued beauty is. I see how negatively I've viewed my own femininity, sensitivity. I've hated the parts of me that make me me.
Through my sweet, twirling, finger-nail-polishing daughter, I've learned to appreciate beauty. Femininity. Pretty dresses. Sparkly shoes.
Which brings me to nature - yes Mother Nature.
The word Mother Nature makes me cringe. I hear it, and I recoil. I want to run from it. Which brings me to the word environmentalist. As much as I want to call myself an environmentalist, I struggle with the word and its connotation. I'm not the only one.
The Urban Dictionary's definition of an environmentalist is a "euphemism for pussy."
My favorite researcher Brene Brown writes "don't be a pussy" is the top shame message men receive. "Am I beautiful enough" tops the list for women. So men and women have something in common. Men feel shame when associated with femininity (being a pussy), and women feel shame from their own femininity and beauty.
So you see, I think societies resistance to protecting (dare I say it) Mother Nature, is connected to our shame around femininity and beauty. Which may also explain why more women than men say people will have to make major lifestyle changes to reduce the effects of global climate change. 75% of women compared to 57% of American men according to Pew Research.
A Force Of Nature
Mother Nature is feminine. Beautiful and sensitive like my sweet daughter, Madeleine. Her beauty has value and depth. Femininity makes Madeleine Madeleine. Just like masculinity makes my son Jacob Jacob. Both have equal value. Neither is worth more or less.
Madeleine's girliness is intense. She is a blur of tulle and her just-so ponytail. She does not stop moving. She is a force of nature. So I will do my very best to raise her up high, to love her for her. To not give her "mean face" when she cries because she absolutely must change dresses one more time.
So I'll do my best to protect Mother Nature to the best of my ability, and see her for who she is. Sensitive and beautiful. Valuable and feminine.