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- // no.09
- Mary & Lily
At 57 years old, I am now clearly an ‘older’ woman. Although I feel strong and comfortable in my body now, it has been a long and complex journey to get here and one that has been shaped by mixed messages from society as well as the comments of others.
Since I shaved my head I’ve found times when I’ve really not felt feminine. I stopped shaving and that made me feel unfeminine at times too. I realised (and am still realising) that femininity is not defined by how I look or act and that being a woman can’t be boxed.
My name is Julia. And I am a fighter. I was the first female trainee in my hospital in Lithuania to become a neurosurgeon. Medicine is still plagued with medieval traditions and ways, from bullying to discrimination and plain disrespect from seniors doctors towards their juniors.
I am very comfortable in my own skin - it’s almost easier to be naked than to wear beautiful lingerie. Until recently, I found the idea of highlighting my beauty a way of attracting unwanted attention, objectifying myself, it made me want to crawl into some dark corner. I’m a dancer-actor and I’ve always found the stage a much safer place to be, than society.
Bisexual, Queer and (bewitchingly) Femme. These words that are often used, or seen as, derogatory or marginalising labels make me feel empowered. Each one of these words - bisexual, queer, femme - make me feel confident in who I am, and sexy from the surface of my skin to the core of my being. So why do three words, which make me feel so strong, also unwillingly carry such prevalent connotations to sexism & co? Or, more accurately, why do sexists think that these words are negative and therefore use them in hateful speech?