This month is all about the Nasty Woman
In 2016, presidential-hopeful Hillary Clinton told the world that she had plans to improve US Social Security programs by raising the taxes of the wealthy. She knew, of course, that this would mean she herself would pay more taxes. And as she pointed out, so would her opponent—“assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it,” she quipped.
And that was when US President Donald Trump called her “such a nasty woman.” Essentially and quite ironically, he birthed a feminist movement. Because of him, his comment and some help from a classic Janet Jackson song, women everywhere were owning up to the title.
Nasty, in its dictionary-definition, is synonymous with “unpleasant” and “disagreeable.” Basically, the opposite of what a woman “should” be: graceful, quiet, courteous, something to look at. But a poem—a battle cry, really—from Nina Mariah Donovan called #NastyWoman, puts things into perspective:
This is not a feminist myth;
this is inequality.
So we are not here to be debunked
We are here to be respected.
We are here to be nasty
like blood stained bedsheets.
You may be afraid of the truth
But I'm not afraid to be honest
I'm not afraid to be nasty
Yeah, I'm nasty.
The Nasty Woman is not who our grandmothers may have wanted us to be. She is not picture-perfection personified, she is loud and unapologetic and opinionated. She isn’t naïve and she thinks for herself. She sits how she wants to sit, dresses how she wants to dress and refuses to be one-dimensional because she knows there is so much more to do and get done and be.
The Nasty Woman sees the likes of Ashley Judd, Reese Witherspoon and Kristen Bell and doesn’t lose all hope for Hollywood. She sees young women like Greta Thunberg and Rowan Blanchard and knows the next generation is in slightly better hands. She revels at the successes of General Motors CEO Mary Barra and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, knowing that maybe the lines between “male” and “female” industries might one day be a thing of the past—that maybe the gender pay gap will one day be fiction.
Think Charlotte Pickles from The Rugrats, Mulan from Mulan, Lisa from The Simpsons, Daria from Daria and Eliza Thornberry from The Wild Thornberrys. Consider the penned characters of Jo March, Elizabeth Bennet, Scout Finch and Stargirl. Think the strong women that raised us, put up with us and still came out loving us (but disregard their “kababae mong tao” comments every time you didn’t brush your hair or got home a little past curfew).
For all of these reasons and examples, I want to be the Nasty Woman. I want the confidence to speak my mind and the courage to do so as the time calls for it—without putting anyone else down, of course. I want to live by my own definition of beauty and create a circle that allows other people to do the same. I want to ask for what I deserve and be treated with respect and fairness. I want my nieces to know they can demand the space they’re taking up and do with it what they will.
Forget being made of sugar, spice and everything nice. We want our girls to grow into nasty women. May we know her, hear her, raise her, understand her. May we be her.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver