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The many myths of the ‘strong woman’!

Oh-oh-oh mysterious girl…

Cambridge University cambridge women feminisim Strong woman

The Loch Ness Monster, dragons, werewolves, and unicorns are a few of the many mythological beings that elude us mere mortals. Yet, the most mysterious creature of all remains the much revered 'strong woman', and the high, but often hypocritical demands placed upon her. Fear not, my self-identifying female friends, I can confirm that a 'strong woman' is an entirely 'flawed' but incredible being. Let's break all the myths surrounding her…

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The strong women of ancient times engaging in the common practice of getting absolutely wasted.

1. She's never a drunk mess

I can confirm that the realm of being drunk and messy is not reserved for the weak-willed or 'the lad'. While it is perfectly acceptable to be teetotal, we cannot ignore the fact that some girls like to get a little binned from time to time. Singing Les Mis in the middle of Market Square, or being awoken by your neighbours as they find you asleep on the staircase (twice) are entirely permissible practices for a 'strong woman'. These antics extend to your phone, where drunken declarations of love for your friends or even a transcript of the lyrics to "Feed 'em to the Lions" in the group-chat are acceptable.

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A fundamental part of the hydrological cycle is the female who cries directly onto the college lawn.

2. She doesn't cry

Stop holding back those tears and embrace the fact that you 'cry like a girl'. It takes a special form of courage to accept and express your emotions via the medium of excessive sobbing. It is a well-known fact that in week 5, Sainsbury's sees a 63% increase in tissue sales, and that 1 in every 5 Freshers wake up with puffy eyes at least once by the end of Michaelmas term. So if you find yourself producing enough water to help maintain your college lawn, or in excessive cases perhaps even enough to fill the Cam, then, contrary to popular opinion, you are not 'weak'.

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Nothing says solidarity like the perfect alignment of glitter.

3. She doesn't wear make-up

While the bare face is a bold and beautiful choice, cosmetics can also provide a radical source of self-expression. From eyeliner so sharp it could kill a man at ten paces, to lips as red as the bricks of Robinson college, the options are endless. I can confirm from personal experience that getting the perfect alignment of glittery dots on your face after half a bottle of Pinot displays a certain unique artistic ability devoid of any form of weakness.

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Caught on camera: an unimpressed woman whose uterus is screaming in pain.

4. She doesn't have PMS

As much as a period is not a requirement to be a 'strong woman', exhibiting PMS is also not a sign of weakness. Contrary to romanticised advertising campaigns, the correct sanitary product does not deliver an overwhelming sense of joy, often accompanied by a backdrop of rainbows and flowers. The 'strong woman' doesn't overcome the irrationalities of 'menstrual rage'; she embraces them. Shouting at the idiot on a bike that nearly knocked you over on Kings Parade or leaving a passive-aggressive post-it note for the prat who stole your chocolate from the fridge are entirely acceptable forms of behaviour. Additionally, anyone forced to endure the feeling of sitting on a bicycle seat while on their period deserves a medal of valour; not to be labelled as weak!

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Next week on Planet Earth: a 'strong woman' rapping to Kanye West at the Selwyn Snowball.

5. She only listens to Beyoncé

There is no denying the power of 'Single Ladies' to get a group of gals feeling empowered. However, the musical preferences of a 'strong woman' are not confined to merely "liking it" and "putting a ring on it". Many a 'strong woman' has been known to erg to a cheeky bit of Childish Gambino, or maybe even conclude her essays with Bodak Yellow blaring in the background. Don't be afraid to embrace the cheesier stuff, making a karaoke party to 'Defying Gravity' and 'Hakuna Matata' in your gyp room a fundamental component of your weekly schedule. So whether you're into a Wonder-ful bit of Stevie (don't shoot me), you're a musical theatre snob, or love a bit of grime, your musical preferences don't define your status as a woman – strong or not.

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Gender unity in the pursuit of the almighty 'traffic cone'.

6. She hates men ​

Probably one of the most common misconceptions about 'strong women' is that they have an insatiable hatred for all men. While certain elements of 'lad culture' deserve to be criticised, this doesn't mean that you can't be friends with the opposite sex! A delightful Sunday evening spent watching 'Wild Child' or 'Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging' does not need to be confined to an exclusively single-sex group. Just as much fun can be had with your male counterparts, whether this entails a game of pool, cooking up a storm in the gyp room, or even an excursion to steal a traffic cone from outside Girton college. A real sign of strength is a recognition that you are friends with a PERSON, not with their specific gender.

Contrary to popular mythology, the 'strong woman' is no specific being with no single set of values, tastes or preferences. The only requirement necessary is choosing to identify yourself, your emotions, your messy moments (we all have a few!), your highs, and even your lows, as an intrinsic part of the 'strong woman' that you are!