Fierce, Fragile & Feminine

Tomorrow is September 11 and a day that most of us will pause as we remember where we were and what we were doing during those moments. In addition to cutting short the lives of nearly 3,000 innocent people, the tragedy also set in motion events that would change the course of the lives of family and friends of the victims as well as a way of life in the US and worldwide. 18 years ago in the midst of one of the most tragic events in modern US history we saw various representations of being fierce, fragile & feminine. September 11 is also a personal remembrance for the 10th anniversary of my mother passing from a brief battle with breast & brain cancer. Looking back over these 10 years, I still see vividly where these three words were so much a part of me then as well as now.

These two momentous occasions got me thinking more about being Fierce, Fragile & Feminine.


Merriam-Webster has two fantastic definitions that I feel captures the word.

          Adjective: having or showing a lot of strong emotion: very strong or intense

          Informal: having or expressing bold confidence or style

So, the next time you think about being fierce, picture yourself as:

          A woman who looks in the mirror, sees her flaws (you know we all do) but looks past that and says, “I’m beautiful just the way I am” and knows that inside and out.

          A woman who builds other women up instead of tearing them down, because she understands the importance of a tribe, and how much better it can make yourself to help be the person that nurtures another one to stand tall. 

         A  woman who has tough days, days where she might cry, and question everything she’s doing, and in the end, she knows she’s human for it, and knows in her heart and soul she’s doing ok and tomorrow will be better. 


Kind of crazy to put fierce AND fragile together isn’t it? But I believe in pros/cons, yin/yang, zig/zag…you get my drift. So why not take a look at fragile.

Rather than using Webster’s definition of fragile, I found this synonym frangible (never knew this was a word) which implies ‘susceptibility to being broken without implying weakness or delicacy. I. LOVE. THAT! Maybe it’s because I’m a child of the 60s, but it seems that often we accept the ‘con’ definition of fragile as ‘easily broken or destroyed, delicate: lacking in vigor.

Let’s be honest and real. We all have those moments of feeling the later in definition. We’ve been beat down, spit out and tromped on and maybe even feel it’s easier to throw in the towel. But now that I know the word frangible…I’m down with having those susceptible broken moments knowing that there is NO implication of weakness or delicacy admitted.


No need for Merriam-Webster here as we all know the definition of this word. But, putting these three words together makes sense to me. As women, we can be confused with letting our fears and insecurities show…especially in the workplace. And, it seems like more than ever before a double standard can almost immobilize our actions as we get categorized as ‘too fragile’ and ‘overly feminine’. It’s time to stop this stereotyping (in our own head & by others) and accept that I can be Fierce, Fragile & Feminine. I can speak up and stand for what I believe in. 

We are allowed to be soft and strong and fierce and fragile. There is magic in our ability to bend without breaking and to rise above without falling. We have always been more than enough. ~ Alex Elle

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