Until yesterday, I didn't know what a Gibson Girl was. But after reading an article about Gibson's illustrative creation in the Washington Post Express, I can now have a new identifier for myself.
A Gibson Girl has all of the qualities that I possess (or at least I like to think so. I'm working on it!). For one, she's beautiful: she dresses in the latest styles and always looks feminine. But she's not weak. She's athletic (which meant riding bikes in the late 1800's but now means going to the gym regularly, practicing yoga, playing tennis, etc.). She's educated and cultured, having attended college and taking enjoyment in the arts (I became a member of the Kennedy Center this year!). She also knows that when it comes to dating (or I suppose "courting" in those days), she has the upper hand. In the end, she makes the decision of which suitor to choose, and she will not settle.
THIS is my idea of a feminist. Neither Gibson nor I identify a feminist (in a positive way) as a woman who pickets at a rally or dresses like a man or doesn't take care of her body because she's not going to conform to society's idea of beauty. A feminist in my eyes is a woman who makes the choice to be a strong woman. Strong in the body and mind, but feminine in demeanor and looks. Being beautiful and having a body that could be considered the "ideal" for men in America doesn't discount a woman (i.e. me) from being a feminist. Demonstrating her ideas through civil conversation rather than violent or "un-lady-like" behavior also does not mean this woman is not a feminist.
I accept the fact that I am a woman, I love being a woman, and I will use the fact that I am a woman to my advantage. A feminist who victimizes women as the disadvantaged sex is not a feminist at all. I will play the hand that I have been dealt, and I will win.