By Ariana Rassouli

This past year was undoubtedly monumental for the women’s rights movement.

Millions of people from all walks of life celebrated womanhood. From the Women’s March to the #MeToo movement, the voices of women everywhere have burgeoned onto the main stage. But what does it really mean to be a woman? Obviously, every woman could describe her own experience in her own way, but I have defined my experience as multi-layered, colorful, and intuitive. This mystifying manner of womanhood defies race, class, and cultural upbringing. There’s an indistinguishable note inside of every woman that embodies life’s secret work. Yet when women are shunned for their flamboyance, their strength, their weakness, their womanhood, it’s no secret that this oppression affects women, and is the reason why some women represent this subdued version of themselves.

Women who have the power to be unequivocally themselves, in whatever way that may be, are powerful. That is why I challenged my friends to become their alter-egos for the night.

I asked them simply: If you could wear, feel, and be anything you wanted to be, what would it look like?

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"On a day to day basis I feel like my consciousness is pretty concerned with social norms, societal judgements, and other humbling concerns. But my alter ego has unhindered confidence. Bluntly stated, my alter ego doesn't give a fuck. Which isn't a very stable way to live or interact with others consistently, but is something that empowers me when I need it." (Photo by Ariana Rassouli)



"I would name the alter ego depicted here Jade. She’s not afraid to be herself in spite of the attention her peacocking garners- in fact she thrives under scrutiny. Jade’s otherworldly edgy factor is equal parts unsettling and welcoming. Her favorite genre- electronic music- also straddles embrace of the familiar and repulse to the new." (Photo by Isabel Bina)



My alter ego is called EffortlesslyChic. Also the name for my fashion blog, I express my artistic facet through my passion for and exploration of fashion. My daily life consists of going to school, doing my homework... and dreaming of achieving success in the fashion industry. EffortlesslyChic is my escape from the realities of life." (Photo by Isabel Bina)

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“My alter ego is all I want to be, all the light I wish to shine, and all the change I hope to become: me at my fullest potential. Womanhood to me is knowing every woman is worthy of all the love she desires and all the respect she deserves. It’s practicing self-love and knowing when to stick up for yourself.” (Photo by Ariana Rassouli)



"This photograph emulates the juxtaposition of my identity as a Persian woman, a girl who loves being immersed in her culture vs. my alter ego: an American born girl breaking away from the stereotypes and conventional ways of the culture, and finding my identity as an American woman studying at an all american university and not letting my culture and traditions hinder my ability to surpass the limitations that my Persian background at times comes with." (Photo by Isabel Bina)