Whitney Pastorek
January 04, 2009 AT 12:00 PM EST

Attention all women! Congratulations! You are women! And from Jan. 5-11, you should feel free to be as empowered as you wish, because this is the one week of the year in which we are encouraged to do so! Sure, it seems like something that should go without saying — like how my dad used to insist that there isn’t a “Children’s Day” because every day is Children’s Day — but then I turn on any form of media and I find my fellow females debasing themselves in all sorts of exciting new ways and I think to myself, “Well, maybe we do need one of these.”

So when my darling editor Mike Bruno asked if anyone wanted to write something to commemorate this splendid occasion, I volunteered. Then I wrote like 27 different really shrill posts — several of which involved decrying the ongoing usage and seeming acceptance of the term “cougar” to describe any woman who has decided not to shrivel up and die in her mid-30s — before settling on the following:

I am declaring my personal mascot for Women’s Self-Empowerment Week to be Lily Allen (pictured)! I cannot wait for her new album, It’s Not Me, It’s You. Below, I have embedded the video for the first single, “The Fear,” and I have also included a bonus embed of her cover of Britney Spears’ “Womanizer,” which does the impossible and actually finds something resembling human emotion within the half-English of that chorus. (Oh, Britney Spears. Please take full advantage of this week!)

Why is Lily Allen my WS-EW Queen? It’s quite simple: Because she became famous for wearing trainers with prom dresses. Because she curses like a really smart sailor. Because she suffered true tragedy quietly, but suffers small indignities as loud as she can. Because she hates Perez. Because she does what she wants, when she wants, and doesn’t apologize for it, unless she does apologize for it, and then it’s the least apologetic apology you’ll ever hear. She is fully herself at all times, even as she’s still figuring out who that self is, and really couldn’t give a rip whether that’s okay with anyone or not. And that, my estrogen buddies, is the definition of empowered. Actually, screw that: Lily Allen is just plain powerful. I hate the idea that as women we need to tiptoe up to our strength like a heavy barbell and be condescendingly applauded when we lift it. Argh. Oh, there I go getting shrill again.

Anyway. PopWatchers! Who are your Women’s Self-Empowerment Week Mascots? Can be singers, actresses, newswomen (you go, Campbell Brown), authors, whatever. Raise your voices, sisters! Let the river run!

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