V is for vixen

"She was a vixen and though she be but little, she is fierce." -William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Nights Dream

The word "vixen" has had some mixed connotations over time. Just do a search for it on Urban Dictionary and you'll see how blurred the lines are. The definitions range from suggesting that a vixen is a swinger, to an actual female fox, to a lady on the streets but a freak in the sheets. So what is a vixen really and why all of the twisted connotations?

The word itself dates back to Old English, originally spelled "fyxan" and simply meaning female fox. In the 1570's the word adapted to mean "an ill-tempered woman," according to The Online Etymology Dictionary. Society seems to have taken that twist on the archaic word and ran with it. In A Midsummer Nights Dream, Helena says about Hermia, "She was a vixen and though she be but little, she is fierce," perhaps giving rise to the notion that a vixen is someone whose ferocity is unsuspected or shocking. Of course, with society's tendency to over-sexualize women, the word has been manipulated throughout pop culture and regular speech to become derogatory in nature. In Miguel's song "Vixen," he suggests that being a vixen involves a bit of promiscuity.
You will be my vixen
My bed'll be your stage
You will get the spotlight all night
Each and every time we play

The word is also mentioned in the song " She" by The Misfits sexualizing the concept of virginity on the verge of breaking.

She was virgin vixen
She was on the run.

It's no wonder that the top definition on Urban Dictionary for vixen is "A wife or girlfriend in a committed relationship who seeks a male for nsa sex with the permission of and usually in front of her stag husband or boyfriend, without any bi-sexual play or humiliation of her stag." The very next definition is, "Totally gorgeous and amazing human female. With the cutest smile and a sweet ass body. Loves partying and drinks a lot but is still incredibly smart. But be warned, can get extremely horny and may jump you unexpectedly." While these definitions are describing completely different women, the bottom line is universal: women who are keen to embrace their sexuality are fantasized, scrutinized, and claimed by the male population. In the past, this has caused women to cover up, act meek, and keep quiet about their sexual desires so as not to attract any unwanted attention. On the contrary, we are currently in a sort of female sexual reawakening, a renaissance of female pleasure if you will. The sex toy industry is thriving designing their product to be stylish and desirable with 44% of women across the world having used a sex toy according to Statistic Brain. Clothing trends reflect this newfound appreciation for female sexuality by incorporating nightwear and braless designs into everyday fashion. Females are seeking fitness remedies that empower them and unleash their sexuality. I, like the masses, decided if being a vixen is bad, then I don't want to be good and tried my hand at the Vixen Workout, a fitness craze that has been sweeping the nation.

Founder Janet Jones-Veloso was a former professional dancer and entertainer who left the industry to enter corporate America "in search of being more 'accepted' as a women in society." Ultimately, she realized she was stifling that part of herself and wasn't connecting with who she was trying to be because it wasn't who she was. She says, "Maybe [other women] never had the chance to connect with themselves, because they've shut off their inner light along the way just as I did, or because they haven't discovered that light at all." That's when she decided to garner the passion she had for performing and share it with women all over the world by founding a fitness empire built on the philosophy of "stay hungry live fierce." For Janet, that meant encouraging herself and other women to embrace their sexuality, love their body, and express themselves through dance. Vixen Workout is now available in Miami, NYC, and dancers around the world have the ability to become an instructor and bring Vixen to your region.

Vixen Founder, Janet

Upon entering the class, the instructor encouraged us to find a place in the room that felt good, and most importantly, not to stop moving. Continuous movement is a key component of Vixen workout philosophy. At the beginning of class they teach you two key poses to use anytime you get tired that are active but allow you to catch your breath. They also encourage you to just make it up if you get off. Everyone was a little shy at first and understandably so; the majority of us were total strangers and we were about to shake what our mamas gave us. The workout involves a series of repeated dance moves that are seriously sexy. The repetition helps to get rid of the stress of picking up choreography but there's multiple sections per song so it really feels like you're learning a full routine. The best part is that the moves don't have to be exact , so you can put your personal flair on each one. As the first few songs played the moves were mild and exactly what you'd think: lots of body rolls, hip swings, and hair flips, but as the class progressed so did the moves. I wouldn't exactly consider myself a conservative person, but even my eyes widened when the choreography required us to drop it low and run our hand down our chest. Though it took a moment to adjust, as soon as we all got used to the fact that it was ok to celebrate our bodies magic happened.

It's hard to describe the feeling in that resonated in the room when we all dropped our guards. It was electric. Energy bounced from all corners of the large studio. My classmates and I beamed and our eyes were lit up. Ladies, we were truly feeling ourselves. It was as small scale as letting go of stress after a long Monday and as large scale of letting go of a history of sexual suppression and censorship- all without actually saying anything. It doesn't matter how old you are or where you come from, all women have trouble taking time for themselves. We are bred from a early age to care: about our image, about our friends, about our boyfriends, about our husbands, about our children. I'm not saying it's a bad thing. In ways, it's our super power, but it is sometimes all consuming. We forget about how smart, sexy, and powerful we as an individual are. We lose our identity in the things and people we care about. Vixen Workout encourages you to reclaim yourself. New York instructor Davanna Law says, " [It's] about women embracing their sexuality and it being an all inclusive workout meaning no matter the body type, background; we love and support you." I saw with my own eyes that this is 100% true.

Us after class with our instructors Davanna (center) and Daniela (back right)

Along with Vixen so many other workouts have emerged in mainstream fitness that are encouraging women to break out of their shells have fun, feel sexy, and sweat it out like lyra and pole dancing and I'm on a quest to demystify them for you. One of my favorite parts about Vixen workouts was the sense of community it yielded. They even have an adorable athleisure line if you want to make it known that you've joined the #vixenarmy. We walked into the room total strangers and we walked out friends that felt like we accomplished something together. The instructors lifted us up all class and encouraged us to do the same for one another and that infectious girl love is what we need in a society where our rights and progress are being threatened everyday. So, I'll wear my red V proudly. I'm happy to be a vixen and live by the Vixen Workout motto "stay hungry, live fierce."

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Anie Delgado is a contributor to Popdust and is an actress and musician based in NYC. Follow her on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter and check out her music on Spotify. Press inquiries here.

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