I’m a feminist. I’ve been a woman for a long time now. It’d be stupid not to be on my own side.
– Maya Angelou
SPOILER: Not the F word people came here to see.
Before we all cover our eyes and run in the opposite direction like we’re being attacked by a rabid animal, let me just say that I’m not here to discuss the topic of equality. That’s a slippery slope and I’m too opinionated and frankly uncoordinated to hop on that train quite yet. I’m actually writing this post to talk about another important part of feminism that needs some tweaking–women empowerment.
The concept of feminism is quite simple. It consists of equal parts equality and equal parts empowerment. The second part seems to be lacking any sort of development within the gender that are fighting for it. This part of the equation is so significant, yet we as women are the very first to bring each other down. Before we can start trying to change the way this posse of men think, we have to start changing the way we think.
Congrats, ignorance is here and it’s here to stay (been around longer than most of my relationships). We can’t and shouldn’t ask men to think a certain way, or behave a certain way, if we aren’t willing to behave that way ourselves. It’s very easy to post photos, or quotes, or videos about the topic of women empowerment, but are you actually out there trying to make a difference? How long are we going to fight a battle that we ourselves have yet to conquer? I’ve lost count of the times I’ve witnessed women bringing each other down, and that to me is the root of the problem. How can we ask men to believe in us when I’ve seen more than enough discouragement and dehumanizing comments to prove that we don’t believe in each other. No one is going to take us seriously if that’s how we choose to behave–and I don’t blame them.
When I started high school, I spent most of my time viewing everyone around me as if that was something I needed to strive for in order to be “worth” something. Putting each other down seemed to be part of our everyday lives, and if you’re doing life the right way, that should change you as a person–hopefully in a positive way. Time and time again I came home hurting–as I’m sure many of you girls had as well. I couldn’t understand why we all (including myself, no I’m not perfect) seemed to think that insults and mockery was the way to survive those four horrendous years. Hopefully as we all grew older and experienced life outside of that, we’ve realized that insulting someone’s clothes does not make yours better quality. Laughing at a person’s hair doesn’t make yours shinier, and telling someone they smell doesn’t make any of us believe you aren’t the one full of bulls**t. We should have started treating each other kindly a long time ago.
Nevertheless, one thing I know for sure, is if we all as women want to feel empowered within ourselves and move forward, we must first put forth the effort to empower others.
The question isn’t whether or not we can do that, I’m confident we can. The questions is are we willing to do that? Are we willing to hop off our high horse and see the world for what it is…imperfect? When we say that we are willing, are we going to actually put forth an effort and challenge ourselves, or are we going to create a board on Pinterest full of wonderful intentions, yet not act on them? I believe most of us women can do anything, but I think it’s important that we prove it to each other. Prove that we are powerful. Prove that we can do it. Prove that we have changed in regards to believing in each other in order to force change within everybody else. If we spend all our time belittling each other, we are only adding fuel to the fire of the concept that women are just “full of drama”. Prove that we are as mighty as we say by showing the world that we are strong enough to let go of our judgements and harshness and accept each other.
I’m not saying you aren’t allowed to have your opinions, I’m not here to rewrite the first amendment. Freedom of speech is freedom of speech and who am I to say any different. What I am saying however is to listen to the old saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say”. I believe that it takes an exceptionally strong individual to grasp that concept, and do their best to live by it. If we can do that, and show the world we can, then we are already one step closer to the finish line.
The fact of life is that everything has to be earned, in one way or another. When the Women’s Suffrage Movement began, we rallied, protested, and worked our butts off together in order to be recognized. We supported each other, and helped each other grow, because we knew that if we didn’t take that initial step, we’d get nowhere. Actions speak louder than words, and our actions together are important. I believe if we work together and challenge ourselves as a unit we’ll move a lot faster.
I’m not here saying no one knows this information. I’m sure plenty of women do. However, I do think there’s a huge chunk of us who think if we complain enough, things will go our way. In a perfect world, would everyone wake up one morning and have an epiphany, sure. In the real world, the one where no one is perfect and ignorance seems to be rapidly growing like a 15 year old boy who hit puberty, that’s not going to happen. So we need to step up, quit putting each other down, and decide that we have to do it as a team.
Then after you’ve done this, if it tickles your fancy–you can pick at the brains of the men around you.
Go big or go home.