Being a woman used to mean being a compliant wife, a nurturing mother, a damsel in distress, a man’s property, an object of desire… the list goes on. Women were taught how to dress, speak and behave; sit down and shut up. Most women didn’t have careers, with the exception of teachers, nurses, seamstresses, maids and other jobs that were considered to be appropriately feminine.
But those days are long gone!
The definition of womanhood has been shifting throughout the decades in different parts of the world. Today, being a woman means…
Confident & Comfortable in Your Own Skin
Historically, beauty standards for women have always been Eurocentric. For many years, women have been assailed by a message perpetuated by the media, a message that women with fair skin, thin bodies and anglo-saxon features are the epitome of female beauty. This has a detrimental impact on women of color, who typically do not fit society’s narrow definition of beauty.
Fortunately, beauty ideals have evolved over recent years and are now more inclusive. All shapes, shades and sizes can be seen gracing magazine covers, walking down red carpets, starring in films, playing relatable characters and telling authentic stories.
Strong & Successful
Strong probably isn’t a word traditionally used to describe women. But it sure is now. Because our strength comes from a profound understanding of dependence and powerlessness.
From literary figure Jane Austen to Polish scientist Marie Curie, from youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai to America’s first female Vice President Kamala Harris, women have continuously pushed boundaries, broken through barriers, and made history. Or should I say, herstory.
Young girls ought to be taught that they are not supporting roles in a man’s world, but main characters in control of their own narratives and capable of groundbreaking achievements.
Supportive of Your Sisters
Our culture, to this day, pits women against each other, with the insidious message that our looks equate our worth, with the idiotic competition of Who Gets The Guy, with the scarcity of opportunities for women in the workplace.
This fear of being replaced keeps women scrambling at the feet of men, constantly vying for their attention, seeking validation. This fear of not being “good enough” keeps women distracted, making us forget who the real culprit is.
Instead of belittling other women, we should empower them. Instead of being bitter over another woman’s accomplishments, we should celebrate her triumphs. Instead of tearing each other down, we should come together as one and build each other up.
Because a woman alone has power, but collectively we have impact.
Though there are still unfinished battles, women have come a long way, fighting for a seat at the table, fighting to be heard and seen as equals. So for now, let us lay down our armor, play our anthem and celebrate!