I had to bring up myself to write this because of the mainstream narrative that feminism has been engaging in to the detriment of its purpose: uplifting women. Feminism is admirable in essence, the motives behind the movement are noble, and everyone, man or woman, ought to support the cause for gender equality no matter what their race, religion or political opinions are. With this being said, I encourage everyone to look at the nature of the posts, talks and videos shared on the subject, and how Feminism has framed its narrative for women:
You can never succeed because you’re paid half as men.
Women cannot thrive because they are harassed in the workforce.
Girls cannot be celebrated for their achievements because they will be called bossy.
Female discrimination will not allow a greater socio-economic independence for women.
Don’t use Emma Watson as an icon for feminism because she isn’t representative of the struggle.
Don’t mention Sheryl Sandberg because not all women are as privileged.
Do you see anything wrong with this? I mean they are factual, but all of them are negative in spirit, it’s about the “can’t” and “won’t”, it’s about failure and fatality, it’s about what women cannot have or do.
My point is, only framing the discussion through the lenses of what women cannot do or get will ultimately make women accustomed to only their social limitations. Instead of breeding positivity, telling women that yes they can do it, yes they can succeed, yes they can overcome these challenges, yes there are ways to fight their way up, is what’s going to truly uplift them.
I for a starters, don’t want my daughter growing up listening to women saying that females can’t succeed because they get paid less, or because they get raped more, or because they are harassed… I’ll tell my daughter that we’re not defined by what we lack, but by what we have extra, and that for her, I want her to put that extra effort, to walk that extra mile and to show everyone that yes I might be a woman, but I’ll never give you a chance to hold that against me.
We need to be more positive, more encouraging, more supportive. Of course we need voices to remind everyone why women have it so hard, and we need to shock people into realizing the injustice perpetuated against women, but at the same time we need voices that can push women to believe and be determined. We need more voices like Sheryl Sandberg who wants women to “Lean In”. We need more people like Marissa Mayer who can take a stance against Feminism-monopolists and show that there are many ways to support gender equality.
When Malcom X and Martin Luther King were addressing african-americans, they were reminding them of how important they are, how powerful they can be, how successful they can become if they support each other and establish themselves. It was a movement based on positivity and pro-activity. Today, this is needed more than ever in the ranks of feminism.
Women, you’re awesome, you’re great, you’re powerful, and you’re as deserving of every right out there as any man, if not more. Don’t see your gender as a social issue that will hold you back forever. Don’t see yourself trapped forever because you happen to be a woman. Don’t think that you’re not destined for success because your destiny has been sealed the day you were born. Think positively. Don’t think about what you lack, think about what you can bring more to the table. It’s with this mindset that change can happen, and change starts within each and every one of us. don’t expect society to improve and give you your rights, fight for them, and show them how great you are!
Photo Credit: Forbes