I get a little bit sick in my mouth when I see people, women, posting about female empowerment because it’s International Women’s Day. And then spend the rest of the year doing absolutely nothing to help or support other women or do anything to encourage gender equality.
Let’s face it, and I’ve talked about this before, many women are the absolute worst at supporting other women. They’d rather bitch and moan and tear each other down. The female misogynist is alive and well and coming to a school gate near you very soon!
Hashtagging a photo ‘Girl Power’ is a far cry from real female empowerment. Let me explain……
Real female Equality
Feminism has come a long way since it’s early days when the Suffragettes marched for the right to vote. The simple definition is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression. At its core feminism is social, political and economic equality. For many that is baffling.
Female Empowerment is not about the sisterhood or any girl gang. Men can be feminists too. It’s quite acceptable for men to stand up for the rights of women. To demand that they are paid equally to them. Treated with the same respect as them. Given the same freedoms as them.
Women don’t have to be anti-men to be feminist. It’s ok for women to ask that a man is treated equally to them. How many men feel equal in their childcare responsibilities?
Feminine or Feminist?
I love this one, but somehow, it’s like you need to dress a certain way, not wear makeup or shave your body hair to be a feminist. If you wear a pretty dress, heels and slap on the makeup then you can’t be a feminist because that’s a submissive, feminine look. Like the pretty little girl next door who will marry the boy next door, who will provide for her whilst she has no career and raises their three kids, being given her pocket money to do so. Please, quit with the stereotypes. When you post those stupid girl gang selfies with your arm muscles on show, because you think that makes you look “strong” and claim it’s all girl power, you are quite literally playing into those stereotypes.
Strong isn’t about your physical strength, your lifting weights ability in the gym or run a marathon. It’s about using your voice, being strong enough to stand up for yourself and others. Being a woman who knows her worth and the value she brings and not being afraid to do exactly that. To be a strong woman is to value your independence. Not rely on anyone else for your self-worth and not think the only status you have in life is your marital status or being a mother. That’s not to say you have to be single and childless to be a feminist. Not at all. You can be married and still be an equal.
You shouldn’t lose your individual identity because you stick Mrs in front of your name. And you certainly shouldn’t be asking for permission to be an individual. I actually know women who don’t show public support for certain things because, and I quote, “their husband wouldn’t like it”. They also post on Facebook about girl power. I’m surprised my eyes don’t roll out of my head when I see those posts. Did he marry a Stepford wife?
Embrace Your female Power
As a woman, you have your own unique voice. Your own views, opinions and talents. Don’t let any of that be dictated by your husband, friends, family; the need to keep up with the other school gate mums. But, I also know from first-hand experience that being an individual female, acting independently and using my voice, this tends to not go down well. And not just with men. Those women who need you to conform to make them feel better about conforming, will shun you, tear you down and although they may be friendly to your face, don’t expect any support from them. You’ve got to learn to go your own way and sometimes it can be lonely.
They will label you aggressive for being assertive. Bossy for being a leader. Difficult for speaking up. Too much for demanding a seat at the table or a voice in the conversation. Awkward for asking difficult questions. And they will turn on you in the blink of an eye.
But girls, please, continue to be all those things. Continue to not ask for permission and wear your highest heels and brightest lipstick, stand out in the crowd and be the leader that you were born to be. Tell them exactly where to stick that offer of “coffee and a chat” when they slide into your DM’s on LinkedIn. Charge for your skills. Yes, you can pick my brains but it comes with an invoice that you will be paying (and not in-kind). And that invoice will be at the same rate a man would charge.
This ladies is how you stay empowered, not with a selfie and a virtue-signalling hashtag.