Like any great story, it all started on Facebook.
There I was, scrolling through my news feed like any other day and I see a status from an individual that is young, successful, and [who I find] respectable. It was supposed to read as an encouraging text, about successful women, but it rubbed me the wrong way. I won’t go into depth about what the status actually said, but he used the phrase “be a GOAL digger, not a GOLD digger”. **Cue hundreds of women liking, sharing, and commenting their agreement.**
Then I got to thinking. We have come so far in terms of feminism, and yet we are still so far from the final line. Yes, women can now be whatever we want to be, but the fine print that no one seems to be reading is that the restrains are even more limiting than they were before. In an era where we are supposed to be free, I sometimes think that we are restricting ourselves more than ever.
My interpretation about feminism is that it should be two things–intersectional and encouraging. Intersectional meaning that equal rights are for all people. Cis, fat, trans*, skinny, White, Black–it doesn’t matter. All women are worthy of being treated as human beings. That being said, the part that we struggle with more comes from the encouraging part. Time and time again, it is said that women are catty and vicious people; that we will break you down emotionally and not even blink. We’ve seen this countless times in the media, from Mean Girls to Real Housewives. Even makeover shows, while a guilty pleasure of mine, are essentially the same thing. They tell women that they are flawed and not good enough as they are. That to be successful, to be “worthy” of the liberation of the feminist movement, we must fit this ideal of perfection.
As said in Mona Lisa Smile, well, “It’s like a different corset.”
It’s high time we start practicing what we preach. There are circles that are emerging that encourage female community and sisterhood, which is an incredible thing. We see that when we support women, everyone benefits. But what is stopping us from using this power to break away from the circles that claim that women who make different choices are somehow ‘less than’? I say that we are better than that.
Where do we go from here? Well, it’s hard to say, but I have seen the positive effects of a positive female community with my own eyes. I’ve seen it transform shy, unsure 15 year olds into activist superheroines in their own communities. I’ve seen it give power back to assault victims to make their voices heard. And I’ve seen it in myself, letting me know that the world is not a dark, misogynistic place where you are doomed to fail if you do not fit the mold. Instead, it’s what you make it.
My hope is that this helps at least one person realize that we all hold the power to inact change. That is, if we so choose.