WOMEN & SOCIETY
WORLD WOMEN’S DAY :: 8th of March
The challenges, perks and societal pressure of being a woman.
Last night, one of my best mates came over, we ate sushi and drank cocktails and then I got naked and she painted my body with words that describe the challenges of being a woman; all for an instagram picture.
Whilst this mental image might make you chuckle, this little passion project of mine has snowballed into something much bigger in my life. At a time (a pandemic, to be exact) when women are being pushed into the foreground as the silent, resilient warriors of our anxiety-riddled and uncertain days, World Women’s Day is allowing the ugly head of gender division to reer it’s head again in order to gain momentum in our daily fight for equality.
Now let’s get one thing clear, I’m not a feminist.
Every bone in my body is thankful that a revolution is taking place that means women are becoming leaders, challenging stereotypes, achieving equality and highlighting the unequal weight that we carry in our society. Thanks to the media exposure that many women are given, they use their voice to ascertain their strength but also vulnerabilities to show what a tight rope walk of a life we lead. Burdened to be successful career women but simultaneously the perfect mother, striving for a perfect body yet not flaunt it… The list goes on.
Women tear themselves apart trying to be everything for everyone.
But how about, this World Women’s Day, we reach out to the women in our lives and celebrate the fact that we are capable of being so many things, such a complex mix and layers upon layers of empathy, strength, independence, fragility, patience and more? And continue to support each other. We know how hard it is, we understand the struggles we face every day. Instead of the incessant rivalry that exists between women, let’s lift each other.
“Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women.”
— Maya Angelou
Let me reflect on the past year of my life. There was an upheaval which saw us move house, new challenges in our family dynamics, losing a family member and my mum moving country, marital woes, body and hormone changes and unfortunately the list goes on, topped off by: a pandemic.
I’d be a liar if I said it’s made me stronger. Because honestly? I’m currently in the process of finding a therapist to help me work through quite a lot of trauma in my past. But one thing I have realised is this:
We are resilient.
Let that sink in a minute, here’s the exact definition of resilience:
Resilient || /rɪˈzɪlɪənt/ || adjective
able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.
And the one thing that helps me in my resilience, is having other women in my life who understand not only the day to day challenges of trying to fit it all in but also the bigger picture. Because where I spend my day cooking, cleaning, feeding, preparing, planning, raising kids etc., in those quiet moments I think of the things that might make ME truly happy again. ME as a woman. ME as a woman in our society. ME as only ME, not attached or belonging to a partner or as a mother.
I am worthy of being a respected member of our society.
But I digress, let me get back to last night. While we nibbled on our sushi, we discussed what it means to be a women; a question I posed to the important women in my life (my mum and my friends). It’s a tough one to answer.
“We need women who are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce they can be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational, and so disciplined they can be free.”
— Kavita N. Ramdas
All the women in my life agreed on one thing:
Being a woman is a dichotomy of emotions.
And so my plea is this: let’s make more changes. Nothing ground-breaking, no big media moments or heart-attack inducing strategies. Let’s start local with the women in our lives. The UN (United Nations) speak of a ripple effect.
With enough influencers nowadays showing the before/after pics, the finding yourself in spiritual awakening, fighting for your right to have a seat at the table we finally have a platform for supporting each other in this crazy role of being a woman.
Because if we finally find a way to support each other in the small things in life we begin to influence the bigger things in life.
I told my friend yesterday how I loved my body despite it’s flaws as described by society and it encouraged her to rethink her own attitude towards her body.
She, on the other hand, is helping me with my passion project, which sees me strengthened in being the woman I see in myself.
“A woman should be two things: who and what she wants.” — Coco Chanel
And so in a nutshell, there you have it. Let’s use our words, the infinite resource of mental strength, to help the women in our lives navigate this minefield of a contradictory image of a woman. For while we are torn apart in all the things we “should” be, we are also the most resilient folk I have ever experienced. And the fact that we can be all these things at once means we should see the chains of society as something we own and master as opposed to holding us back.
Resilient women are our future.
Let’s celebrate the women who have brought us this far, the women who are continuously fighting for us, those who raise us up when we are down, those who have navigated the road before us and share the wisdom of their lives, those who need fighting for, those who impact the news with their experiences and expose the exploitation of women and the women that we have yet to become in our continual fight for progress.
The past decade has seen a turn of events. The world is ready to realise our potential. The pandemic has brought to light how important us resilient women really are. How we sacrifice ourselves for the greater good as we see the bigger picture.
“She remembered who she was and the game changed.”
― Lalah Delia
I am a proud woman.
I need you to know that you should be too.
We can achieve anything, if we do it together.
Women need women.
Today and every day.
Thank the women in your life.
Heck, thank those men in your life that celebrate you as a woman.
We are not quite there, but you know what?
We will get there; because we are resilient.
How can you support a woman in your life today?
- Call her and ask her how she’s doing, how she’s REALLY doing.
- Offer comfort and/or solutions.
- Go for a walk together to clear cobwebs.
- Hug (corona-allowing of course; ugh).
- Let her vent and give her the space to do so (some need to be told they CAN complain).
- Avoid toxic positivity (it’s ok to let it all out, cry if you need to cry, you are loved even when you are weak, you’re not alone, do you need a distraction?).
- Do a little workout together (even if it’s via facetime and online). Moving your bodies or dancing will release endorphins.
- Compliment, compliment, compliment. Even if it’s a woman you’ve just met. Say something nice about her shoes, her hair.
- Start a little project together (whether it’s crochet, writing or a book club).
- Arrange a weekly date so you have something to look forward to.
And finally: send the women in your life all the funny TikTok videos, memes and gifs so that they can have a giggle.