When did being a woman come to mean that everything is love, light, and other good shit all the time? Like, all goddess and light as if life sometimes isn’t evil villain and chill? I’m as much for empowerment as the next girl, but I wonder about some of the narratives we’re putting out there as a culture. I’ve got some questions.
- Have we defined what “women’s empowerment” means as a “culture” or community?
- Who and what are we disserving by trending towards happy endings instead of maybe just dealing with reality?
- Who are we leaving out?
Feminism and women’s empowerment is trendy. It’s in theory easy to call yourself a feminist or someone that’s down for women. Harder in practice to actually do the work. You appreciate Black women. Are you thankful for all of them? You believe in women’s reproductive rights? Are trans and gender non-binary women included in those beliefs? And on and on and on.
Nothing is one-sided and life is not always unicorns and rainbows. But, so much of the content for women I come across on the Internet would lead one to believe it is. Every piece has to have a happy or empowering ending. We’re against criticizing women even if someone is flat-out wrong or needs to have their ideas challenged.
How can we pull people in with love, instead of simply canceling them (which shouldn’t mean avoiding tough conversations)? How can we tell well-rounded stories? How can we create space for narratives we may unknowingly be leaving out? How can we expand our ideas of what a woman is or isn’t? Does or doesn’t do? AND then be creating that speaks across these arenas…
The work, the writing, the painting, the filming, the creating, the events, etc. have to be about making sure that feminism really is for everybody, and empowerment is something we deal in, instead of just talk about. Always keeping in mind, that sometimes the most empowering thing is just standing in whatever one is feeling or thinking, even if it’s not innately optimistic or “positive.” Reality, everything being everything – matters too.
And if you started out “for the culture,” stay that way.
Keep yo heart,
vision, mission, intentions,
all of it,
Photo: Damola Akintunde