Monday, 17 October 2016

What Feminism Means To Me

"...even when I'm a mess
Still put on a vest
With an "S" on my chest
Oh yes,
I'm a Superwoman." [Alicia Keys]

These lyrics come from a lovely, underrated song by singer/songwriter Alicia Keys.

Incidentally, the song title "Superwoman" is also the moniker of mega-successful YouTuber Lilly Singh, who has successfully carved out a career in the digital industry, and someone I personally find an inspiration.

I don't usually subscribe to celeb-endorsed products/merchandise, but this girl's accomplishments, maturity and outlook on life are incredibly admirable, she brings out the hardcore fan in me.

Singh has also dedicated her time to advocate "Girl Love", a movement which is all about empowering and enriching the lives of other women. And I’m all about that.

A photo posted by Lilly (@iisuperwomanii) on

Because the truth is, being a woman is tough. That’s why it’s so important for women to support and celebrate each other.

I work with (and generally meet) so many women balancing careers and family life, as well as dealing with everyday setbacks like everyone else, and one thing I've noticed is the way women are amazing at just getting on with things; often not only just dealing with their own problems, but also bearing the brunt of other people's (children, partners etc.) problems too.

Yet women are so undervalued in a patriarchal society that always looks for ways to undermine females...all because of those "pesky" emotions women (who are not robots) are prone to displaying.

People often misunderstand me as a man-hater. The truth is, I like men…if I didn’t, then a part of me (a part that’s buried deep deep down, but still there) wouldn’t crave the love and affection of a man; a part of me that is still hopeful that perhaps one day, I’ll enter a secure, adult relationship with a kind, mature and emotionally stable/available male, despite all previous disappointments.

A loving partnership with a man is something a woman should aspire to. But the trouble is no relationship comes with a lifetime guarantee. Modern romantic relationships are so fragile, you need other strong relationships in your life, specifically wise and supportive friends who will stick by you when life gets tough. That’s why I think it’s risky to make a man the centre of your universe, your sole reason for happiness.

After all, frequently when I’ve seen women having to overcome adversity, a lot of the time it’s down to some man’s doing.

I’m not trying to blame men for all of women’s problems….but too often when you see a woman go off the rails or dealing with difficult personal issues, it’s due to her being mistreated by a male.

I look at my own immediate family, in which every single male which includes five brothers is a messed-up individual. That’s sad to say about your own family, but if you knew the ins and outs, you’d agree.

I pity them because they're a product of their own environment: with only a deadbeat dad and an immature and limited mother as role models, who can really blame them for turning out like that?

Still though, as much as my mother made mistakes, she at least tried. Which is more than can be said for my father.

I’m sure it’s affected me in some way too, but I’m pretty self-aware and I’m always looking at ways to improve myself especially as I get luckily, I haven’t gotten myself into some of the same extreme situations as my brothers.

But what further frustrates me about my family situation is the way that, for a long time, I thought that maybe the women in my family were the main problem. Which is ridiculous.

A grown man is the only one to blame if he’s acting like a pr*ck. But women are constantly mocked or blamed for the way they react to selfish male behaviours, because we’re supposed to remain composed and unaffected.

How dare we have any expectations of men, or call them out and hold them accountable for their wrongdoings? In the case of non-family members, why did we even get emotionally invested in the first place?

It’s sad, but that’s the society we live in. So…you’re much better off being self-reliant. The best way to accomplish this is by being financially independent.

Fortunately, with times changing women have the freedom to pursue whatever goals they wish. It’s crazy to think that there was a time where women couldn’t even get a mortgage unless they were married! I’d be screwed and probably renting for the rest of my life. Eeek!

You may as well use these social changes to your advantage and build yourself a successful life, one where you’re not reliant on anyone, least of all a male.

There are good, solid men out there but they are few and far between. Also, we as women need to learn not to let our emotions override our common sense or rational side. We often give people the benefit of the doubt due to our nurturing sides…or because of our yearning to be in a relationship and to attach to people.

It’s not weakness, but certainly has the potential to be so if you let people affect your life or mood by giving them more importance than they’ve actually earned. Sometimes anger or frustration can bring out the worst in us.

I’ve been guilty of this, believe me. I lack patience when it comes to idiotic people, especially males. But I’ve learnt to rein that behaviour in a little, not least because I don’t want to become an angry or bitter person. It’s just not worth the drain of emotions.

So I guess feminism resonates with me more in terms of social interactions because to me, being a woman is to be an example of strength. At the same time, it’s about being feminine, kind and graceful, and being open to other women by inviting friendships into your life, which can bring you the same satisfaction as any other relationship. 

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