Dear Anti-Empowerment Bullies,
Stop being bullies! What do I mean? Stop criticizing women who show anything over the slightest amount of self-confidence and independence. Call me a feminist, or don’t; either way is fine by me. All I’m asking for is that women get a little more respect these days!
Last week, I was told by a male friend that I was TOO independent, something that he deemed an unattractive quality. I was shocked… horrified…duped. Worst of all, I began to feel insecure about my personality! I had spent nineteen years working on my independence and self- confidence. How dare someone cause me to question my sense of self-worth! It’s like taking a lollipop from a child. You just can’t do that if you have a heart.
Unfortunately, I have not encountered anti-empowerment bullying just that once. A few days after, a man was describing to me a recent date and explained that he thought the lady may be a lesbian because she was TOO confident. Wow! Excuse me, but when the hell did one’s self- confidence cause their sexuality to change? Please tell me…really…I’d like to hear the answers you come up with.
Within that one week I learned that to be attractive to a man, I’d have to become compliant and dependent. Lovely. What was this, 1910? What was I supposed to do, own up to my self-worth and be viewed as an independent b****? Or become compliant and feel like a butterfly trapped in its chrysalis?
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But let me clear the air here. I am by NO means a man-hater. To be completely honest, I often daydream about the man I will marry, and what he is like. I think about how many kids we may have, and what their names may be. Sigh. Where is my Prince Charming?
I don’t think men are the only perpetrators of this empowerment issue society has going on. In fact, a few male friends of mine have come to me describing a similar phenomenon that happens to them. They have been criticized for being TOO emotional and not “manly” enough. When I questioned this further, they emphasized that some people don’t realize men have feelings too. Whoa. It’s not like I didn’t acknowledge the fact that men had feelings before I heard this, but I definitely didn’t take them into as much consideration compared to the present moment. So here’s another question for us to consider: What characteristics define a man as “manly” enough?
For me, I’ve learned our society has developed a stigma that views men’s emotions as a weakness. Men typically don’t gravitate towards being vulnerable because society has told them that it is not “manly” to be so. Similarly, women are condemned for being independent because history has told them to be dependent. Our society is rapidly advancing its communication with other cultures each day, so shouldn’t the way we view our emotions advance as well? Shouldn’t we empower one another by accepting one’s feelings regardless of gender?
All I’m asking is that we, as a society, try to stop being anti-empowerment bullies towards one another. Remember that thing called The Golden Rule you probably learned in kindergarten? Yeah, the treat others how you want to be treated thing. Let’s bring that back! Women, if we want our emotions to be respected, then we must respect men’s emotions. Men, if you want your emotions respected, then respect women’s. If we respect each other’s feelings, I truly believe we are capable of stopping the anti-empowerment bullying and will move towards
celebrating each other’s successes and communication styles. Women could become more confident and feel encouraged to speak up and voice their opinions in the workplace. Men could become more vulnerable and finally feel like is normal to talk about their stressful day at work without judgement. Imagine that. Sounds pretty nice, right?
A newly empowered women