I was in class the other day and since it was the first day, my teacher wanted to do an icebreaker exercise with the class. He asked us all to introduce ourselves with our name, where we are from, and who our inspirations were. Seems like a fairly easy task. As I was sitting listening to my classmates speak about their inspirations, I also thought about who inspires me. As I thought, I noticed that of those who inspired me, there was only one female (other than my mom). Honestly, that really bugged me. Why was it hard for me to think of more than one women whose work inspires me? Why could I only think of one?
As we went around the room, I heard my classmates mention a few other women, and with each of them, I thought “OH! Of course! How could I forget her?” But still, the majority of inspiring people who were mentioned were men. All of these men were, in my opinion, absolutely worthy of the praise they got, so that wasn’t what bothered me. What bothered me was that I know there are plenty of women in the film/entertainment industry doing amazing things. Why don’t we talk about them as much?
Well, I mean obviously there’s the whole issue with the patriarchy, oppression, women’s rights and such. But why is it that a fairly “woke” young woman as myself was struggling to think of women who inspire her? Maybe I haven’t educated myself enough, or maybe there just isn’t enough attention put on women who do amazing things (definitely that), and maybe it is a bit of both. There has to be something that I can do about it though. Right? I think the most obvious answer for me at the time was to start to educate myself about the female powerhouses/ heroines of the industry. I decided that this wasn’t enough though. I wanted to take things a step further.
You see, it’s easy to point the finger at the people and/or situations that are the causing the problems. It’s a lot harder thought to look at yourself and see how you can change to make things better. I could have just as easily taken my experience in class and let it get me depressed and leave it at that. Instead, I searched for a solution and here is what I came up with: Sometimes with great change, we have to take what we want instead up waiting for someone else to give it to us. In regards to women’s empowerment, there is something very simple we can all do to push our positive agenda forward.
Support each other!!! Support your friends, sisters, cousins, nieces, daughters, girlfriends etc in their quest to discover who they are and what they want to do in life. When they figure it out, support them. Hype them up. Let them know they have people behind them who appreciate the work they do. Support your girl who is getting her cosmetology license or your girl who is in school getting her law degree. Support your girl who runs her own business. Support your girl trying to make it as a scientist, bodybuilder, model, dancer, doctor, director etc. And definitely support your girl who wants to do traditional “women’s work”, like stay home and raise healthy children. Be kind to your waitresses and the woman who keeps your house/ hotel room clean. Support can be given in multiple ways, but sometimes hearing something as simple as “I’m proud of you” can lift a person up in ways you would never imagine.
Women supporting other women is a major key to our own empowerment. If there is one thing I have learned in my years on this planet it is this: be the change you wish to see in the world. So think of your friends and family members who could use some love and support and send some their way. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but that doesn’t mean your efforts are not making an impact.
Imagine a world where young girls and boys saw women of all ages and from all walks of life who were unapologetically themselves. Women who felt that their dreams and visions were more important than the restrictions put on them by others. Women who were fearless, strong, beautiful, smart, ambitious, compassionate and caring human beings. Now also imagine that these same women were recognized and rewarded for their accomplishments. Imagine what an amazing example that would be for young girls and boys. In my opinion, this world is most definitely attainable. However, it’s up to all of us to change within ourselves in order for this to manifest. If a child of mine were to grow up in this world, I don’t think it would be hard for them to think of women who inspire them.