Any day when we get to celebrate women, you know I’m going to celebrate and celebrate loudly. My life is based on motivating, inspiring and encouraging women to support, love and lift one another. To fight for one another. To cry on one another’s shoulders. To band around one another without judgment when things get hard. So, to all the women who have touched my life in any way, shape or form…I salute you today.
You’re a badass.
As we experience and work through campaigns such as #PressforProgress and #MeToo, there are things I truly want my daughter to know. So, I thought I could share them here. You may not agree with all of them, in fact, hardcore feminists are not going to be pleased, but as a strong, educated and loving Mother, these super random points about being a woman are what I want to teach my daughter right now.
1) We’ve come a long way but there’s still a long way to go. We can vote. We can join the military and fight for our country. We can play sport and *gasp* perspire in public (it wasn’t legal before…seriously…that’s how far we’ve come!). But baby, we still have so far to go. You’ll still be labeled a “bitch” when you fight for something. You won’t make as much money as a man doing the same job. You’ll be mansplained more times than you can count. But…every day there’s progress and there are women still fighting to find balance and keep us moving forward. Join the fight. Stand up for your rights. Be proud to be confident and smart.
2) There are things men are better at and that’s okay. What the what? Yup. I’m admitting it. And I’m okay with this statement. Stand down, feminists. It’s physiology. Since when can’t we accept that men and women are different? There are also things women are better at then men. So yay for us! But, I choose to celebrate our differences and accept the fact the typically men are stronger than women. It doesn’t make you less of a woman because you can’t open that damn pickle jar…it just means your strengths lie elsewhere. So, baby girl, don’t let differences between the sexes hold you back, celebrate them. And hey, if you want to get stronger…do that! Just don’t think you’re less than because you’re physically weaker than your male counterpart. Don’t even get me started on the male and female brains…there is a reason we’re so different. Be okay with the differences and celebrate the strengths of yours and the opposite sex.
3) Take the compliment. Sometimes a compliment is just a compliment. There’s no need to overanalyze everything. If someone, male or female, gives you a compliment and it’s genuine and doesn’t creep you out…just say “Thank you!”. How ya doing feminists? You okay with this one? I worry that we’re swinging so far that we will all stop complimenting one another because we’re scared we’ll be called up on sexual misconduct charges. Seriously. It’s a concern of mine. I want my daughter to receive compliments…they feel good. I mean, sure, sure…there’s a limit…”nice rack” isn’t a compliment. But, if a male told her she “looks lovely in that dress”, I’d want her to say “thank you” and go on with her day without another thought. I wonder if this is wrong? All I know is that if I get a compliment, it puts a pep in my step and gives me a zing of happiness.
Maybe I’m just an attention-seeker. I dunno. But I likes me my compliments and I’d love for my daughter to receive them well. I also want her to know the difference between a compliment and harassment…so there’s that.
4) Dress how you want to dress. Be you. I was challenged the other day and told I’m too feminine and the things I do to appear more feminine are “setting us back”. Er. Hmmmm. I’m not sure how my own self-care and taking care of myself sets us back, but there are some perceptions out there framed like that. The fact that I get my nails done, get a pedicure, don’t like to go out without makeup…um…that’s just who I am. I LIKE being feminine. I LIKE dressing up. I LIKE wearing dresses. All of these things make me feel…like me.
So baby girl…you do you. If you like pink…LIKE PINK! Don’t let anyone else tell you because you wear pink and glitter that you’re setting the feminist movement back. You’re not. You like a color. Good for you. You do you and don’t let anyone, male or female, take control of your likes and dislikes. Don’t let anyone ever tell you your choices on how you dress and care for your own body affect another. They affect only you and your love of oneself. Honour and respect yourself not to care and just be you. Okay?
5) Stand tall and be proud of your sex. You’re an effin’ woman. Be proud of that. Many women have fought for the rights you have now, so celebrate the HECK out of them. Learn about Maya Angelou, Anne Frank, Billie Jean King, Florence Nightingale, Amelia Earhart and the hundreds of other women who have done incredible things. Also celebrate your friends, sisters, mothers, auties and tribe that you get to be a part of every single day. Love, support, empower and encourage one another. Stand up for one another. Be a pillar of strength and love for those around you. The power is inside you. Why? Because you’re a woman, that’s why!
6) If you want to do something, do it (as long as it’s legal). Your sex has nothing to do with what you can and cannot do, believe that. If you have a goal, demand success. You’re going to have to work at it. And, if it’s pushing the limits, you’re going to be told you can’t do it, you’ll be ridiculed and bullied. But you’re strong, you’re a woman, you can achieve anything you want to achieve. Of that I am certain. Fight your fight with confidence, bravery and compassion. Be open to learning. Be open to feedback. But if there is one thing I want to teach you, baby girl, it’s that if you want something, no matter your sex, you can achieve it.
On International Women’s Day, I want to celebrate the fact that I am gloriously a woman. I love it. I love that I have to battle and fight because this makes me stronger. I love that I get to wear dresses and lipstick because this makes me feel beautiful for me and me alone. I love that the women in my life are all completely different and I love them ALL the same because this makes me realize how beautiful this world is. I love that women are standing up and demanding equality and respect because this empowers me to lead the way and blaze a better trail for my daughter.
I love being a woman. I’m PROUD to be a woman.
Thank you to ALL the women in the past, and in the present, that are fighting for my rights, fighting my daughter’s rights AND her future. I salute the work you do. And me, I’ll continue to build communities of strong, empowered women…because that’s my life’s work and I’m honoured to do just that.