21st century women need to be proud of every aspect of who they are instead of ignoring their gifts so that they can fit a supposedly liberating mold.
So much work has been done to change the mentality of what it means to be a woman. Thanks to many hard-working people, women being pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen is now a joke. People have fought for years to allow women to express who they are without being rejected. However, women’s right to be who they truly are is now being threatened in a new way.
While trying to empower women to be all that they can be, we are starting to create a culture of shame for those who identify with the more traditional roles of what being a woman is. There was recently a diversity exercise I participated in which asked people to approve or disapprove of certain stereotypes. When a couple of the females in the group identified themselves as nurturing, some individuals in the room looked disapproving. If a woman identifies as a nurturer, that attribute should be as equally celebrated as the identity of competitor. Furthermore, these qualities are not mutually exclusive. By encouraging some qualities women have and not others, we are undermining some of the social progress we’ve made.
A truly powerful woman should evaluate her natural traits and embrace them no matter where they fall on the arbitrary traditional or modern spectrum. I applaud and commend the woman who desires to be a stay-at-home mother, the woman whose phenomenal career is her proverbial baby, and the woman who chooses both.
Traditionally, women have slighter builds, higher-pitch voices, and are more relational than men. These are all traits to be celebrated! After all, my boyfriend and I would both agree that I look much better in a dress than he would. On the flipside, my friend Indigo is 6-foot-tall and loves being able to physically compete against guys in sports by using her build. What a perfect picture of how things should be! I say “should” not because all women should be 6 foot and aggressive, but because all women should be proud of how they are.
Lastly, when women are looked at as simple or small-minded for choosing to play more of a motherly role or display what used to be considered feminine qualities, the problem of women being looked down on for expressing who they are is only perpetuated. Women are intelligent enough to recognize their traits and those who hold true to those traits—no matter what her culture says—are the strongest women of all and will therefore be the most influential in their pursuits.