There is an underlying narrative within our society that confident women are in some way found wanting. With our lives becoming more digitalised, the comments that were once thrown about within small groups of people are now embedded into our profiles and displayed underneath our images. Entire threads on public online forums are dedicated to pulling apart women for the way they speak, what they wear, what they have, how in shape they are (or aren’t) and their successes. Women are now subject to public ridicule in a way that they never were before and are treated like it is some sort of crime to be confident in themselves. However, the long and short of it is, that in order to propel ourselves forward in regards to feminism and gender equality, this attitude needs to change and as a society we need to stop tearing down confident and successful women.
The messaging we are giving young girls and women is changing and that means we are now praising strength from places it was once overlooked. Female strength is no longer reserved for novels and stories, but is now present in daily life. The problem is, there an is inbuilt fear of women who have broken through the barrier. There is a haze of misunderstanding when a woman shrugs off the layers of oppression and happily show their successes.
When a women who has worked towards her fitness goals posts about her accomplishments, there is an outpouring of, ’probably implants’ or ‘fake’. When a woman discusses her career successes, there is an outpouring of ‘conceited’ or ‘self important’. When a woman discusses her financial successes there is an outpouring of, ‘smug’ or ‘entitled’. When women embrace their natural beauty, be that by society’s standards or not, comments filter in like ‘vain’ and ‘stuck up’.
While there are many messages about solidarity, empowerment and support, it seems it is conditional and accompanied by terms. If a woman becomes ‘too confident’ or ‘too successful’ then there is a shift and people question ‘why does this person have these things?’ This is something many people will feel to some degree, because we are given the messaging from a very early age that we are one another’s competition.
Whether or not we act on those negative emotions is our choice and we can choose to rewrite that messaging for future generations. We can choose to change the underlying narrative within our society and we can choose to turn negativity into positivity. We can choose to make that change. We are not one another’s competition, but one another’s support, inspiration and empowerment.