I am a woman, empowered and undefined.

I do not need your permission to be who I am. And I’m not only talking to men, I’m talking to you, my sisters, my fellow women. I do not need you to empower me. I know you probably mean well, but you seem to be misguided in your efforts to empower me. I do not need you to tell me that I am sexy or that I am beautiful. My power comes from elsewhere. My power comes from my relationship with God and my understanding of myself. I am worth much more than my looks and I really do not need you to tell me that. There are so many facets to my being that to focus on the shallowest part of me as a source of my power is an insult.

If you want to help me, then stop pitting me against other women. Stop glorifying some women at the expense of others. I see the hypocrisy in your actions. I see the way you choose which women should be protected, which women should represent feminism. I see the way you tear down other women. Do not preach to me about unity in womanhood, while you shun another woman. I know it’s hard, I am guilty of bringing you down sometimes too, and I apologise for this. It’s about time we stop pulling each other down.

I do not need your approval. I am who I am. And while I may still be figuring some things out (I am only 22 after all), I have figured out that your approval is not what I am seeking. My goal is true happiness, in the purest sense of the word. These worldly things you offer me are tempting, but I want more than that. I want more than just to be the “it girl” or the “cool girl”. I want to touch people’s lives. I want to have a deep impact on this world.

I have filed down the chip on my shoulder that all women seem to be born with. I acknowledge the struggle of the women before me, and the battle they fought for me to be where I am today. But this battle now has to be fought differently. I have nothing to prove. You may have your opinions and this is fine. You may say I’m not “woke” or I’m oppressed but I cannot live my life trying to satisfy you. I am fighting this battle with you, honestly, but in my own way. I know sexism is real. I know the double standards exist. I have experienced it. But I am not a victim. I know there are those who have suffered way worse than I have, and I want them to stand up stronger than ever.

You are entitled to think that the way to protest the wrongs done against us is to march naked and display your body. I understand that you want to normalise the female body for it to be seen as more than just a sex symbol. I like the message but not the way it’s being broadcasted. I don’t agree with the fact that we as women always resort to using our body, our sacred beautiful body, as a pawn to win these fights. This perpetuates the idea that a woman is only heard when she is naked. You say it all the time- we are queens. Then don’t demote yourself to a pawn. We are intelligent. We are magical creatures. We are more than just this physical shell. Why are we so obsessed with this exterior?

The conversations about intelligent women have seemed to diminish. Everything now revolves around our body. Instead of sharing pictures of women with fantastic bodies, why not share their accomplishments? I know we sometimes do this but not often enough. I am all for praising each other, and uplifting each other, but if the only reason you’re cheering me on is because I sparkle in the sunlight, then please, put down your pom poms. I’m not saying that I don’t care about my appearance, believe me I do. I’ve been guilty on spending too much time in front of the mirror and my bank account is still crying from the last lipstick I purchased. What I am saying is that we should put even more effort into our souls- the thing that really makes us beautiful. You can love your clothes and your makeup, experiment with your hair, but don’t neglect what lies beneath the surface.

I do not care to be seen in the same light as a man. Yes, I believe workers are equal and I am all for employees getting equal pay for equal work. But I am not the same as a man. I am built differently. My value does not come from my ability to do what a man does. Do not hold me to the same standard as a man; he is not my yard stick. He is not what I use to determine how far I should go. He is not my goal. I respect men and the unique things they bring to the table. And I want to be respected for the unique things that I bring. I cannot do what a man does, and I am not trying to. And likewise, he cannot do what I can do. I am doing what I can do. Hold me to my own standard that I create for myself.

You can try to describe what a woman is supposed to be. I may not fit perfectly into your definition; in fact I may fit into someone else’s. Truth be told, a definition of a woman is of no interest to me. I cannot be defined. Stop trying to define me. I am done trying to be what a woman is supposed to be. I am just being. I am woman.

Posted by Hillary Muddeen