Many years ago as a newbie in college, my Feminist Theory, Sociology and Philosophy classes were the first opportunities I had been given to really be formally introduced to the topic of gender equality and the ideas and feelings many people had about the issue. These early eye-opening experiences provided the platform for me to go on to help other women be(come) empowered as both a calling and vocation. In the decade plus following those early college years, I have since been privy to plenty of debate on empowerment based in gender (or not), and I’ve heard many “interesting” ideas ranging from the good, the bad, and the incredible.
If you ask most people a question about women being empowered the typical response you will hear is something along the lines of , “Women are not being empowered because men are given all the “power”. I strongly disagree with this idea because it sounds much more like a justification for a fixed social system than a clear understanding of something we truly have the power to change on an individual level.
Then and Now
Years before the well-known uprising of patriarchy , the women in society – the matriarchs – topped the cultural and social ranks.
Today we can still find matriarchal structures operating, though unfortunately, they are typically exclusive to many isolated peoples around the globe, with one broad exception. Matriarchs are aplenty in populated cultures, though they are typically only the matriarch of the home and play a lesser role in societal influence, politics, religion, etc. Thankfully, this dynamic is changing as we see many more men taking more active roles within family units, and many more a woman taking the bull (Life) by the horns and providing herself the opportunity to explore her potential with chosen freedom, and be(come) empowered as a personal choice to follow her dreams.
Myth: Women cannot be(come) empowered because we live in a society dominated by men.
Truth: Empowerment has nothing to do with being a man or woman and everything to do with the conditions a person is subjected to.
Raising consciousness, to “awaken”, or to embrace a somewhat stereotypical feminist ideology (as some do) are alternative (and potentially extremist) ways we socially describe the process and lifestyle of becoming and living empowered. Actually, the term “empowered” is relatively new in our society, yet the difficulties associated with it are centuries old.
To awaken to potential, intrinsic value, worth, talents, gifts and abilities residing within us in desperate need of rediscovery are the keys to becoming empowered and living an empowered life.
From the time we are small, the opinions, feeling, thoughts and baggage of others shape not only our perceptions of the world, its people and how it all works together, it also creates our own beliefs about the kind of person we are, what our potential is, what we can have, what we deserve and more. In summation, to not live in the space of empowerment is a result of not allowing ourselves the opportunity to know ourselves and become authentic.
Our natural state is one of wholeness and peace, and until we begin to uproot the beliefs and patterns we have taken in from others that do not truly belong to us, we will continue to exist in a state of dis-empowerment. Developing our own presence is a process, and it takes time and work, but the benefit in the end is priceless…