What Makes a Strong Woman?

In this day and age, the cultural Zeitgeist is all about “women’s empowerment” and raising “strong women”. We think we know what these ideas should mean and have a mental picture of what they look like, but what really does a strong woman look like? Many cite qualities like independence, autonomy, assertiveness, leadership, etc… Many see her in some sort of high position of power, or with fancy degrees in some high-status career like doctor, lawyer, politician, some STEM field. It’s common to think of her being able to do “anything a man can do” with slogans like “girl power” and “girls rule the world”…

However the question is raised, is that what really makes a woman “strong”? How exactly does one define “strong”? Is it in her assertiveness almost to the point of aggressiveness? Her job title or her credentials? Her assertions that she doesn’t need a man for anything? Her ability to throw off traditional gender norms and clamor for all things masculine? The irony that many qualities she strives for in herself she would now label “toxic” in a man? The fact that she has liberal “woke” politics and ideologies unlike the “gender traitors” who are conservative women? They say a strong woman can think for herself, yet labeled those who stood by Kavanaugh or Trump as “gender traitors”. Is that what strong women are expected to do? Feel threatened enough by others whose opinions you don’t like that you have to shut them up?

Thing is, while many qualities above in moderation such as independence, assertiveness or leadership are okay, I argue our current concept of what makes a woman “strong” really betrays a type of weakness and vulnerability as well as implicitly sexist. The most problematic aspect of how we think of a strong woman is rooted in the implicit idea that she must be like a man, and throw off her traditional gender roles as a woman because male=empowerment and female=oppression. To truly be “equal” in this frame of mind is to be able to be and do anything a man does, but no mention of anything uniquely “woman” in her fight for equality. Whatever a man can do is better than what women traditionally have done. She must want a career, because her “dreams” must go beyond “mere” house keeping and child raising. She needs to earn her own way, or else she’s too “dependent” on a man thus virtually enslaved! Being a wife and mother apparently is not enough to foster her “personal development”. She must literally wear the pants, because dressing as a woman is the “uniform of oppression”. She is “empowered” when she can silence any man who dares speak his mind on issues pertaining to her, cry victim anytime she wants, be pushy and rude and call it “assertiveness”, shun a more feminine identity and reduce it to a “stereotype” and declare that the world is stacked against her. Now, many women who consider themselves as strong don’t feel they support this idea of it, however their attitudes implicitly support many of these ideas.

When you tell a girl “But what else do you want to do? You’re still young…” When she says she wants to raise a family when she grows up.

When you say “You can’t comment on this issue because you’re not a woman!”

When you tell your daughters “Never depend on a man for anything.”

When you say to fight “stereotypes” of women such as being married, home making, and wearing dresses.

You are perpetuating a distorted view of what it means to be strong. To me honestly, such ideas about strength betray weakness and vulnerability. The idea that being a traditional woman is a sign of oppression and that to have any worth in society, or to be considered independent is to take on traditional masculine characteristics belittles womanhood as a whole. Also reinforcing the sexist and misogynist idea that women are second class or lesser members of society, and must imitate men to bear a semblance to anything worthy of being called empowered, equal and strong.

What does it really say about society when the clamor for prominence and power in the public eye are valued far greater than the upbringing of our future generations? Just because a role is not as visible, doesn’t mean the job is any less needed. Motherhood, while more behind the scenes, IS a job in itself. A 24/7 job for life. Standing by your man does not mean you don’t have your own identity. Pants don’t equal freedom from some oppressed role and skirts and dresses don’t mean you’re second class. Wife and mother are just as important titles as CEO or PhD. Power and prestige are not all there is in life. Equal does not always mean identical; men and women can have separate gender roles and be equal in dignity and worth to each other. Putting men’s roles on a pedestal for women to be able to climb to inherently devalues traditional women’s roles even if cried for in the name of equality. Guarding one’s sexuality is not a form of coercion by the patriarchy when women have so much more to lose if she slips up. A woman’s purity is to be honored, not mocked and derided as “old fashioned”. A strong woman and a traditional woman exist side by side and are in no way mutually exclusive! 

So what does it mean to be a strong woman? A strong woman is many things in my opinion:

The confidence in her identity as a traditional women as valuable and meaningful in of itself without the need to be like a man to be worth something.

The ability to value her husband and children over any job title or credential she might earn.

Seeing her privilege, not her victimhood.

A self identity that is strong enough to not feel threatened by taking her husband’s name upon marriage, being “given away” at the altar, being called “Mrs.” or the idea of marriage.

Feeling as empowered and capable in a dress or skirt with long hair as in pants and short hair.

The strength to know she can depend on others like a father, brother, husband etc… for her care and safety and still be independent and strong in her own right.

Taking pride in the fact that she has the choice to give life, not in the choice to take it.

Who can handle words like “mankind” and “man” in the general sense without feeling excluded and microaggressed.

The fortitude to hold the family together in times of trouble, but also let a man take the lead and be the rock when she is given the chance.

Being a rock in her own unique way, as a moral compass of virtue, elegance, and grace for all to see in her family and in the world.

Dressing modestly as a sign of her inner worth and dignity, and having no need to flaunt her body for all to see for her to be “liberated”.

Who is strong enough to think for herself and not feel threatened by another’s opinion nor the need to force other women to think as she does.

Recognizing her ability to achieve her goals not in spite of being a woman in an “oppressive” society, but because of her determination, work ethic, and perseverance as a person. 

The strength it takes to be uniquely feminine, in her own right.

To me those are some things that make a strong woman 🙂

Strong woman

(I made this graphic myself!)

Mom: The Most Important Job…

If you have been privileged to have an amazing mom then you know that she deserves her own special day and more! Regardless of race, gender, politics, religion, culture, etc… we can all agree a loving, caring, supportive mother who is your biggest fan and loves you unconditionally is one of your greatest privileges to have in this life.

Throughout history, across all cultures, all peoples, no matter what side you’re on, the shared experience many have of the love of their mothers brings most of humanity together. Yet, why is it then in our society motherhood is looked upon as a burden, a chore, enslavement even for women? Is motherhood easy? Certainly not! But what is easy in this life that’s worth lifelong happiness? The feminist movement now treats motherhood as part of the “patriarchy”, saying men pressure women to be mothers to enslave them as domestic servants while he goes out to have all the fun! They say that women should be able to get “real jobs” in order to be empowered. Fancy degrees, high powered careers, not “depend on a man” and that kids will hold you back. They say it’s sexist to think of women as mothers first and that their kids take away their identity. However, what if your kids are a permanent part of your identity and you want it that way? Is it possible a woman can live a traditionally feminine lifestyle as a wife and mother and find the fulfillment she wants in life without worrying about what the new age feminists think of her autonomy? What does it honestly say about our society when being the CEO of some company is more important and far more valued then raising the next generation of our future leaders? Or bringing new life into the world?

Some women are now raised to worry about what sort of “impact” she’ll make if she’s stuck at home living for her children and family? She says, “But I want to be empowered! I want to save the world! I want to have bigger dreams than beyond the walls of my home! I want to be autonomous like a man and dream of achieving everything my brothers can…” Now, I get that not all women want a domestic lifestyle and guess what? That’s fine by me. My issue however, is that such attitudes often are not made from many women’s intrinsic desires, but more of a way to “one-up” the patriarchy or “be like a man” as she feels this is the only way she’ll be empowered and autonomous, or make any impact on the world. She feels that it’s “sexist” to be told that motherhood is one of her greatest callings she can pursue, but what of the inherent sexism I’ve argued about before  in sending women the message that the only way to matter in this world is to become a man and shun traditional femininity? Isn’t it silly though, to believe that mothers make no mark on the world? Anyone who has had a mother in their life has been deeply impacted by her love, care, devotion and everlasting support, or in the unfortunate case where that was not the case, they do not forget how she was absent when they needed her to be a mother.

If motherhood does not make an impact, then why do countless cultures hold a special place of honor for a mother? Why is one of the rare times a man can break down and show real raw emotions is when he loses his mother, or get sentimental over the memories he’s had with her? Why can soldiers, trained for stoic bravery and fearlessness sob in the barracks at night over missing mom, or in their most vulnerable moment, cry out to her when sick or injured and people don’t see them as less of a man? Why have many high powered women in leadership positions, who have broken barriers for women often cite their mothers as their strength and inspiration to achieve their dreams? Or all the so called powerful men of the “patriarchy” credit their moms for their success as well? What about the phrase behind every great man is a great woman?

How can anyone say that the woman whose shoulder you cry on, the woman you laugh with, who loves you unconditionally, who applauds your successes and supports you in your weakest moments, who is your biggest fan, who has raised you since day one, who has carried you in her body to her own inconvenience big and small, or has opened her heart to you and raised you as if she had carried you within her, has sacrificed more than you will ever know for you and the family, etc…etc… did not make an impact in this world? Saying she has no freedom, and is reduced to a mere slave unable to achieve anything “worthwhile” like a job in the workforce is the most sexist insult you can give a woman, and yet society reinforces that message everyday to prospective mothers.

“Oh, you have so much life ahead of you…” “Don’t you want to be something else too?” “You’re too young to decide right now!” are all phrases we take for granted, and yet perpetuate the bias that motherhood and traditional womanhood is oppressive and limiting. Imagine anyone saying these things to girls when they say they want to be in a career! Absurd when you see it that way… A job isn’t everything in life. Yes, I realize that many women can’t be stay at home moms anymore, including my own mother. However, couldn’t that be argued to have been forced on women too, as a result of this “independent woman” craze? When we stopped expecting women to be home full time with the children and out in the workforce like men, we stopped supporting women as wives and mothers, and give less opportunities for men to be breadwinners in their families. Now, a woman not working is often considered a leech by men who feel she is just freeloading off his earnings, rather than being like the men before him who saw it as their duty as a man to provide for his wife and family.

Now, my mom did work like many mothers of this day and age in a solid career and actually was the breadwinner in my family! She enjoyed her career and did in fact, earn a graduate degree and is proud of that and of her ability to provide for her family. However, she was always mom first. Something many high powered career women who subscribe to the masculine ideal of a fulfilling life aren’t. She cut back her hours to always be a stable presence in my life and if she could have, she would have stayed home full time to raise me. She could have risen up higher in her job, but chose her children over her career ambitions because she knew that the impact she would make on me, and the legacy she would leave behind as a mother was far more important than a fleeting career promotion. She knew that a career was a wonderful thing to have, but being a mom was far more important and her #1 job no matter what!

The devaluing of mothers in society is the root of many issues today with women resentful of their own kids as obstacles rather than legacies, kids stuck in daycare full time rather than being with mommy, little help for stay at home moms to stay home and make ends meet, and the constant message of under-appreciation from a society bent on women becoming more and more like men. When will the so called feminists, advocates of women as they claim to be, stand up for traditional femininity as being equal to being like men? When will more women cherish the children they brought into this world more than their next job promotion? When will the lifelong impact and legacy a mother leaves on her family be valued just as much as the next scientific breakthrough or glass ceiling shattered? How worth it is shattering that glass ceiling if your children will be stuck on the other side?

Why does the world have to know about you? Why do you need approval from the whole world? Is the legacy you leave behind on your family enough? Why is being like a man with an outside job so much more meaningful than raising the next generation? To me, it speaks more of a society obsessed with money and worldly prestige, power and fame, which all fade soon enough, than with creating a legacy spanning generations of commitment, support, and unconditional love.

Look, there’s nothing bad about having careers or wanting other identities in addition to motherhood. Motherhood may not be for every woman, and if you truly don’t want to become one, for the sake for any future children raised in your future resentment and neglect, don’t be. But don’t discount becoming a mother because of some radical feminist message that it will make you a lesser human being or strip you of your empowerment, as the most empowered women I know are mothers and proud of it. It’s time we women  show the world we are NOT lesser or oppressed because we choose to value something different than being like the pseudo-men the feminist movement brainwashes us to become. Mothers, you ARE making an impact in this world, one FAR greater than any worldly career!

Thank you, Mom!

To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world… 

—Unknown

Image result for motherhood painting 1900's"

Ladies, Be Empowered!

This is addressed to my fellow women out there. I’ve covered much of the flaws of feminist thinking, especially along #MeToo lines in sexual assault prevention, which is basically zero. I’ve also covered in several articles my argument for more personal accountability to lessen one’s risks of assault as well as holding the perpetrator accountable too. Look, I know this topic isn’t all that pleasant, and very serious, but it must be addressed head on. I agree with the Left that misconceptions are a roadblock to empowering women to fight back against sexual assault, but I argue that it is in fact their side, that is fostering dangerous misconceptions about sexual assault.

Their basic premise is that too often, we shift the blame on the victim rather than the perpetrator and even go so far as to say we created a “rape culture” where rape is not only tolerated, but thought of as a man’s “right”. They say that the only thing that causes rape is the rapist, and nothing else. Therefore, one cannot talk about how alcohol or drugs play a role. Nor other poor risky choices such as becoming isolated or suggestive behavior/dress. Now, I will say that they are correct that one does indeed, need a rapist, to commit rape. Alcohol, sexy clothes, drugs, partying, does not literally cause a rape to happen, just as gun violence can only happen if someone pulls the trigger. However, the above factors do indeed create an increased risk of victimization, and are correlated with incidents of sexual assault.

Rapists are going to rape no matter what, because if you are at the point where you feel entitled to rape someone, you don’t care one bit about how it will impact your victim. You may not even care what they are wearing either, as many argue rape is more about power than sexuality. However, barring any empathy for your victim, you still have to choose one! So, which girl, if you would put yourself in the mindset of a callous rapist, but doesn’t want to get caught, would you choose? The girl who’s sober, more modestly dressed surrounded by 5 other girlfriends, (a.k.a. witnesses) at the party, or the one who’s almost blackout drunk, isolated, and in suggestive clothing that can be used as an excuse later in court in your favor? Who do you think would be noticed more if missing? Who do you think would put up less of a fight?

Now, does either girl deserve to get raped? Absolutely not! No one ever “deserves” rape, and nothing ever “justifies” rape. However, the cold, hard ugly truth of the matter is, one girl is more at risk than the other to be chosen as the next victim. Rapists will indeed rape no matter what whenever they find the chance, but it’s on us, ladies, to make sure he has the least amount of chances possible to target us. Causation for increasing your risk is not justification for the crime! Is it fair that we must go out of our way to look out for creeps? NO! But that’s reality. We shouldn’t need to watch out for each other at parties, or a girls’ night out. We shouldn’t have to worry about trusting the guy to take us home safely. Or buy us that drink and worry if he drugged it. We should be able to dress as sexy as we want without any unwanted advances. However, what we should be able to do and what we are able to do without putting ourselves more at risk aren’t identical.

And yes, sometimes, rape will happen when we do everything right to lessen our chances. Rapists will rape, we get it… But isn’t that true for any crime? A burglar can still smash in your window even when you lock your door every night, but does that mean you shouldn’t bother to lock your doors? We talk about more emphasis on teaching boys not to rape and assault women, instead of teaching girls how to empower themselves and lessen their risks in the logic that the solution is solely on telling men not to rape.

However, look at it this way: We teach our children not to steal, yet there are still thieves. Should the solution for burglary be simply to teach people to not steal and call any attempt at advising people to lock their doors or hide their valuables victim blaming? After all, no one has the right to steal your stuff no matter where you leave it! Similarly, there are still rapists despite teaching boys not to rape. The crime is not going away in both cases sadly. So what are we to do? Just sit around on our hands and complain about the obvious injustice, or do something to protect ourselves from becoming a victim, even if it means making inconvenient and yes, unfair, lifestyle adjustments?

Ladies, we need to live in the world as it is, not live in the world that we want it to be. Even if that world demands a “sexist” or un-PC answer to lessening our risk. We ARE judged by how we dress, whether we like it or not. Wearing sexy, provocative clothing, while never justifying any unwanted advances, sends off the signal that you want a consensual interaction and if the wrong guy who’s a complete callous jerk feels you “led him on”, yes, some will cross that line into assault. It’s ugly and unfair, wildly unfair and unjust, but ladies, this is the reality we live in. It’s not about simple morality, or saying that the girl in the sexy dress is morally “lesser” or “bad” and deserves assault, but it is about the fact that as unfair as it is, you ARE judged by how you choose to present yourself, and a real rapist can use it as an excuse in his sick twisted mind to justify harming you.

Drinking until you’re black out drunk, going off alone with a strange guy at the party, taking a drink that could be roofied easily etc… increases your chances of victimization and puts you in a vulnerable position. No, alcohol doesn’t cause rape to happen, but it does increase your risk the rapist will target you because you can’t physically resist or even say “no”. Going off alone with no witnesses and no one to step in to protect you is the perfect way to be victimized. Is this fair? Is it fair that women need to be careful instead of just being carefree when out for the night? Of course not! But as said before, this is the cold hard reality of the world we live in.

Saying all this is bound to draw the ire of many screaming “victim blaming!”, but this is no more victim blaming than suggesting one lock their doors or hide valuables to lessen chances of a burglary. Rapes can happen even after every base is covered. But so can burglaries. So can any crime. NO set of precautions has a 100% guarantee or covers every situation. That however, doesn’t mean we don’t take those precautions. Yes, the rapist could be someone you know and trust. Yes it can happen elsewhere than parties. Yes, more subtle coercion could be involved. Yes, I know all those things! That however does not belittle the merits of precautions against rapes that do happen with strangers, or in parties for instance. You may not be able to avoid one scenario, but does that mean “Why bother learning how to avoid the other”? Sure, the burglar can just smash in my window, but he sure won’t come through my door if I can help it! 😉

Ladies, it’s also not black and white. I’m not saying you can never party, you can never go out, you can never wear that “cute little number” to the club on girls’ night, you can never have a drink or hang out with a guy. We don’t have to dress like nuns and never leave our homes! All I’m proposing is to be aware. Awareness is half the battle, and with a good dose of awareness and common sense, you can have that night out of fun and be as safe as you can. Empowerment is liberating, not constraining. The awareness to know what the risk factors are, and how to avoid them is liberating, as you can live your life, just be aware and vigilant. When we drive, we learn the rules of the road. When we choose where to live, we look into crime rates. We have fire drills. We have emergency drills. We look over our shoulder in that sketchy area. We hide our valuables. We do all these things AND live a normal life full of excitement and fun. Can we do everything we want, (drink to excess, dress like we’re turning tricks, go off with every guy in the bar etc… etc..)? No. But in moderation, and with awareness of the risks, we can weigh our chances and act accordingly.

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