In the process of doing research for another post, I accidentally stumbled across something heinous. Absolutely heinous.
We are being sold our own insecurities.
For example, women are constantly under scrutiny by society at large to be an almost inhuman, supermom. This is not just something prevalent in the West. One of my neighbors experienced the loss of a child years ago due to drowning in the family pool. You should hear the judgements still passed at the mother and grandmother (but never the father or grandfather or cousins or aunts or uncles or anyone else there on that day):
“Can you believe they still have that pool? I would have drained it and filled it with rubble!”
“What kind of mother doesn’t supervise her child while swimming!”
“I heard she was on her cell phone.”
The mother, I am pleased to say, moved on with her life and even had more children after this. However, it was the impact on everyone else that bothered me. Mothers in my suburb became overly paranoid about swimming pools, but not always for the safety of their children. I actually heard women say that they were watching their children more not because they feared for their children’s safety, but because they didn’t want to be subject to the backlash that my neighbor had received!
This of course doesn’t mean that women should abandon supervising their children while swimming simply because their desire is based on an insecurity. The action is correct even if the intention is wrong.
I am calling on all women to understand their intentions to regain control over their actions. In a world where we are present and mindful, we will not take to heart ridiculous fears like, “cellulite makes you ugly”. A grounded woman will filter through the messages being hoisted upon her, taking the good and throwing away the bad:
“Hijab will protect you from rape!” (That would be funny if it weren’t so oppressive!)
“Hijab is intrinsically oppressive!” (Why are you speaking on my behalf?)
“Breastfeeding is only free if a woman’s time is worth nothing!” (Is being a mother so low a position that I must reject my children for money?)
“You are useless unless you are employed and working like a man!” (Who profits from my tax revenue if I work full time? Who or what will fill the gaps caused by the lack of someone running the home?)
“If you don’t breastfeed, you are a bad mother!” (Why is this being presented as either/or?”)
“If you don’t have your own children and raise them properly, you’re not a real woman!” (Why is one aspect of my biology being sold to me as my complete identity?)
We desperately need to be women of reflection. Modern society, however, doesn’t teach us how to be mindful or how to reflect. It’s garbage in, garbage out. Advertisements are designed to go straight into our heads, so that our money goes straight out of our wallets into the coffers of corporations.
Be the kind of woman who knows exactly what she is doing and why she is doing it, because life is better for you (and those around you) with this level of self-knowledge, and you are less easily manipulated with this kind of conviction.
I’m not talking about conviction over every single nuance of every action you do, as that is impossible. Living life demanding proof for every single facet of living is a road to insanity. This isn’t an experiment, this is the real world. Anecdotal evidence is perfectly fine, as is intuition.
Make the time to reflect, not because you are fearful of what life will be like if you don’t reflect, but because reflection in and of itself is healthy. Make time to reflect because we women are literally drowning in voices telling us what to do, who to be, how to work, where to live, and why to exist.
Know who you are so you can be who you are. A poem I read recently had the words “…belong to yourself, have you ever just belonged to yourself?”
Find yourself and take yourself back.