Actress, comedian, voice artist, director, producer and writer Amy Poehler articulates a powerful quote that sums up the long journey many women travel to reach their own self-worth and self-acceptance.
In her book Yes Please, she writes:
“It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to be sorry for. It takes years to find your voice and seize your real estate.”
As women, we’re taught to provide excuses. We’re told to be sorry for our intelligence, our willpower and our strength. We think we have to be sorry for our bodies and their natural appearance and cycle. We’re taught to be sorry for being assertive, independent and for standing up for ourselves.
Some of us are still on the journey of learning to let go of our sacrificial selves. Others have walked the trail before us.
Author and activist Alice Walker says:
“The most common way people give up their power, is by thinking they don’t have any.”
As women, we grow up on a lie.
We are taught to think we don’t have the power. And this misconception is everywhere—in literature, in media and in art.
It is in the way that we are taught to be intelligent, but not intimidating. We are taught to dress up, but not too much; to be skinny or sexy or cute or hot, but not enjoy admiration; to be hard-working, but not be proud or take credit for our work.
We are taught to not make others feel uncomfortable.
Psychologist and author Susan Jeffers said:
“Remove those ‘I want you to like me’ stickers from your forehead and, instead, place them where they truly will do the most good; on your mirror.”
We do not live to entertain anyone else. We are not sexualised objects. We are not unworthy of admiration if we dissociate ourselves from the expectations of society’s rigid beauty standards. The moment we realise this, we become free.
Nurse, sex educator and birth control activist Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the United States. She says:
“A woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.”
Let’s do that today. You can read more here.
Author: Ingvild Carmen
Editor: Caitlin Oriel
Image: YouTube still