By Ruth Ankers
The spice girls sang about it, the suffragettes fought for it. So what does it really mean?
It is important to be aware of the difference between power and aggression because this can sometimes get confused. Power can be found and used in the wrong places, we need to understand that power does not belong to one person, it belong to those who know how to use it for good. Power should belong to those who use their power to EMPOWER.
Power my friends is not the loudest voice, the deepest knife, the cruellest word, the biggest pay check or the one who finishes first. It is the feeling in your gut which tells you, “You can” when you feel like you can’t. I would estimate 60% of my female friends have low self-esteem. 20% of them are aggressive towards men, because they think that shows them as having high self-esteem (and more power) and 10% of them have Girl Power. We need to work on that percentage.
So, providing we don’t already possess it, how do we go about finding it and more importantly, using it? Disclaimer: You already have it! You maybe just left it in your Thirteen year old self’s bedroom, underneath the Destiny’s Child CD and glittery eye shadow. Of course, I’m joking, but bear with me. That’s the last time, I ever really remember seeing it in myself, or feeling like I had the power, all that time ago before the rest of the world came along and told me I didn’t. Why? Just because they said so. We, as women have become so obsessed with other people’s opinions of us that we allow them to shadow thee reality of who we are. We hand over our honour without the slightest fight. We take bullets from people we barely know and we leave them inside of us to rot. We go about our everyday life carrying someone else’s poisonous words inside of us and not only do we accept them as our own, we feed them so they multiply, and multiply and multiply.
Until we remember, we have the power.
The powers to not let anyone else define us, the power to feed ourselves with positive beliefs and confidence, the power to dust off those poisonous words before they have a chance to settle in. This is something I wish somebody had said to me years ago, “You define your own happiness and you should allow yourself that happiness. You can choose whether you allow somebody else to be driving your life or whether you think it should be you. When you decide to stop allowing people to define your happiness, you will realise what a huge power you possess.” It won’t happen overnight or suddenly on a rainy Sunday afternoon, in fact, it might be the hardest thing you ever have to do. But if you do it, you will change your life.
So, now what?
You use it to empower others. Always.
See that girl at work who never talks? Talk to her; tell her how much you like her dress. See that man who thinks he will never get a girlfriend, talk to him, and tell him how intelligent he is. See that student who everyone thinks is a nightmare? Tell him how beautiful his art work is, or how wonderfully he writes stories. The mother who has lost her sparkle? Tell her how much you respect her for raising such wonderful children.
And as for the rest of them? The manipulators, the chancers, the liars and the bullies, tell them where to go. That’s girl power.
About the Author
Ruth Ankers is a Drama and Applied Theatre Practitioner and Teacher. She favours writing poetry and short plays. Ruth is a firm believer in equality of gender and is really exited to be writing for Gender + the City!