On empowerment

You can’t fight fire with air. But equally you can’t fight for a freedom you’ve forgotten how to identify.

– Feel Free: Essays, Zadie Smith

Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal.

– Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Be a little kinder than you have to. 

– We Were Liars, E. Lockhart

There was once a time in which these quotes would have been both doomsday in delivery and as weightless as a feather, for they meant everything and nothing. Everything because for women there was nothing.

Thankfully, most of that has changed.

I say most of that because we as women still face constant opposition from men, from ourselves, from society at large when it comes to how we look, how we dress, how we talk, what sort of jobs we have, what we eat, where we go, who we go with…you get the picture. When I first started this blog, my inaugural post was a rather aggressive feminist rant about how the wage gap isn’t actually a gender gap but a motherhood penalty, something which seems far more unjust than anything based upon genitalia.

My favorite saying to have emerged from the celebrity driven — let’s not deny it, okay? — feminist movement has been the phrase “Empowered Women Empower Women.” Because, in all honesty, there is no reason for one woman to cut down another unless the original is in a bad place herself. Remember Sam from On mattering? She confessed she was in a poor mental state and her external manifestations of that were moments of neglect and harm towards our friendship. Case and point. 

Me though? I’m in a good place. And being in a good place makes me capable of putting others in a good place too. 

Over the past few weeks, I have been working to put together the MA Publishing exhibition at the Postgraduate Media Show at London College of Communication. While my peers thought this was a one-woman role, and that definitely was all they saw since I was the one liaising with them through spam-like frequency Facebook messages, this was not the case. So when the Show launched, I made sure everyone knew that it was not just me behind the curtain. I had been in a partnership with a Masters in Arts and Lifestyle Journalism student Aliaa who was sharing our exhibition space. In natural millennial style, I took to Instagram.

Aliaa deserved every bit of recognition. She kept me sane. We joked. We drank wine. We nailed signs to walls and created visual displays. We, by all means, bonded quickly over a short period of time. And I will always fondly remember our time together, regardless of whether we continue to keep in contact.

Empowering women, empowering your coworkers, empowering your friends, empowering your peers — it’s all important. Never for a second think that you are where you are because you alone were capable. There is always a team behind you, if you take a look around. Be humble and grateful and let them know that you see their efforts. Let them be heard too. It’s more rewarding than any praise you alone can get.