One woman has become the face for female empowerment this week, and I don’t think that’s a good thing―but not for the reason you might be thinking.
So many websites are bombarding us with articles about Hillary Clinton and what she’s doing for women. Scrolling online, it feels like I’ve only seen her face coupled with headlines about women’s rights, female equality, and inspiration.
Politics aside, I think it’s dangerous when we put all of our female empowerment cards in one person, one ideal. I’m not here to rip apart Hillary, to analyze her credentials, or to make this a political statement.
I’m simply here to say: Hillary Clinton is not the only woman who has the power to inspire women.
Don’t worry, I’m not living under a rock. I understand the excitement, the impact this could have. A female president certainly is a huge stride in women’s rights,regardless of what political party you align with. I’m sure Susan B. Anthony would be leaping with joy at the prospect, along with all of the other women who paved the way for this historical event.
However, it frustrates me to see everyone only focused on Hillary. It seems like she’s the only beacon of hope in the female empowerment movement. Certainly, the presidency yields great power and respect. But is the presidency the only source of inspiration for women?
Girls and women need role models to look up to, need women who prove to us it’s okay to dream big.
However, a woman as president is not the be-all and end-all of female empowerment.There are so many ways to inspire women, to promote equality for women, and to teach girls to strive for their wildest dreams.
There are women doing amazing things outside of the campaign for the presidency who deserve to be highlighted as well.
Furthermore, I don’t think you have to have money or fame to be empowering. In my local community, I see examples of women inspiring other women all around me.
I see female empowerment in a local woman who pursued her dream of opening an animal rescue called Mending Hearts. I see female empowerment in my many female classmates from high school who have opened their own businesses, from hair salons to pet services. I see female empowerment in a writer in my hometown who blogs about finding balance between identity, spirituality, and motherhood. I see female empowerment in all the women around me who pursue their innermost goals and dreams, whatever that looks like.
I see female empowerment in the faces of my parents, who never let my gender be a qualifier of what I could or could not do. They told me education and determination would open up any opportunity I sought; they never let me believe being female would hold me back.
I see empowerment in the faces of my female students every time they raise their hands and voice their opinions. They are not afraid to be heard or to challenge something they don’t agree with.They are not afraid to take ownership for their learning or to pursue their academic goals.
Thus, I think we need to remember female empowerment isn’t embodied by one woman. Female empowerment is embodied by every single woman who is striving to promote a better, more equal version of our world.
I’m not saying Hillary Clinton isn’t doing notable, inspiring things. I think she deserves press and attention.
However, there are countless other women in every field who inspire, empower, and move us to be better. It doesn’t take a presidential candidate to remind women we are strong, powerful, and capable of achieving our wildest dreams.
Let’s take some time this week to recognize women of all walks of life who are moving the female empowerment movement forward. I’ve only mentioned a few, and these may not be women you would put at the top of the list. That’s okay; feel free to comment with women who you think are empowering women. Tweet about #empoweringwomenyoushouldknow.
Let’s teach our girls the many faces of female empowerment this week.
Lindsay Detwiler Contemporary romance author, high school English teacher, animal lover, and wife
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