Here’s to you, strong female.

Here’s to you, strong female.

“ The emerging woman … will be strong-minded, strong-hearted, strong-souled, and strong-bodied…strength and beauty must go together.”Louisa May Alcott

From Fifty shades of grey ( Jamie, I’m sorry, as lovely as you are, these movies are terrible) to the more serious cases in and out of court around sexual harassment, women are at the centre.

So, with that being said, if you are a female , which I assume 90% of you reading this are, then you will also be aware of the wolf whistles you had thrown at you when in a school uniform walking to the bus stop , the men who sit a little too close to you on the train, the text messages from the man you met at a friend’s who took your number and his words just don’t seem right, the comments about your clothes choice, the comments about your hair… Basically, the incidents which make you question “why is this happening or what have I done to bring this upon myself?”.
This is not my #metoo moment but if I were to take part in highlighting those of us who have been treated unjustly this would be it and here is what struck me more than the incident itself.

At University it was another female, not a male, who said while rolling her eyes and crossing her arms “well, he just wouldn’t do that to me” and again, I questioned what I could possibly have done to bring this upon myself? Why am I different from her? Questioning every detail of my life, my language and my actions.

It’s a grim place to be when you let yourself believe that you had a part to play in “bringing this upon yourself”.

We (females) are commented on. I am unable to use better English than that – we are commented on and spoken about. Even amongst our own sex, we are not always viewed as equal or worthy.

It’s upsetting and unnecessary.
I am an artist by trade, an oil painter, and for the first time have allowed myself to paint freely the subject that I love- female dancers.

As I paint the muscular legs and strong backs of these incredible women I don’t see them as “pretty” or “overtly feminine” I see them as skilful individuals who have the ability to use movement to create beautiful shapes.

They are people.

Just like the women in the court cases, the offices, the shops, the cars and in the cafes we frequent- human beings.

The dictionary states the meaning of a human being;

“a man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance.”

What do I take from this definition? The words; “superior mental development, power of speech,, and upright stance”. Yes yes yes.

This week marks the 100th year since (some) women were allowed to vote in the UK. A significant step towards equality in our fast moving history. Human beings have been around a whole lot longer than 100 years so my question is – Why does it feel like we still move towards equality at the pace of a snail yet technology changes at the rate of a millisecond?

I am the first to put my hand up and say that I love being a woman. I enjoy strength training in the gym and equally I love to have lash extensions. I also accept that hair dye is a part of my world because, right now, I don’t want to grow grey naturally.

Does all of this “work” on my exterior appearance mean I am not a feminist who wants equal rights and say for women? NO!!

I aspire to teach girls through to ninety year old women about the need for self acceptance in their everyday life. We live in a world of selfies and criticism from all corners so, a sense of self worth is essential for survival in our male dominant world.

My house is full of males – I married a pretty incredible male and I gave birth to three of his minions. My teenage years were spent climbing trees and wading the rivers (country girl at heart ) with two of my male friends while others were clubbing under fake ids.

I never viewed our football playing in the field as unusual or out of the norm. Furthermore, I never questioned who was the stronger sex between us- naivety and the backbone of an inspirational Mother who handled every bill, every car journey and every meal time as well as her own projects after daddy died. Little does she know how much wisdom she gave me to view everyone as equal and capable.

What I want my message to be with this post is a small cry towards valuing yourself, being yourself, standing up for yourself AND other women.

Because, honestly, we need each other. Our negativity towards one other is much more detrimental to our society and let’s face it, being nice is actually a million times easier than being mean.

Use the valuable breath in your lungs to pull someone up not drag someone down.

In conclusion, here’s to you strong female. Heterosexual , homosexual , young, old, Irish passport or international passport, mother or singleton.

YOU are the reason I write this. WE are the reason the world keeps growing and shining.

Be you, all you.

I’m here waving you on and taking the wolf whistles on the edge of my sword for you.

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