*This is the first installment in the What They Should Know series. Click here to read the second installment, On What They Should Know: A Message to Young Girls*
The truth is that your body (as beautiful as it is) is NOT all you have to offer. It is NOT your claim to fame and is NOT where your true power lies. Others would have you believe that the outer outweighs the inner, but that’s only because they want to control you. They’d rather you focus on your jean size and hip measurements so they can control your bodies. They’d rather you focus on your skin color and hair texture so they can control your understanding of beauty. They’d rather you focus on everything that has little bearing on who you are and the mark you inevitably leave.
This is not who we are meant to be. A woman at her best is a vessel for inspiration and life, a bringer of hope and balance, an image of peace and grace. This is the potential we all possess.
This message is not to empower you, but to remind you of the strength you already have. Quite literally, we give shape and texture to the world by lending our wombs to the future. Don’t you think we deserve respect for that? Don’t you think we deserve to be seen in all our complexity and not reduced to paper-thin imitations of what others say we should be?
Of course we do! We are grand. No, not in a superficial, “your girl ain’t got nothing on me” kind of way, but in a way that recognizes and validates all that we are. Everyone may not realize this (in fact, I’m sure many would rather not) but as long as you know what is true, they’ll have no choice but to become aware.
When men disrespect us, they do it with our permission. When advertisers and other companies misrepresent us, they do it with our permission. Don’t bother getting upset at my observation. Just accept the truth. When we demand to be treated differently and better, then–and only then– will they have no choice but to conform.
I’m certain you already know this, but men love women. And they’ll do whatever they have to to get us. So, when they continually disrespect us, it’s because they know they can with no repercussions. The moment you let them know, “Homie, it’s not even going down,” things change. At that point, they are forced to do one of two things: 1.) treat you the way you want to be treated or 2.) move on to someone else who won’t mind their foolishness. The choice is theirs. Either way, you’ll be better off.
Here’s something else you already know: advertisers love women. They know we’re an easy target that spends far more than men. But, the moment we let them know, “I’m not buying this trash!” they’ll be forced to do one of two things: 1.) stop selling items and sending messages that objectify us or 2.) go out of business and head over to the unemployment line. The choice is theirs. Either way, you’ll be better off.
We’d all be better off if the world realized the jewel it has in women. We don’t need to exist without men or even above them, but only to be recognized by them (and ourselves) for the value we add to the world.