Unless you’ve been living under a rock since December (or if you just really hate all of Beyonce’s music with a fiery passion) you’ve probably heard her song “Flawless,” which may be the female empowerment song of the century. I mean c’mon, who doesn’t feel powerful telling their haters to “bow down” so boldly and proudly? If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click here and educate yourself.
Of course when something great is done, there are generally some remakes. I just came across Gabifresh’s version and I must say as a self proclaimed fashionista with a plus size frame myself, I’m kind of obsessed with her rendition of the video.
But I actually don’t want to focus on how great Queen Bey’s lyrics are in this song (although I totally could). I wanted to focus on the second verse, which is actually a TED Talk given by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian author. The entire talk is 30 minutes and Beyonce took bits in pieces of different parts to make the monologue that you hear in her song, but it’s worth the watch, I promise.
So this isn’t a rant about why I need feminism or how unfair it is that men make more money than women, (although I do have those feelings, but that’s a different post). I actually wanted to focus on one quote in particular:
“We raise girls to see each other as competitors, not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men”
Now I’ve had a couple of friends who have found out that they guy they were dating were less than honest about their monogamous relationship. They all end about the same though, no matter which girl gets the guy, the girl that does get him, tends to feel like she has won.
Now I can go on about what she has or hasn’t won (in the words of Olivia Pope, I am not a prize you can win at the State Fair), but that isn’t completely the point here.
The guy is the cheater, the guy did the girl (or girls) wrong so why as women, are we sizing up one another and competing for someone who obviously doesn’t respect either of us?
It got me thinking, am I apart of the problem? To my knowledge I’ve never been the other women, but I have been the woman comparing myself to the “winner.” I’m totally guilty of sizing up a woman and rattling off my list of accomplishments, only to follow it with “I’m better than her,” or “he should date me instead,” as if I set out to achieve all those accomplishments just for male attention (plot twist: I didn’t). In yet I still I act as if my resume and titles have earned me the right to get a man over my female peers.
But the question still remains, why? I guess I can’t fully answer that, but Chimamanda, the author of the TED Talk, has a pretty good idea, “Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important.”
How backwards is that? Society tells me to create a life for myself that will allow me to support myself and the lifestyle I want, but I’m also told not to aim too high, otherwise I’ll be successful, but single. How confusing.
The unfortunate truth is, there will still be men who do women wrong, (and women who do men wrong and just really sucky people in general) but that doesn’t mean I can’t change the way I react to it. So what better way to try to change than by making a public promise to myself (and my followers I suppose). I can’t change how every woman reacts to relationship news from their friend (or the other woman), but I can change how I react and that’s exactly what I plan to do.
With one of my very best friends getting married in a little under two months, I want to be able to shed my bitter, single attitude that I’ve had lately and genuinely be happy for her, and all my friends honestly.
Here goes nothing.