Women – Are we living in a man’s world? We all know about boys having to be tough – “Boys don’t cry”, boys get given toys to confirm their future roles – trucks, footballs, fiction-hero’s, games of war….
We women may feel that we have to compete in this competitive male world, and many of us have tried to create an even playing field in our pursuit of equality for women – with the fight for the right to work, equal pay in the workforce, day-care for young children, female cricket and footy teams, promotions, baby bonuses and more. At the same time we have found ourselves often comparing with each other with regard to academic achievement, ideals of beauty, having more money or a successful career, being in relationships versus being single, and having kids.
Have we lost the precious qualities of true beauty and fragility in this battle for equality and respect?
Many women now find themselves living in overwhelm, anxiousness and exhaustion in trying to live up to a multi-tasking ideal – the super-woman living with the ideals and rules set up in the workplace, in education, and at home, that keep them racy, nervous and on edge. Women have had to toughen up in order to keep up with all of these roles, both in the workplace and at home. Workers, wives, mothers, daughters, friends, housekeepers, cooks, are some of the roles we play, all the while keeping up appearances for our partners, work colleagues and employers, and at the same time comparing ourselves to other women.
There are many ways of dealing with comparison, anxiety and feelings of a lack of self worth such as resorting to botox and cosmetic surgery to stay young and keep a job, or slogging away at the gym to stay fit. Mothers can sacrifice themselves in the belief that this is the “right” thing to do, and as wives, override their exhaustion to please their husbands. Many of us have used, or are using, caffeine, sugar and alcohol just to get through the day.
The Strength in Fragility
If we stop for a moment to feel what is really going on for us, allow ourselves to feel the tiredness in the body, and the anxiousness upon waking each morning, would this enable us to feel our fragility? When we allow ourselves to feel how we actually feel we can respond to ourselves in a more honest way, rather than reaching for another cup of coffee to pep us up during the day, or a glass of wine to dull us at the end of the day.
Have we been encouraged to believe that to be fragile is a weakness? What if there was nothing to prove to anyone?
We can take on such ideals and beliefs from childhood, and they can rob us of our worthiness and equality as adults if we are not clear about how we have been affected.
When we can re-learn to appreciate the true beauty of being the woman we are, not for an ideal, but to honour our fragility, there is true beauty to be found equally within all.
We then offer a reflection for other women whom we allow to see us for who we truly are.
If we as women could really get in touch with our fragility and allow ourselves to be more honest and share what is really going on for us, and how we are truly feeling about ourselves, our bodies, and our lives, would that mean we could have more meaningful relationships with other women, without the gossip, and comparison – relationships that we could all grow from?
How safe, supportive, privileged, and amazing it would be to know and enjoy other women without all the baggage of comparison and jealousy – as all women are innately beautiful.
Is True Beauty to be found in women honouring their Strength in Fragility – opening up and telling it how it is?
Could women reclaiming their true beauty and honouring their strength in fragility be the new black?
by Bernadette Curtin, Artist, Art Mentor and Writer, Byron Bay, Australia
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