Recently, I read a post on how Kim Kardashian has ruined the term empowerment for women. By only self-objectifying herself and focusing on her bodily appearance, she is saying her power comes merely from her sexuality. While I hope that all women feel empowered enough to feel confident in their own bodies and sexualities, I would rather women feel most empowered in other ways. My fear is that women, young and old, may not know how else to be empowered.
While I have always been encouraged to strengthen my mind and utilize my intelligence, I have also been encouraged to utilize my physical assets. Growing up, I was always told that I had “beauty and brains.” Looking back, after suffering through body image and self-esteem issues, I wonder why I was never told that it’s okay to be just brains. Lack of beauty doesn’t detract from my brains.
Granted, there is scientific evidence that attractive people are more likely to be hired or paid attention to, but that doesn’t guarantee they are better at all. Instead of encouraging girls to be the perfect, total package, let’s encourage girls and women to be as much as anything they want to be:
- Stop comparing and competing
Competition is natural and good – to an extent. However, there doesn’t have to be one best kind of woman. Recognizing someone else’s strengths does not mean belittling your own. Encourage the women around you to be the best they can be, and appreciate that everyone’s individual strengths make them unique.
2. Find real role models
Find them and support them. So many celebrities have little talent and encourage women that by merely looking good, anyone can be rich and famous. While this may be possible, there is no substantial value. Which women are making the world a better place? Advocate for them, and imitate the desired traits. Plato said the only way to be virtuous is to resemble idols, which is why empowered role models are important.
3. Boycott media that objectifies and degrades women
Personally, I don’t like to even talk celebrities that use only their looks to be famous. I don’t support them, I don’t talk about them, I don’t buy into anything they support. While this may be trivial for now, overtime, dollar (or shared) votes can make a difference.
4. Train functionally
Some people may enjoy bodybuilding, but that is not the primary goal of most people who strength train. I prefer functional training because it not only prevents injury but increases strength for everyday activities. You empower yourself by being capable of lifting heavy objects, whether it’s moving boxes or carrying your own suitcase. Be strong not for aesthetic purposes but functional purposes.
5. Try something new
Any time that you step outside of your comfort zone, you are empowering yourself by proving you can do something you never expected. Whether it’s exploring a new part of a city, trying a new fitness class, or eating a different kind of food, test your limits. Nothing exciting ever came from inside your comfort zone.
6. Be honest to yourself and others
Are you really happy? Are you overworking yourself? Are you not challenging yourself enough? Are you really making decisions you feel fully confident in? Are you communicating enough with your friends and family? Do they know the real you? Life is too short to be anything but yourself. Be honest and authentic. Embrace any and all edges you may have. They make you you.
7. Create your own media
If you don’t like the conversation, change it! How do you empower yourself? How can you share your story with the rest of the world?