#YesAllWomen: In Praise Of The Feminist Voice

This #YesAllWomen discussion is blowing up Twitter.

The hashtag came about as a result of the Isla Vista and University of California Santa Barbara shootings on Friday night.

Reportedly, the alleged shooter Elliot Rodger, was upset that women didn't find him attractive and as a result his personal life wasn't going very well.  In a video posted mere hours before the shooting rampage, Rodger outlines his plan and explains why women and "popular" kids must pay.

The resulting tragedy set off a firestorm in the media; yet another affluent community had their sense of security brutally ripped away.

Then another trend emerged on Twitter---the #YesAllWomen hashtag emerged with some powerful observations about women's safety and even more powerful personal stories.

All of this got me thinking of how lucky I am to have had my feminist spirit nurtured by my amazing mother.

The funny thing about that is that my mother strongly rejected the title of feminist, even though she raised daughters to be largely self sufficient.  It never occurred to me that I couldn't go anywhere or do anything simply because I was black and a woman.


Because that's the way I was raised.

Of course when you're raised to think differently and have a natural independent spirit, people largely view you as "odd."  Believe me, it wasn't easy.

But coming through puberty, high school and young adulthood with a good sense of self makes for a woman with opinions and strength.

I am often praised for being "strong."  In fact, I kind of get tired of hearing it.

Because I couldn't understand why other women would say it to me.

Why wouldn't you speak up for yourself?  Why wouldn't you stand tall and take up space?  Why wouldn't you look a person in the eye when you walk down the street?  Why wouldn't you let your displeasure with people or a situation show on your face?

Why wouldn't you be your own best friend?

Because at the end of the day, you are the president of your own fan club.

To me that's not "strong" that's just standard operating procedure.

Yet after reading the heartbreaking stories of other women.  I'll take that "strong" label any day of the week.

Strong now has a different definition to me.

Strong means going through hell and back.  Strong means living to tell the tale.  Strong means becoming a better woman for coming through the fire.  Strong means making your voice heard.

That's strong.

Keep up the good work ladies.  The world is listening.


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