The Strong Woman Part IIFriday, June 12, 2015
A while ago I posted about feeling a bit weak and dejected. You can read about it here. I was just feeling as though I was meant to be stronger, and I wanted to be stronger, but I was having a difficult time figuring out how to go about it.
I had a conversation with a professor recently, and she helped me to open up my eyes and really see things in a different light. I'm about to get really academic here, so forgive me if you don't understand!
I spoke with this professor regarding my Major Research Paper (MRP/thesis), which is on the subject of mixed-race female strength empowerment through social media. We were discussing this concept of strength and empowerment, and how my goal was not to see it as a state of being, but rather as an aspect of who a person is. This idea of strength and empowerment is seen as a final state, a destination, when in actuality people do not simply reach and stay in a place where they feel strong and empowered. People shift back and forth, often going between what we consider weakness and disempowerment, and strength and empowerment. Not only is this normal, but it's a part of life, and a result of the way that we as a society creates social categories.
Too often we see things as binaries: either you're weak or you're strong, either you're empowered or you're not, either you're Black or you're White. This state of 'in-between' is so contrary to our understandings of identities that when you fall in between, people think there's something wrong with you. That's part of my MRP - the realization that mixed-race females are considered disempowered because they are not understood. But as the way we think shifts and makes room for these fluid and all-encompassing identities, we are able to see that it is possible to be strong and weak at the same time. In fact, we carry with us our strengths and weaknesses, our empowerment and disempowerment, all at the same time.
A while back I had said that the strong woman in me was nowhere to be found. That's not true. The strong woman is always there. She's supporting the weak woman, just like the weak woman supports the strong. They're the same damn woman. Just like I say that it's okay to have the crappy day, it's okay to have the weak woman take the reins for a bit! It's okay to feel weak and dejected, that's all part of life.
I need to break down this weak woman vs. strong woman dichotomy. I'm going to work on it, I promise. But if you can identify with what I'm saying, don't hesitate to sound off on the comments below. I'd love to hear your opinions.
Thanks for reading!
The (Sometimes) Defiant Dougla