As teenagers, my BFFs and I were passionate, melodramatic feminists. Our catch cry was ‘Towanda’ (you have seen Fried Green Tomatoes, right?), we petitioned the principal of our very-traditional private school to allow girls to wear pants (and failed), there was much eye-rolling and loud protesting at the ‘sexist’ boys, and plenty of talk about never getting married (or even becoming a nun for one of us who will remain nameless), or if we did, keeping our own surnames. We were women, hear us roar.
Now, in my thirties, with my teens far enough behind me for me to laugh at myself, I have mellowed. And I have also realised that it’s not what a woman wears or what she’s called that makes her strong. It’s not about her job or her marital status.
A woman’s strength comes from her soul. That nurturing, gentle-fierce, fiery centre that has the ability to bring life and light into the world. The mummy-lion heart that will rip to shreds any predator that comes between her and those she loves.
Her strength comes from her convictions. Her morals and her ethics. She doesn’t have to dominate the world, a room or even a conversation. She just has to stand firm on the rock of her beliefs. She just has to stand for something.
You know, I think the world still gets it wrong. The strong ones aren’t the ones making all the noise, all the drama. The strong ones are raising future leaders, or changing their corner of the world unnoticed, or writing blog posts at midnight.
I don’t need to burn my bra to be strong. My strength comes from my character, and no outward display of rebellion is going to prove that. But over all, my strength comes from my God who made me in His image.
So be proud of your gentleness, woman. Don’t be ashamed of your nurturing spirit. These are the things that make us strong.
Happy International Women’s Day.