Reflections: Why It’s Important To Stand Up For Yourself

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way things work in our society. I wouldn’t call myself an overly feminist person, but I do believe that there aren’t enough women in the world who consider themselves beautiful and intelligent. I question why. I believe that women should feel beautiful and strong. I believe that there should be a heavier importance placed on feeling beautiful rather than average.

Something struck me in one of my classes. We were watching a video and the professor speaking was discussing how he used to meet with a group of women and discuss feminist type texts as part of a study group. One particular text they read brought up a conversation between a white woman and a black woman. It came up in the conversation that all men were equal to other men and that all women were equal to other women and that they should stick together. They all have a likeness.

And some people in the group said — wait a minute….

The question then evolved to “what do you see when you look in the mirror in the morning?”

The white women addressed the group and said that when she woke up in the morning, she saw a woman. The black woman said here’s the thing… when I look in the mirror in the morning I see a black woman.

The man, now recounting his story, began to laugh. All the women looked at him. He smiled and said that he now understood because when he looked in the mirror, you know what he saw?

A human being.

Not a man. Not a white man or a black man. He didn’t see his socioeconomic status. He did not see his gender. He just saw a person.

So what does this say about us? It is the concept that we do not realize that we have privilege until we don’t have it. We don’t realize what we do have until it’s gone. It’s sort of like when your pantry is full of snacks and you munch on something here or there but you don’t crave anything. Once that box of Goldfish is gone or that Ben & Jerry’s carton is empty, you will crave those two things and only those two things because you don’t have them. Now think of that on a ginormous, macro scale. That’s huge right? Think about the access you have to things and the access you don’t have. Think about the things that you appreciate most in the world and the things you so desperately want.

I never considered myself to be a spoiled individual until I listened to this lecture. When I look at myself in the mirror, I not only see a woman. I see a woman who has intelligent thoughts, who may not be 100% confident in myself, but realizes that I am beautiful, and I see someone who has a genuinely good life. Other people can’t see things like that in themselves and I think it’s really important that more young women start looking in on themselves and realizing the good things that they have to offer the world.

Think about it. What do you have to offer to the world? I bet it’s something beautiful.

“We teach girls to shrink themselves
To make themselves smaller
We say to girls
“You can have ambition
But not too much
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful
Otherwise you will threaten the man”
Because I am female
I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices
Always keeping in mind that
Marriage is the most important
Now marriage can be a source of
Joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage
And we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments
Which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings
In the way that boys are
Feminist: the person who believes in the social
Political, and economic equality of the sexes”

I'm the founder and Editor in Chief here at Cosmia Magazine. I'm currently an undergraduate student at SDSU where I am studying Speech Language Pathology. I am part of Pi Beta Phi here in San Diego, have my own photography website called Kaitlyn Photography, and love to write. I am a coffee fanatic, love the beach, adore mom & pop breakfast restaurants, and think a picture is worth a thousand words.