By: Mariana V
“From the time that she was a little girl she was slowly but surely led to believe that her emotions where less important than her achievements, perhaps even antithetical to them”-Marianne Williamson
Being a girl in the new millennium brings a baggage of different messages that are sometimes subtle but have great impact in the way girls will exert their womanhood in the future. One of the most widespread messages of the patriarchal society is that emotions are a sign of weakness and that to be powerful individuals we should put feelings aside.
Let´s think about the essence of this message and how tricky it can be for young womens education. It doesn´t take much for a little girl to realize that emotions in our society are related to the female figure. From the essential presence of the caring mother to the fairy tale characters that portray feminine figures as compassionate, generous, and empathic beings. At the beginning of their lives most girls are led to identify with a female role, which is universally attached to the world of emotions and feelings.
Bye-bye Fairy Tale
I remember to live by this idea of femininity as a wonderful universe that was made for me, until other ideas began appearing in my world: the concept of power. My mother was lovely, but my father had authority. Sleeping Beauty was beautiful, but the Prince was the one with the adventures and the sword. Suddenly, I started to resent femininity and everything related to it, including emotions, especially emotions.
A Common Experience
I have discussed this moment with other women and it is amazing how common, the mysterious feeling is, that something has been stolen from us. It is as if the world came and told us, “you and your beautiful mix of feelings are not convenient if you want to be powerful”. Using the words of Marianne Williamson (1993), “The way to succeed, it seemed to us, was to grow up and be just like daddy”, but girls are not meant to be daddy’s, they are not necessarily meant to be mommy´s either. They are meant to be themselves completely, to express their uniqueness, feminine and masculine sides included.
It is a mistake to give girls the message that their emotional nature will take power out of them. It is a mistake because emotions are the fuel to wake up and change the world. If we turn off our emotions we are like robots following a mind that is easily influenced by media and industry. Feminine elements like compassion, intuition, and empathy are a real need in a world full of indifference and cruelty, and we need to empower girls (and boys) to use their feminine nature with confidence and courage and to never feel ashamed or inferior for being sensitive. Nothing will change until we empower our girls to stand up for what they feel about the world (lets take the example of Malala). Sensitivity is the underestimated feminine weapon, and it is time to take our power back.