In an age of political correctness we often find ourselves biting our tongues. In an age of seemingly increasing violence we sometimes find ourselves actually asking ourselves if we should get involved when we see something happening that should never happen. Our opinions aren’t always respected and our voices aren’t always heard. There is still a stigma to be carried if you are one of those women who is not afraid to voice an opinion. In some circles, even in 2010, if you are female and opinionated or passionate about something you might just find people want to shush you. Call you a bitch. A loudmouth. Accuse you of interfering. A women with an opinion AND a voice is still threatening to many people.
An empowered woman is a truly powerful force. What drives women to speak out, to speak her mind, to “interfere”? If the feminists of the past and the present are any indication, women have been driven to stand up and break the silence when the status quo has been hurting people. People with less power. People who are in the minority. People who need protection. The care, protection and freedom of the less powerful and under-represented tend to get women to speak out. And when they do, their voices shock those in power because those voices are LOUD. They are passionate and filled with clarity and conviction. Women also know that there is strength in numbers and in unity so one voice quickly becomes a chorus of voices. The status quo really starts to quake then. So the response is a rush to silence the voices.
But I implore you to continue to find your voice and speak your minds. At school, at home, in any and every arena you think change is necessary. In any situation that needs a different view, a voice of reason, words of comfort or support. Whenever you bow to those who want to silence a passionate, intelligent, caring female voice, you give away a little bit of your power to transform the world. Even if it is something as small as encouraging a friend.
I rarely have kept my mouth shut. I’ve been called all those things I mentioned earlier. It doesn’t faze me. I’d rather speak out for a woman or child, a friend or a neighbour, than say nothing. Whenever I have towed the line and said nothing I have actually watched women in my life face real darkness and unhappiness. When I withheld my voice in protection of them and encouragement to them, I failed them as a friend completely.
It’s too hard for me to be specific about these failures but I did want to express that the failure was never in opening my mouth for others. It was keeping silent that was rewarded with regret.