I love this quote by Elizabeth Gilbert about strong women, from my experience it has been proven true again and again. I have and have had many strong women in my life who have all handled shit went it went wrong a thousand different ways on a thousand different days – friends, beloved grandmother, mother, aunt and acquaintances. I had a conversation with my daughter about the double standards applied to women in the spotlight – leadership positions, celebrities, politicians, etc. The double standard we observe is that women are judged harshly by who they are/ how they are portrayed – whether they are compassionate, empathetic, professional, and it doesn’t matter if they are competent and well qualified for their roles. There seems to be more importance placed on how they conduct themselves, what they wear, how old they are, what their marital status is or if they do or do not have children. These things have no bearing on how well a woman can fulfill their role. To me, it demonstrates we need to teach the next generations not to judge females – on appearances or what the ‘societal’ norms may be – which may not be the norm at all, for some people. It would be great to pass on the importance to not be judgemental – especially females of other females. From my experience, we are stronger when we stand together and support one another. We can only understand from our point of view.
Jacinda Adern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, is often criticised for her empathy and compassion – it has been observed as being weak. From my experience, those who have these qualities are the opposite – these qualities enable them to place themselves in other people’s suffering and circumstances, yet have the strength to make a positive impact. Jacinda herself is quoted saying “I refuse to believe that you cannot be both compassionate and strong”. She is also quoted saying “It’s essential for women to unite and support one another. Together we are stronger.” This is demonstrated when women come together to support and advocate for the vulnerable, less able or, be a voice when they have experienced the same circumstances. Some examples include breast cancer, domestic violence, sexual violence/assault, child abuse – when women come together for these causes, they are able to garner great support and awareness. I’m not saying males are unable to do the same, however, these are some examples where I feel women supporting other women, showing solidarity for the same cause are stronger together.
There are also double standards perpetuated by the media such as two people may do the same or similar things but one gets criticised while the other is praised. The problem is not just that of the media companies, it is us, it is society – if we allow it to continue, it becomes a norm and we are silently condoning that type of behaviour. If it were to be happening to our loved ones eg spouse, children, daughters, nieces, etc – we would call it out as bullying and find ways to raise awareness and look to eliminate it. I have written previously that we all judge, we are all imperfect but it is about catching ourselves when we do or before we do it, to consider the rolling effect. It all starts with us, with you – if we can prevent ourselves from doing this and teaching our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, sons – it is unacceptable, we can challenge the norm. How could you start discussion about this with your children, or children you may have influence over? How can we encourage open and honest dialogue about this and other topics? How can we ensure that we embody the principles to Laugh.Love.Live? We may also discover we have internalised some behaviour, perspectives or ways of thinking based on our environment and influences that are not in alignment with this. It’s up to us to change it and rewrite the script.
This is just one of many challenging topics for discussion but it’s important to start the conversation and plant the seed. It’s important to raise the next generations with empathy, compassion, authenticity and treating all with kindness – inclusion for all. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed time over the festive season to spend time with friends, family and loved ones or at least were able to send your love. I hope this year may become a better one for us all. Stay safe, stay well – peace and blessings!