I am WOMAN – A New Project

As I navigate this tumultuous show called life, some of my childhood naïveté has begun to wear off. I’ve seen… things. Heard things. Been told… things. Things about who I am, things about what’s expected of me, what the world, what this society thinks is appropriate for me.

Because I’m a woman.

It all starts so innocently too, you know. Being told in high school to cover up my shoulders and my collarbone. Boys in my grade being surprised that I drove a stick-shift for my first car. I was told I was too loud and I talked too much. As I grew older, it became common practice for my girl friends and I to pretend we were gay so that creepy men would leave us alone in the bars. We’d avoid indulging at strange places because we’d heard the horror stories of drunken rape. We stopped wearing cute outfits out because the catcalls made us beyond uncomfortable. Always being polite and having a nice smile, to avoid causing a scene. More subtly than that, as well, when I entered the work place. I was figuratively pushed aside because I was a young woman who surely didn’t know what she was talking about. Male coworkers would talk over me with their loud and boisterous voices. Inside, I was confident and self-assured, but on the outside, I was mild-mannered, polite, agreeable, easy to work with… submissive.

Without anyone trying, I’d grown into a submissive female.

I didn’t actually notice until I broke out of a long relationship I was in – six years that should’ve ended at two or three – entered the early stages of my new relationship. I had some submissive nervous ticks that I’d developed from being yelled at, trodden on, and peer-pressured. New Boy helped restore me back to my original sense of self. My return to Martial Arts helped as well. I grew louder and more boisterous, my confidence shone through again. Even my parents noticed.

53ddd5fd977c38ebcdbf3b962d756483As I noticed my own growth and change, I realized that there were some parts of me that still remained more “submissive” – such as a tendency to “not cause trouble” or be polite and nod and smile even when I was afraid or uncomfortable. I realized that that’s not me or my fault or part of my personality – that it was something that society had corrupted inside me.

And that I wasn’t alone.

An alarming amount of women feel the exact same way. Even the most confident, beautiful, self-assured women. There will be times when their ‘creep radar’ gets the better of them. When they nod and laugh and die a little inside because some guy just grabbed their ass in the bar, then held up his hands and brushed it off with a “just a joke, honey.” Because we don’t want to make a scene.  When they – like I have – pretend to be gay or to have a boyfriend just so they can enjoy their damned drink at the bar in peace.

To all those women, I present to you:

Le Portraits d’une Femme Fatale.

I am passionate about spreading the word about strong women; about how to be one, how to empower each other. I want to participate and continue the uprising of humanism, of women and men treating each other like proper human beings. I want to inspire the young people to make their voices heard, that they will not be perpetuating the cycle of this… “rape culture” we live in. And the old people too. Basically everyone. I want to encourage people to change their language, their mindset; stop telling boys to “man up” or “don’t be girly”, as if being a female is a terrible weakness. Stop dismissing people’s feeling because it was “just a joke” – you don’t get to decide if what you said hurt someone or not. For people to stop thinking they are entitled to anyone’s time or body. For people to cease thinking that physical strength and stature is the height of supremacy.

This dream is the catalyst for this project. I shall be interviewing a series of women – martial artists – and asking them to comment on strength, society, advice for the young men and women coming up in this generation. They will comment on family, on martial arts, on stereotypes, on high school drama (I plan to get some teens perspective). Through their interviews, I hope to breed inspiration and confidence, I hope to open the doors to conversation, I hope to change the language, to change the mindset.

After all, who better to interview than a bunch of badass ladies?

I hope for the women reading these interviews to know that they are not alone. I hope for the men reading these to have insight on what it’s like to be a woman, and they can use their strong voices for positive change. I hope too, for the non-binary folks out there – my LGBT readers – to be assured in knowing they aren’t alone either, that they do not need to succumb to gender stereotypes and binaries.

“Woman” does not equate weakness.

“Man” does not equate strength.

We are warriors. We are Femme Fatales. And we will be heard.





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