Breaking Barriers, featured content, Life From A Feminist's Perspective, Political Hunger Games, Politics

Support Women, Empower Women

Why Women Need to Support Other Women

I am a bisexual woman. I am a mother. I am a grandmother. I am a politician. I am a strategist. I am a friend. I am a feminist. I am an ally. I am a matriarch. I am an activist. I am a collaborator. I am a host. I am a bridge-builder. I am a social justice warrior. I am an honest broker. I am a communications specialist. I am a leader. I am a truth-teller. I am a fighter. I am a force to be reckoned with; ask anyone. I know who I am and what I represent. What I am not, is a follower. What I am not is a person who allows wrong-doings to go unnoticed and unaccounted for. When I seek truth, I seek accountability and justice. I seek change. I take action. As I’ve already said, I’m a feminist, an inter-sectional feminist. I stand up for women, including trans and minority women. I fight for equality. That being said, there are women who lack the confidence to be an ally and a support for other women, for a multitude of reasons. I’d like to say that I don’t understand where these less-than-supportive women are coming from; unfortunately I do. I felt similar feelings when I was considerably younger and didn’t have the confidence and fortitude to recognize my strengths and talents. That can be chalked up to be sexually and physically abused. Nothing destroys self-worth quicker than being violated and made to not feel safe. Fast forward 15 years and I now know my place. I know my path. My leadership qualities have enabled me to be a mover and a shaker in a few areas. I never back down. Politics in New Brunswick is a male-dominated institution. It’s blood sport. I was disappointed and very dismayed to discover when I was filling out my candidate papers to run for MLA last year’s snap election, all the wording on the forms were worded in masculine language. It’s automatically assumed by our political institutions that the candidates will be male. That in itself sends a very sexist and discouraging message to would-be women or non-binary politicians in New Brunswick. This is something that needs to be amended forthwith. My time with a political party recently reinforced how strong patriarchal ideologies are still interwoven in these institutions. Words matter. Women seeking a seat at the table is daunting enough with the additional scrutiny and road blocks, we don’t need the extra discouragement.

An exceptional example of a strong, vocal woman

Why I surround Myself With Supportive Women

I’ve had many naysayers in my life. These kinds of people project their own fear and insecurities onto us in the hopes of keeping us down; whether it be jealousy, lack of understanding, being close-minded, feeling threatened, or because of ambitions. The end result is the same. I found it very discouraging to have been initially told by a friend that she didn’t feel I would be accepted by a specific group. It weighed on my mind; not because I believed her, but because I couldn’t help but wonder why she would say such a thing. In short, I was led to believe I wasn’t good enough, or I was lacking in some way. I kept the conversation to myself for a time, to mull it over. I’m learning to respond, rather than react. A year later, and I was told by another women that I don’t belong to a specific group. Several women made it their mission to spread hateful comments, with a nefarious agenda, in an attempt to bring me down. It stuns me when women intentionally hold other women back. No matter how much another woman wronged me, I would never set out to bring her down, or hold her back in her endeavours. We can’t do this to each other and still expect to get ahead. We all move forward collectively or none of us do. I belong to a coalition that lifts up others. This keeps me focused on my goals, on my mission to help others. We help uplift and raise up other women. We support them in their endeavors, even politically. When I was a candidate in the snap election last year I helped a woman from another party get signatures. I helped her despite our different political banners because it was the the right thing to do. There’s always a right thing to do. Don’t worry, I miss the mark sometimes too, but I own it.

Be You, Do You

I am well know for being fierce. I am also well known for being empathetic and kind. I am each of these women. I wear many hats. I’ve reached a point in my life where I don’t need anyone’s approval. I don’t need anyone’s permission. I don’t need anyone’s guilt. I don’t need anyone’s negativity. I’ve been to hell and back but I survived. I didn’t just survive, I’ve thrived. I’ve had my moments of insecurity and doubts, we all do. Thankfully, I have the ability to reason, a support system I can rely on, and the respect of my peers. That doesn’t mean I don’t have adversary. I do.

“You have no enemies, you say? Alas! my friend, the boast is poor; He who has mingled in the fray of duty, that the brave endure, must have made foes! If you have none, small is the work that you’ve done. You’ve hit no traitor on the hip, you’ve dashed no cup from perjure d lip, you’ve never turned the wrong to right, you’ve been a coward in the fight.” ~ Charles Mackay

Do not harm but take no shit. Be kind. End of story.

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