draw near, women, and hear what I have to say. Turn your curiosity for once towards useful objects, and consider the advantages which nature gave you and society ravished away. Come and learn how you were born the companion of man and became his slave; how you grew to like the condition and think it natural; and finally how the long habituation of slavery so degraded you that you preferred its sapping but convenient vices to the more difficult virtues of freedom and repute. If the picture I shall paint leaves you in command of yourselves, if you can contemplate it without emotion, then go back to your futile pastimes; ‘there is no remedy, the vices have become the custom’
-Choderlos de Laclos, ‘On the education of Women’, 1783
As I sit around a table of daughters, passionately involved in meaningful discussion on girls and women and their place within the world of today; I can feel a fire burning deep within their souls, almost a rage not just of how little we seemed to have learnt but how generations of women themselves seem to have come to a passive acceptance of this role we are told to play and that the young adult girls of their age are too being molded by the mothers and fathers who tell them no different. These daughters I speak of set themselves apart. They do this proudly, and by no means to condemn, or to be better, or be above their peers but merely to make a difference. They have decided to walk in another direction. You will not find these daughters engrossed in social media sifting though images of girls depicting themselves sexually, in awe of how they too can look like this and have the freedom to share it with the world. No, these daughters are not admiring or being inspired to follow this new generation of girls; instead they find it all the more reason to fight, to stand up and be seen for their intelligence, humility, bravery,compassion and strength even when faced with demoralization from their sisters and male counterparts, because they dare to be different, because they dare to say this is by no means alright. They are choosing to be the voice that speaks and if necessary shouts and says; Girls what are you doing? And who are you doing it for? These daughters are reading the likes of Simone de Bouvier, and Virgina Woolf they are angered and equally saddened by despite the fact that so much time has passed, we seemed to have learnt so little. That these women too, carried this very same message and somehow it failed to be heard. They are as astounded as I, for the incomprehension that women are still seen in so many ways weaker, inferior, less intelligent and less capable, too emotional and most appallingly as objects to be moulded and designed purely for our male companions. It is like the world is being deliberately obtuse. I recently came across a piece of writing that was screaming for the attention of women.. for women to wake up and pay attention.
‘… Why, ladies? Why must we continue to whittle ourselves down? Who is it for? What is it for? You can walk through a certain aisle at the pharmacy or at the grocery store and see the language of diminishment all over the packaging for weight loss aids of all kinds.”Shrink your waist.” “Lose inches off your thighs.””Slim down.””Get skinny”
How about”Grow your mind.” “Increase your confidence and productivity.” “Beef up your knowledge.” “Enlarge your scope of asskicking.”
That’s a valid message for women and girls: Grow, expand, branch out, open up,get bigger,wider, faster, stronger, better, smarter. Go up not down. Get strong, not skinny.
You are not here to get smaller. You are not here to have a thin waist and thighs. You are not here to disappear. You’re here to change the world! Change the world then! Forget about “losing a few pounds”. Think about what you could be gaining instead.”
-words from clearthatmindofcant