Honestly, it’s a term I wouldn’t have found myself embracing — no less, defending — two years ago. I felt, and sometimes still do, that it can be misused by the third-wave feminist movement, in which trashing men in order to elevate women is now a popular, even essential, trend. I believed — and still do believe — that women do not need to take down men in order to be recognized. However, I now think we can have both. We can empower women while not succumbing to this toxic trend.
That is what brings me here, to this article, and to this article here at Future Female Leaders of America. Because this organization has changed that term “female empowerment” for me to mean just that. We celebrate women — specifically, but not limited to, those on the political right — for their accomplishments, we seek to encourage women, and we inform them about political happenings from a variety of perspectives that sit right-of-center.
And we do it all without taking down men, as well as without taking down those who sit on the opposite side of the aisle.
It seemed fitting to write this for the week of FFL’s 7th birthday. As someone who has followed FFL since its beginning days, as someone who watched this organization evolve and explode to reach millions of people daily, and as someone who now participates in the work that FFL does, I should be a defender of “female empowerment” — and I am proud to say that I am.
Female empowerment reaches far beyond the world that FFL has established. It goes beyond red elephant skirts and GOP earrings, though it certainly includes it.
So what does it mean to empower women? Why should we like this term — or, even more, defend it?
It means arming women with facts, not biased assertions
“A well-read woman is a dangerous creature.” -Lisa Kleypas
Women are often strategic targets of both sides of the political aisle. Both sides want the female vote. However, their messages can go beyond catering to women. These messages can sometimes manipulate women (Mike Pence turning our society into the dystopian one out of The Handmaid’s Tale, anyone?).
We need to be armed with facts. With realities. What initially drew me in here to FFL was the wide range of stories and perspectives posed on the blog. There were news pieces, as well as plenty of opinion pieces. But they all presented facts to back up their claims, which I was able to verify. I treat my news sources with the same amount of caution, too.
We should be reading, studying, thinking. Be challenged by the content you read. Evaluate where, and from whom, you get your facts. Check facts, and then check them again.
It means supporting women for their qualifications, not their gender
What has made FFL so unique to me is that we don’t decide that a woman is qualified simply for being a woman. Rather, she is qualified because of her knowledge, experience, and deeds. She has worked for and earned her way as a person, not a woman.
Women in public office, in business, in every other sphere of society should earn their positions for nothing except knowledge, experience, and deeds. We do not need to support a woman running for president simply because she would be the first female to hold that position. And we are not anti-woman for voting for a qualified man over a less-qualified woman.
Is it not much more empowering to be granted a position for your work and deeds and convictions?
It means showing kindness to those with whom we agree, as well as those with whom we disagree
A foreign concept to many, but an essential one. If someone’s political opinions anger you enough that you have to tear that person down, you have put too much stock in politics. Our world is far more than political opinions.
An example here at FFL comes from an article about mothers in office. Despite our standing as an outlet for conservative women, author celebrated Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth’s historical welcoming of a child while in office. I have little in common politically with Senator Duckworth. But she is a qualified woman who made history in her field. What isn’t there to be excited about?