Empowerment is a beautiful word. It sounds strong and admirable. It sounds sturdy and noble. It means you have power and the will and ability to execute things. It means you can impact your world and have control.
But lately this word has been thrown around as if it’s the new fad beauty trend. Career to Cocktails? Low lights? Empowerment? Buy here! Click here! #Hashtag Meme! YouTube!
Being empowered is not so easy. And it isn’t handed to you. You have to create it within yourself. You have to stick your neck out, make choices, own the consequences. You are not empowered if you are blaming others for things you do. You are not empowered if you are simply trying to control others, control the narrative, and control your image. Even when you are empowered, there are still many things that are out of your control. But if something IS in your control, you make decisions and you hold yourself accountable for the consequences of your decisions.
I read this article this morning that absolutely flabbergasted me with the blatant blaming and hypocrisy.
The article concludes that yes, men are to blame and to prove their guilt, it continues to provide multiple examples of women making choices about their own lives. What?
The article’s spin is to blame men for the childlessness of women. And yet the three women interviewed all gave personal reasons and examples of their choices they made which led to their childlessness. These are decisions these women made, which had consequences; yet the article nor the participants at any time suggested that the women were responsible for their circumstances.
“And it’s not medical infertility that’s fuelling the rise of childlessness among these women. Instead, they are childless by circumstance.”
No, no they aren’t. They are childless by CHOICE.
The article gives the first woman’s story. She blames MEN for being childless. Men who weren’t willing to have a child and a family. Then she immediately describes the grief she feels when she recalls hearing about the boyfriend whom she “dumped on a whim” who had a 25 year marriage with 3 kids. Apparently he was willing to settle down and have a family. And a woman who wasn’t making important life decisions “on a whim” thought he was perfectly suitable, and he was!
The next woman blames easy sex that requires no commitment although she does admit that she made a bad decision by having an affair with a married man. Bad choices! Also wrong! She goes on to admit to several more bad decisions including an attempt to mislead a man into getting her pregnant!
Are men to be blamed for not forcing these women into marriage and motherhood? As far as I can tell all of these women made personal choices: either very bad decisions about who they invested their time in or even good decisions to focus on career and travel. Hey! If you want to travel and have a career, that’s your choice! No one is going to judge you for that! But to decide later that it was a mistake and blame men for that mistake instead of taking responsibility for it is lame.
I won’t quote the whole article. You can read it here.
The point of my rant is to illustrate that we have not reached a point of true empowerment for women. If we don’t take responsibility for our choices, we can’t take action to make positive changes. If we blame others for our choices and mistakes, we are embracing a victim mentality which robs us of our own power to be the directors of our destiny.
We blamed men for having our careers limited when we didn’t have birth control. Now we’re blaming men because we have birth control and used it! We blamed men for keeping us out of the workplace. Now we blame men because our career opportunities were so appealing we preferred them over family life!
Come on now!
This is the second part that rattles me. None of these are necessarily bad choices. I’m sure there are many women who made the same choices and are happy with them! We all make choices and sometimes we regret them. But sometimes we celebrate them. That’s how choices work. So why are we profiling women who made choices, regretted them and then got caught up blaming others, making excuses and whining that they deserved different. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. They had the opportunity for different though, and each of them declined it.
You get the life you choose!
Why do we profile these women? Are we trying to create a blameless environment where we are all victims of “circumstance” instead of agents of choice? Ladies, we deserve better. We are better! Let’s find better stories to tell! Let’s celebrate better role models! There’s no one right choice about having a family or a career, but whatever you choose, own it. And if you regret it, own that too.
Power is not just the ability to make decisions and control the blame and consequences so they only affect others. It is not the ability to spin a story to appear blameless and innocent in the course of action of your life. Those who have true power are admired because they take responsibility for the good as well as the bad. When the SHTF the buck stops here. And we all look to those leaders for direction on what’s next.
Ladies we are selling ourselves short and selling future generations short when we do not own up to our mistakes. We can not learn from our choices and determine solutions if we are in denial about how our choices affect our lives.
We DO have the power to choose any number of things in our lives! Our families, our careers, where we live! The world is our oyster!
So, your life is not where you envisioned it would be? Suck it up and start envisioning a new one!
You are only here for a short while and sitting around looking for someone else to blame isn’t going to get you anywhere besides down in the dumps.
Be HONEST with yourself. Take responsibility for your choices. Be truly empowered!
If you want to find how to create true empowerment in your life, read this post which could easily have been entitled How to Stop Blaming Men and Start Being a Badass