Should we be teaching our daughters to be powerful?
I think 100% yes we need to. If we want to raise girls who fully achieve their potential and feel unstoppable, knowing they have power is surely important. But then again I guess it depends on how you view power.
For me, power is knowing you are at choice, you alone are 100% responsible for your life and you can do anything you want to. Of course I want my daughters to feel that.
But the word power gets a bad reputation, often being associated with bullish behaviour and power over another, which is a less than desirable trait for our daughters.
I recently asked a question to lots of women “What do you think it means to be a Powerful Woman?
And I got a lot of varied answers, from comfortable in your own skin, gaining respect and having freedom, they all pretty much lined up with my view of power except one, which I have to say stunned me somewhat.
The same as it means to be a powerful man. Powerful women are women who have literal power, e.g. in politics or business. It's not just about confidence - that's a lie used in cosmetics adverts. We don't call men powerful just because they're confident. We call men powerful when they're wealthy, influential and dominating. People are powerful when they have material power to change things or control things, not just in their own life but in other people's lives. E.g. an employer has power but a secretary doesn't, no matter how confident and "empowered" that secretary considers herself to be.
Now while it initially made me almost fall off my chair I think it shows perhaps the true feelings that some women hold about the word power. If I am powerful I will be mean and no one will like me, and who would want that?
Perhaps it is time to redefine the word power and claim the female elements of it, or do we need to replace the word all together in favour of another? Does the word have so many male connotations with it that we need a new one?
Or maybe we need to stop seeing powerful women as divas, as bitches, as chicks with attitude and just start calling it what it is - a women standing in her power.
I have always asked myself this question - would a man feel bad doing this or would people criticise a man if he had done this? Often the answer is no. If we wouldn’t criticise a man for doing it then why should we have a go at a women?
It really is food for thought isn’t it?
So how do you associate with the word power? Do you see yourself as a powerful woman? How do you feel teaching your daughters to be powerful?