The title of this article started off as: “I’m so tired of hearing weak women, define what a strong woman is, in such a condemning manner.”
But that would have tremendously defeated the purpose and would have been intensely counter-productive, at making the point that women should be empowering one another, instead of calling them weak, for the way they deal with pain or handle a situation that solely belongs to them; and what you should be doing, is offering support.
If I am honest with myself, I admit I have been guilty calling someone weak. However, in seeing/hearing someone say it, while generalizing, and making this assessment of someone else; I saw how unfair it was, as it pertained to their ability to process pain. In seeing how less than smart that it made this person look, it did cause me to reflect. I was just beside myself, and happy to say that in that regard, it’s something that I have never done. But it still influenced me to make a conscious decision/effort to remove it from my vocab, going forward.
It’s not a good look to make such a statement, when you don’t have details and you assume you know something. Or when you are just that basic, and ridiculously absurd, that you would gauge someone’s strength and weakness by their ability to handle their hardship; or a willingness or even a decision to “walk away” from something that has affected them, without saying a word. In other words, these people were saying that if someone talks about their pain, that they are weak. Or if they talk about the attributing factors, it’s a sign of weakness. WaiWhat?
Here’s the deal: I would be lying if I said that I do not think situations exist, where someone’s actions, and behavior, may have been a great demonstration of a weak person. For Instance: I do believe that it is weak for a woman to get her 5-year old step daughters ears pierced, just to piss off the biological mother. And I think it’s weak for a business woman to deliberately get a co-worker fired, because she feels threatened by her position/talent and or skills. I think it’s weak for a woman to date a man with a child, and grossly neglect his child because it’s not hers. (He’s weak in that situation too) But…. these are not the things that I am talking about here.
Why is it so easy is it to say, “women are weak, if they have been victimized, and talk about it too much, but they are strong women, if they never mention it, or if they can somehow get over it” But you haven’t the first clue about what their situation entails, aside from a raw opinion of how much time, it should take someone to process their pain? How do you solidify your advice about what strong and weak is, and validate yourself, as “strong”, by calling another woman weak, for the way she processes her life?
How many times have you heard this statement: “She’s a strong woman, you never see her cry”
Strength, IS NOT synonymous with the ability to suppress emotions. That’s just an ability to suppress emotions. The term strong, like a title of the elite, has somehow become immortalized. When you are conditioned to believe that “crying” is weak, you tend to suppress things, just to keep from crying, so that you can appear to be “strong”. I don’t think that because a person can hide their tears, that they are strong. No more than I think that a person who can hide their pain, is strong. I am not saying that a person who does not demonstrate any vulnerabilities through crying, is necessarily “hiding something.” I am saying that it doesn’t make them stronger than someone else who does. And it does not define strength. I think it means that they are greater actors, who may have to face all the things they have suppressed one day, in a big break down. And because they now assign a certain behavior as it pertains to emotions, to strength; I think that they will ultimately have that pain escape their body in a different form, such as: alcoholism, possibly some prescription drugs, loneliness, depression and other things that they now embody, to deal with the pain, that they are “too strong” to show. (some opinion, huh?)
Pointing The Finger: You shouldn’t tell another woman that she’s weak for “pointing fingers” after she’s been victimized. When there’s fingers to point, sometimes it’s necessary to point. In fact, you shouldn’t refer to it as “pointing the finger” rather than, appropriating and being able to assign, so that she can achieve closure for herself and know what she needs to deal with. She could be defined as the stronger one, because she’s not afraid to “speak.” This is the path that she chose, which works for her. She’s not afraid of what someone may say and most importantly, she’s not afraid of being called weak, for speaking up.
Playing The Victim: It used to be called weak when a woman didn’t or wouldn’t speak up. Now when she does, you tell her she’s weak and that she’s playing the victim. Waiwhat?
You can call silence, and holding it all in, an example of putting on your “big girl panties” by walking away and choosing not to talk. But I would call that “a big cover up”
How do you call a woman weak for being a victim, while accusing her of “playing” the victim; when she IS THE VICTIM. How about when you are the victim, you’re not playing anything. It’s not a role. It’s a reality. Sometimes you can’t help but to look like, exactly what you are, and it wouldn’t matter how you tell the story or who told the story.
Society has glorified strength in such a way, that real victims are afraid to be a victim, out of fear of being called weak. If they were the victim, they can’t change that. You can choose to say that you’ve overcome something or that you have not allowed to hold you back, but a victim is a victim.
Is it possible to tell a convicted killer in a murder case, to (Un-Be the killer) stop playing like the killer, when they were, the killer? He is the killer, no matter which way you split it. In both cases, rehabilitation is a viable option, but it’s doesn’t change the fact that for this situation, they were the victim or the killer.
Instead of calling them weak about the facts of life, I would apply encouragement. I would support them, as they grow out of what has happened, by telling them that they don’t have to hold the rest of their life hostage to it. Perhaps that’s what strong women should teach or impress upon their fellow girlfriends.
Do This: Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are strong, because today you did something that you didn’t/’couldn’t do yesterday.
And to other women, I would say: You did something that many women may not be able to do. And you can be happy about that. That’s your joy. But do not tell another woman that she’s less than strong, because this is a challenge for her. We are all strong. But we are all weak together, when we can’t see that we are all different and cannot be expected to emotionally process life the exact same way.
There are no two situations alike: You can say that you went through something similar, but you must consider all variables, and they must be the same; if you want to make a comparison. If the situation produced a different outcome, conclusion, consequence, then you can’t compare.
Women aren’t statues made of stone, and even if they were- we’ve seen several buildings fall. Need we reference the World Trade Center. So, don’t judge the strength of anyone off the fact that they can’t stand for a certain amount of time during a trial. Or because they can’t sustain some of the harsh blows that are delivered to them. Or because for a moment, they didn’t withstand the tide. Never at any point, should you take the liberty, to tell her that she’s weak because she couldn’t. You are just as weak, if you cannot help her out. If all you can do is stand by and watch it happen, and do nothing, but tell her how weak she is, then that makes you weak. (In my humble opinion)