I saw this Today Show Instagram post a week ago, and it reminded me that I was supposed to write a review of The Barbie Movie when I saw it three weeks ago...lol.
Just admitting that I was to write about a movie I saw almost three weeks ago indicates America Ferrera's famous "Womanhood" speech in the movie is relevant. Although the film was quirky but a tad corny, its message of individualism and the stress that stems from it was crystal clear. So, instead of reviewing this movie, I want to tap into this speech in hopes that you may watch or rewatch the movie at the end of this post or leave this site feeling empowered.
It is Literally Impossible to be a Woman...
Well, you got that right! It's one thing to express yourself and another to leave that same impression on the world around us. Propaganda forces us against each other while creating a war inside of us. Consumerism plays a significant role in this, as it dictates the trending body type we should be and the clothes that should cover it. The weight loss campaigns focus more on your appearance than your health. The self-improvement industry is designed to increase our insecurities as the author (who is imperfect themselves) appears like they have it all together. The art of comparison permeates social media eluding to imposter syndrome despite how hard you worked for what you earned. Not only are we forced to look the part, but we must also act the part and deal with the myriad of microaggressions throughout the day only to release when returning home enough to deal with it the next day.
These perpetrators are not just "the masses" but those in our circle that remind us of where we "should be." Questions like "When are you getting married?" deflate the blessing of being single. Whereas "When are you going to get pregnant?" adds pressure to the relationship that is intentionally purposing to enjoy each other. "Are you gaining weight" or "You lost too much weight" adds the "damned if you do or don't" mentality. Or such references to how we dress, wear our hair, or our occupations are enough to wish you lived across the street from a vineyard.
You have to Lead, but Squash Other People's Ideas...
I cannot tell you how many times I shrunk myself to make others feel more intelligent. As a teenager, I pretended I did not know something because I was tired of being teased for being a know-it-all. Can you believe that people still tease people for being smart? Am I lost, or should being smart be a good thing? Most people belittle out of jealousy, but some, like myself, don't comprehend that until they are well in their 30s.
Even as adults, we are considered lame if we don't follow a trend. I thought that shit would end in high school, but here we are. The trends are cute, but you are shrinking yourself if they do not fit your personality. Some of us were made to set the trend and not follow it. Let me add that speaking your opinion is just that. If someone disagrees, that does not invalidate your feelings or make you appear weak. If you don't get anything from this post, NEVER LOSE YOUR VOICE.
If you were Ever Violated… It's On Them and Not You
To all women that were bullied, sexually assaulted, sexually harassed, or raped, it's not your fault. It did not happen because you acted a certain way, wore a particular outfit, drank too much, or went out at a specific time; it was because of some asshole with a power struggle and a sickness. I loathe the stories of people blaming women for their assaults. I, too, am in this number; I blamed myself for the times I was violated and did not hold my assaulters accountable. I made excuses for them and continued to talk to them afterward, even though I felt a certain way. I will admit that my false sense of obligation to them stemmed from feeling like I was lucky they were paying attention to me. They convinced me I was obligated because they were nice to me. "After all, who would willfully be attracted to a big girl, right?" I used to think to myself. No amount of showers could wash the humiliation off, and I kept these instances a secret for years. One day I decided to share what happened to me with my husband, and he stared into my eyes and recited, "Babe, it's not your fault ."I cannot tell you how exonerated I felt and how it helped me to shift the blame to my violators.
There are so many people that are afraid of aging and working towards being forever young. If everyone stays young, then who will lead the younger generation? There is wisdom in saggy boobs that fed your children, dimples adorning your legs, and some stray grays growing out of your head. There is beauty in growing old, despite popular opinion. Forty is not the new 20, honey; it's 40, and you should embrace that 40, 50, 60, 70, and even 80+ years. There isn't a designated feeling or look at whatever age. Just embrace you.
I'm just so tired of watching myself, and every single other woman tie herself into knots, so that people will like us.
Tired is an understatement. Exhausted may not even fit the bill, either. I am a surviving people pleaser, so I contest the arduous effect of molding myself to fit in. Look, if I don't fit in your puzzle, then throw me back in the box. I would rather be around a small group of people that genuinely like me versus hundreds that don't. In this current era, we are learning that we are the person we've been waiting for. There is no more waiting for that prince on a white horse because sometimes that comes with obligation (if he is not the one.) Nowadays, women are looking to save themselves and not waiting to be saved, and I love that. Even still, there is nothing wrong with wanting that prince, too, as long as it's your choice.
Lastly, if Barbie has received so much slack and criticism for having a career, the dream house, the convertible, a top-tier career, and the perfect man, then we, as women, are doomed, right? WRONG! We are not dolls representing woman; we are human beings who, in our own right, deserve to be who we are. We are victorious warriors slashing stereotypes and raising the bar of what sisterhood looks like and stands for. This movie depicted both how far we've come and how far we have to go. They could have started and ended the movie with this speech because I felt the writer of this hit the nail on the head.
FYI, the Barbie movie was epic and insightful, so I am still shamelessly plugging this movie. Go Barbie!