Today might well be a day for celebrating women’s achievements, strengths and down right bad-ass-ness, but there’s just something about the idea of taking to the old IWD ivory tower - all awards and credentials blazing - that somehow, for some reason, just isn’t sitting quite right.
The reason, I think, comes down to the fact that in a lot of cases, regurgitating our Record of Achievement for public consumption gives little indication of the bigger picture of bad decisions, co*k ups and general dumb sh*t that has inevitably gone down in between each and every ‘win’…often without exception.
This tendency to paint over the ugly parts - and all for the sake of squeezing into the strong, confident, self-celebrating narrative - is entirely understandable, especially given the preoccupation with perfection that social media has created, and the mainstreaming of ‘women’s empowerment.’
What this often does, however, is to ironically and surreptitiously deflate the very audience that it’s trying to inspire, by making more women than deserve to, feel alone in their error-prone humanness!
Yes, we fully commend the boosterism of female kind, and the sentiment of celebrating the wins - big and small, and not just March 8th - BUT…what of celebrating averageness, as well?
After all, given all the struggles and shortcomings of the last year, flying the look-how-great-I-am flag risks inadvertently offending the very women this initiative is trying to ‘champion’.
Reading the room, it might be far better to mainstream the mess-ups that make our mettle, just as much as the deals sealed and the #lifegoals achieved. With rock bottom the new cloud 9, what many women need right now, is reminding of the prospective use of mistake-making, and how it provides ’teachable moments’ that can improve foresight, problem-solving abilities, resilience and critical thinking.
What they need… is permission to not ‘boss’ each day, make a difference or do the kind of ‘meaningful’ work that the media has done a good job in convincing us, is a moral duty akin to showering and brushing our teeth. (It’s not!)
A Women’s Day ode to the ordinary, and to personal and professional wrong-footing on occasion, might seem an aberration, granted, but…. it is also refreshing and reassuring in today’s day and age of prioritising mental health, over and above keeping up appearances!