Strong Women Today: Seen & Heard…

When you think of strong women in the world today who comes to mind? Serena Williams? Melinda Gates? Your mom? Your sister? Oprah Winfrey? Angela Merkel? Michelle Obama? Becky Hammon? If you don’t know them, look em’ up. Drop some knowledge on yourself.

If you follow the news at all, you know all about Serena Williams and what went down at the US Open. You might even be able to relate to a certain level of what she had to go through. And some of you will look at it and laugh it off as a female overreacting. Using the gender card or the race card, but the majority of it revolves around the fact that gender equality still isn’t where it needs to be and that men get away with much more than women do.

One of the things I’ve learned in these last few years is that many men are uncomfortable dealing with a strong woman. They aren’t used to them. They’re used to women pretending to be dumb to make men feel superior, playing the damsel in distress, the pretty faced bimbo. A lot of guys want to lead all the time and don’t want to follow. Their ego takes a hit. It’s a power struggle. This past year seems to be a year where I am very blunt and direct when it comes to people and men. It had me riding that line wondering if I’m being a b**** or if I’m just being honest? Because if you’re blunt and honest with guys that’s what they tend to classify you as. But why? ….Because you don’t let them walk all over you? Because you don’t give them what they want or act exactly as they prefer? Because you aren’t acting the way society claims a “lady” should act? Just handle everything with grace.

Be seen, but not heard? It could go on and on, evidence trickling from relationships to the workplace. Accept lower benefits or a salary than the man working next to you in the same job position. Put up with powerful males trying to take advantage of the women working beneath them. Men taking advantage of their power and position. Not all men of course, but more and more are being put into the spotlight within the past year.

SPORTS:

I know that in sports seeing a woman throw a fit out on the court is seen as them being childish and over the top. While men are out there in the refs’ faces, getting in fights, swearing, doing far worse than most women dare to. Not saying that’s the way to go, but the repercussions of each person doing it, are very different. For men, it’s accepted as a part of the game and maybe they get a fine or two every now and then. However, women are held to a different, quieter, more restricted standard. I don’t think the world is ready for this generation of strong women, but they better start preparing because one by one women are finding their voice and one by one we choose to put up with less nonsense every day in our fight for equality. Equal pay would be a good start. Equal rights is getting there. I will say that equality is better than it once was, but it still has a long way to go. And as history shows time and time again, we need people who are willing to push against the barriers we have in place, in order to make progress towards something better. We need people to question the present in order to open ourselves up to a better future. A special thank you to the female professionals who are opening doors for the rest of us and future generations to come.

DATING:

One thing I want to set straight in the dating world today is that it’s not that strong women have attitudes, it’s that they have standards. You hear all the time that you teach other people how to treat you. What you allow is what will continue. “Strong women intimidate boys and excite men.” That’s a fact, my friends. It’s okay to know what you want and not be considered a b****. It’s strong women that help boys turn into men. It’s those women that challenge men to do better, to be better. They are the women who push their man to go after his goals and do all the little things behind the scene. Strong women challenge the people around them to be better and stick up for the people that can’t or haven’t learned to do it for themselves.

This past year and half has made me tired of being surrounded by boys calling themselves men. It also makes me appreciate the men that do live up to the name, but I’m tired of guys disrespecting women because that’s what they’ve gotten away with for so long. I’m annoyed that boys think, “Wyd?” is an acceptable conversation starter or that only sending invites to hang after 9 pm isn’t a slight slap in the face. That if you have a girlfriend, no… I do not want to “talk to you and see where it goes” just because you enjoy hanging with me. No, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. That’s not how it is “supposed” to work….but, that’s what it’s become. We’ve let those little/big things slide and in doing so we created a new, lower standard for so many young women growing up today. I was told a few months ago that I need to be nicer to men. I thought about it, but decided that no, I do not. Could be why I’m single, but I don’t think women should have to put up with some of the nonsense guys throw at them. I fully believe that sometimes they need to be called on it. How else are they going to grow and know how to treat the next lady in line? Ladies, don’t be afraid to be vocal. Your voice deserves to be heard, too. Strong is the new single. Be proud you’re an intelligent, outspoken woman that will find a MAN who’s not threatened by it.

FRIENDSHIPS:

Who is your TRIBE? …..Two of my former ISU WBB ladies, Lyndsey Fennelly & Kelsey Carper, own an indoor cycle studio called CampusCycle over in Ames/Ankeny, IA. Their business morale is built around creating an environment that empowers, inspires, motivates, and builds their community and its members up. They call it their TRIBE. It’s not just for women, but I thought it tied in well with this and was worth the recognition.

Strong women lift each other up. They empower each other. Strong women surround themselves with other women who make them a better person. They surround themselves with women who challenge them, women who are there for them when they need a boost. Strong women learn from other strong women. My other former ISU teammate/friend, Allison Lacey has a website dedicated to empowering women. It is broken into 3 different sections: KNOWING strong women, BEING a strong woman, and RAISING your daughters to be strong women. For any of you who haven’t checked it out already, I also highly recommend doing so! It’s called KNOW.BE.RAISE. I’ll include the link to it and Campus Cycle at the bottom of this page. (And if you haven’t noticed by now, the ISU WBB program produces some pretty BADASS women 😉 Coincidence? Or maybe its the standards we were held to/high expectations of some quality coaches that helped shape us a tiny bit. Idk.)

But for all my ladies out there stop gossiping and spreading rumors. Stop tearing other women down for being different, having a different body shape, or wanting something different for their lives than you do. Stop throwing shade at the women you should be sharing your LIGHT with and in doing so, you give them permission to let their LIGHT shine and burn brighter too. A candle loses nothing by lighting another. Who is in YOUR tribe? Who helps you burn brighter? Who helps you tear down those glass ceilings?

What I really wanted to say is, don’t be afraid to be a strong woman in the world today. Give yourself a voice and stand by your morals and what you believe. Break barriers. Ask questions. Raise each other up. Voice your opinion. Create new standards and opportunities for our young women growing up in the world today. Help blaze the way for a better, more equal tomorrow. Because the world needs a little more good to outshine the bad.

Be POWERFUL. Be STRONG. Be KIND. Be YOU.

Check out KNOW.BE.RAISE & CampusCycle in links below:

KNOW.BE.RAISE- Alison Lacey-Otzelberger

CampusCycle – Lyndsey Fennelly & Kelsey Carper

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