“I’m a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That’s me.”– Maya Angelou
When I was attending high school in Russia, I was often told the popular saying, “Beauty is power.” Young girls are led to believe that by being appealing to a man, they hold power in the world. If you are considered unattractive, than you are pitied and destined for unhappiness. Most girls choose to get married right after graduating from school, never believing in themselves enough to pursue an education.
Because we are girls, people often only look at our appearance. They don’t see how we struggle to get through our days as we work hard to multitask between working and studying. They are not aware that we have stayed up until three in the morning reading textbooks, only to wake up for work just three hours later. They don’t see us fighting, crawling, and digging our way towards becoming individuals. When they look at us, sometimes all they can say is, “You’re not wearing make-up today.” With that sentence, they demean us to being “ugly” girls, considered lazy no matter how hard we truly work. But I say let them for now, because we are going to make something out of ourselves, and then they’ll be forced to look at more than just our appearances.
In the United States, 2,319 men have served as Governors, and only 35 women.* Women make up for approximately 50% of the world’s population, yet even America does not have true gender equality. The media objectifies women as sexual objects with flawless skin, perfect features, and exposed bodies. This is what the youth is influenced by.
Women continue to be oppressed in most of the world. While countries such as Saudi Arabia frankly forbid women from going anywhere without a male chaperone, others such as the United States discreetly discriminate by paying a woman 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.*
Girls are in desperate need of role models who show them that women are capable of so much more than flaunting their bikini bodies at a photo-shoot. I want to go down the road that Barbara Walters, Valentina Tereshkova, Jeannette Rankin have paved for aspiring young women such as I. By continuing to shatter barriers and pushing beyond limitations, more and more women will realize that they are capable of achieving anything. When this happens, men who hold power in business, law, and politics will have to move over and make room for the women, and gender equality will prevail. In my bid for success, men play an insignificant role. I’m doing it for the girls, so that when they look at me they will think, “If she can do it, than I can, too.” I want for young girls all over this planet Earth to understand that beauty is not power. True power is an education, a successful career, and most importantly, independence.
With all my love,
* [Source: Miss Representation]