The Fragility Behind a Strong Woman

The Fragility Behind a Strong Woman

Fri, Mar 16, 18 - Gift Ajimokun

Women. We can do everything and anything we want.

We can create life. We can create billion-dollar businesses. We can change lives. 

Despite decades of being portrayed (and quite frankly still being portrayed) as delicate, helpless damsels in distress, we have made amazing progress to now being correctly represented in the media and arts. An excellent example is, Black Panther. Having leading ladies that are independent, strong and smart was a welcome change. Female entrepreneurship is growing exponentially, meaning not only are we creating the boardrooms we were banned from, but we are acquiring the wealth women have lost for years through the gender pay gap. Images of women in these influential positions are everywhere and I am personally so glad to see it. Young women need such representation, something to aspire to, especially at times you feel demotivated. However, maintaining this powerful, all knowing and all-encompassing image isn’t good for anyone.

According to the Office for National Statistics, one in four young women in the UK have suffered from anxiety and depression.”

That statistic most definitely includes the great women we look up to. There is a pressure to always be ‘on’ and many of these women (and men of course) feel a sense of responsibility to inspire others. This can be dangerous. Female founders and other leading ladies are under immense pressure as they often feel they must be twice as good as their male counterparts to be taken seriously. There is even more pressure on women of colour. For example, Serena Williams is constantly portrayed as ‘mean’ and ‘tough’ because she takes her profession seriously and she is black. She is aware of the need to be ‘twice as good’ because she is a woman of colour.

Because of this, there is a reluctancy to show fragility. Women don’t want to be labelled under the old trope of ‘being too emotional’.

For those viewing the bravado put on by these brave women, it can cause feelings of inadequacy as they feel they aren’t doing anything ground breaking. Many leading ladies, such as Demi Lovato, Kerry Washington and Cara Delevingne, are open about what it’s like to balance this strong female image with work and the mental toll it can have. Such openness and honestly is refreshing and what the youth of today need. However, we must understand that as powerful and fantastic as women are, we can be many things. Strength and fragility work together, they don’t oppose each other. Women deserve to be shown as the multidimensional people we are.

That change is happening. And I am excited about the future.