Thought Catalog
March 16, 2017

To My Fellow Women, Please Remember These Things

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Andrew Stuart

For the women who have been abused, harassed, or assaulted by the hands of a man. Please remember it’s not your fault. It’s never your fault. Regardless if you were friendly, drunk, or wearing a skirt, you aren’t responsible for someone else’s actions.

For the women who have been put down, insulted, and degraded. Please remember such verbal attacks on you are merely an expression and reflection of a person’s own inner demons that they have yet to address.

For the women who have been oppressed and prevented from opportunities based on their gender alone. Please remember it has nothing to do with your skills, talents, or intelligence to not be given an opportunity, but rather the result of a faulty ideology stemming from a long history of inequality that’s embedded on a systemic level.

For the women who have felt the violent hands of a man on your body. Please remember your value and inherent worth, and at bare minimum, you deserve to always feel safe when in a man’s presence and should never have to question your risk factor.

For the women who have been silenced and unable to use their voice. Please remember even in silence we see your pain. You’re stronger than you believe and your voice is imperative for change. Please use it.

For the women who have been seen and used as an object, providing a means to an end for a man. Please remember you are so much more than the body you occupy and a real man will recognize and appreciate you beyond the realms of physicality.

For the women who have been questioned relentlessly and forced to justify and defend themselves when they’ve been victim of an attack. Please remember that your choices and decisions did not cause the attack, but the person who laid their hands on you did. You don’t owe anything to anyone and your account of the event is enough.

For the women who have been made to feel threatened and uneasy walking on your own while clenching your pepper spray. Please remember your fellow women feel this too and you aren’t alone. You deserve to roam where you please, peacefully, without becoming the subject of an attack.

For the women who have been told they will never amount to anything in the world simply because they are a woman. Please remember all the achievements you have made and how successful you have already been along the way and never stop chasing your dreams. You get to decide how you want to show up in the world.

For the women who have heard they are too weak and lack the strength necessary to perform tasks or sports that a man can. Please remember we are all human created with the same body and capabilities and our only limitation are the stories we tell ourselves.

For the women who have been told they aren’t good enough based on their physical appearance, who’ve been told they don’t measure up to what a “real” woman should look like. Please remember you’re womanhood and femininity is not determined by the opinion of a man, but only by your own conviction and confidence. Own and love the body you reside in.

For the women who feel defeated and question their abilities at work or in school. Please remember to never give up and that you have everything you need to achieve what you wish. You are intelligent and skilled and please don’t let the opinion of others deter you from working hard.

For the women who doubt themselves as mothers and feel guilty or in doubt about their capacity to parent a child. Please remember you are taking incredible care of your beautiful children which is the hardest job that exists. You will always question and doubt yourself, because that is natural as a parent, but you will adapt and figure things out along the way. On the outside please remember we see an amazing mother doing an incredible job raising a child.

For the women who are unable to conceive a child of their own and feel the void and pain of not being able to reproduce and who are frustrated that their body is not able to function as it was designed to. Please remember your womanhood is not based on the ability to carry a child, but on your capacity to love, and you have so much to offer and give. Be kind and gentle with yourself please.

For the women who consciously choose not to have children or start a family of their own. Please remember it is your birth right to live life on your own terms regardless of societal pressures and cultural norms. Be proud to have made a decision that feels right for you, rather than one that the world expects of you.

For the women who are juggling meeting the demands of work and family life and are feeling run down and stressed. Please remember to give back to yourself too. As women, we are naturally giving creatures and expend much of our energy caring for others which often leaves us depleted. Please practice self care regularly and give yourself just as much attention and love as you give so freely to those around you.

For the women who were originally born a male and felt uncomfortable in their own body and decided to transform themselves to live their life as a female. Please remember you are just as much a woman as the rest of us and you should feel proud to have had the courage and strength to make such a choice so you can live peacefully and authentically as your true self.

For the women who stand in front of the mirror unhappy with the reflection they see staring back at them while picking out all their apparent flaws. Please remember you are beautiful in the skin you’re in. Please stop bullying yourself. Beauty is not defined by the airbrushed magazine covers, but by the confidence you exude.

For the women who cry behind closed doors while braving a smile to the world around them. Please remember you have weathered the strongest of storms because you are fierce and resilient and nothing less. You don’t let anything or anyone stand in your way and with that, your strength is palpable.

For the women who feel the shame of believing they are not measuring up to societies expectations or to the other women around them. Please remember being a woman is not about competing with others or using their successes as a barometer of your own. Please focus on the brilliant being that you are and remember your unique gifts and talents. It’s not about measuring up, but about living confidently and boldly as you are.

For the women who have been excluded and bullied by fellow women. Please remember that your tribe of sisters exist out there. The ones that will love ALL of you, even your quirks and faults, and rather than give up on you, they will celebrate and honor you. Please keep searching for your sacred circle of support.

For the women who are told to stop complaining about receiving inappropriate attention from men, being cat called in public, and then told its just because you’re pretty. Please remember these behaviors are never justified and your appearance is not the problem, their degrading actions are.

For the women who experience life in a female body differently on the basis of other identities such as race, class, and sexual orientation. Please remember your story and experiences matter and need to be heard to help inform how intersectionality greatly impacts lives on an individual and systemic level. We need your voice to help eradicate the power hierarchies and social inequalities.

For the women who are or have been in relationships and experienced domestic violence. Please remember that although it is absolutely terrifying to make a report and leave, it’s necessary that you do, when you’re ready. Please remember you aren’t overreacting and his actions are not because he cares and loves you. It’s because he wants power over you. And it’s time you take your power back because you deserve more than this. Much, much more.

For the women whose partners take them for granted, don’t appreciate what they have, and who don’t help make their woman feel desirable. Please remember you deserve to be treated like a queen, with tender loving care, and respected as the goddess you naturally are.

For the women who always put in 100% effort into a relationship only to receive less than half back in return from their partner. Please remember their lack of effort is not a reflection of your worth, but their own low self-esteem. Please don’t change who you are as a result, and please continue to give your best self to your next lover because the right man will reciprocate, or even better, go above and beyond to prove just how amazing you are.

For the women who are told they can’t explore or travel alone as a woman because it’s too dangerous out there. Please remember you are just as capable, if not more, to navigate the world by yourself because you are smart, strong, and resourceful and have one hell of a connection with your intuition, which will more often than not be the one thing that keeps you safe from harm. You’re a warrior and if you have the desire to roam, please do so, because you can.

For the women who are stay at home mom’s with one of the hardest jobs in the world; raising children. Please remember your job is no less important than any other and that you too deserve breaks and time off to unwind and rejuvenate. Your job is around the clock and your patience to navigate such tasks is inspiring.

For the women who are fiercely independent, are capable of taking care of themselves, and who choose to remain single. Please remember that when you are questioned why you are alone and single, you speak with conviction that you are done settling for anything less than you deserve. So, you patiently and peacefully await for the right person who is worth your effort, rather than waste your precious time on meaningless connections.

For the women who are not given the same rights as other women in different parts of the world. Please remember your bravery and strength to have survived such injustices. Please remember that change is possible and one story and voice can make a difference. Please don’t give up.

For the women who fight endlessly for our rights and freedom, who often stand alone in battle, and who are often subjected to criticism, violence, and abuse just for speaking up. Please remember we need you and your tenacity is appreciated and respected.

For the women who are told you are too sensitive for taking offense to sexist jokes or comments. Please remember you are validated and supported in taking a stand against these daily micro aggressions that often go unaddressed and continue to foster inequality.

For the women who feel isolated, alone, lost, and unsure….

I see you. I feel you. I hear you.

And in many ways, I am you. And you are I. We are innately bonded together through our shared global sisterhood.

Our individualized experiences as women in life may differ, but we all have big mountains to climb as we occupy this female body.

The more we stand together as one in solidarity, the more we become stronger and louder and have the support to stand up and fight for our rights.

My sisters, please keep climbing your mountains, because with each step uphill, we become closer to what we all need and deserve, and that’s freedom. TC mark