There are two negative perceptions of strong women. First, that there is a select group of them—that not every woman, just from being born, just from opening her mouth, just by being here on this earth, is strong. That in itself is so wrong. Every woman is strong. Every person is strong.
But when we categorize or label certain women as ‘strong women,’ oftentimes it is because they are bold, because they have big personalities, because they are not silenced or stunted by the world. So for the sake of understanding who a ‘strong woman’ is, we will say she is a woman who is outspoken and charismatic, a woman who doesn’t allow herself to be stepped on or walked over by the people around her.
The second negative perception of strong women is that they are intimidating, unlovable, ‘too much’ for their male counterparts, or unable to be handled or loved because of their fierce independence. But this is wrong as well.
Strong women are not too self-reliant to need anyone by their side. They are not so independent that they don’t desire love or a partner to share their lives with.
Strong women do not take roles away from the men in their lives. They do not overshadow or hinder a man’s ability to grow, to be strong, or to love. They do not subdue or diminish who the men around them are, and can be, in and out of a relationship.
Strong women are not too big, too outspoken, too capable to be cared for. They are not too opinionated, too aggressive, or too confident to stand beside a man as an equal.
They do not emasculate men.
Because a truly strong man will not be intimidated by a strong woman; he will be inspired.
A strong man, just like a strong woman, is aware of who he is. He is aware of his masculinity, his strength, his thoughts, his ideas, his weaknesses. He will not feel diminished by a woman who knows how to love herself and pursue the things she needs. He will not feel invalidated by a strong woman’s desire to keep her independence or her voice.
A strong woman might be a leader. She might be a boss. She might be whatever the hell she wants to be, and this does not mean the men around her are lessened in comparison.
A woman’s strength does not equal a man’s weakness.
It is possible for a strong woman and a strong man to exist in the same realm, to be strong together. Maybe instead of seeing strong women as intimidating, we should see them as equals. As people who are looking for, and who deserve, just as strong counterparts by their side.
There is no competition here—only strength—together.
The truth is, a strong man will not feel the need to step over, or step on a woman to strengthen himself because he is empowered by an equal partner, not threatened.
He will not need to prove himself by showing he is better, more worthy, stronger, or more dominant. He will build up his counterpart rather than break her down.
And when we think about relationships, about personalities, about our power as individuals and what we need from the people we love—isn’t this true?
It’s about time we started switching our perceptions, stopped seeing ‘strong people’ as this select group of individuals and rather our entire human race. It’s time we stopped labeling people as strong simply because they are louder than others, but took a deeper look at what that strength means, and how we can value it and empower it, rather than call it ‘too much.’
It’s about time we stopped seeing women who feel that they are strong, or powerful, or bold, as women who cannot be loved with the same tenacity, as women who are intimidating, as women who outshine men because that’s absolutely not the truth.
We are strong when we build one another up, when we encourage each other to be strong, when we stand beside our counterparts and are empowered, rather than threatened.
When we acknowledge that we are different, yet equals.
When we fight together, and for one another.
When we realize we are all strong in our own ways, and deserve someone who values this in us.