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Women, Please Take Yourself Seriously

I suffer from an affliction where I tend to joke about myself and my accomplishments. It isn’t that I don't see them as worthy; I've just been conditioned to not take myself seriously.

For example, when I take pictures, I take them haphazardly because "why should I care so much about my looks in a photograph, I am beyond that." I also associated it with vanity, and a self-assured woman shouldn’t be that wrapped up in her beauty… right?

I will admit that was pompous, but upon further examination, I realized that I was performing humility. I was in an odd way performing for the male gaze because the ultimate woman is the one who is ferocious and beautiful. But that woman should never know it unless a man confirms it. I was acting as though I didn't care so that someone could discover me and help me recognize who I was. Or I performed humility so that people could comment on how lackadaisical I was or how serious I portrayed myself to be.

Now you may not perform humility in this way, but in some parts of your life, you don't take yourself seriously. You think that it's silly to think about something that you are genuinely interested in. You think, "Oh, I am not going to be the center of attention. I don't need that sort of attention," as if you are too good for praise.

I am telling you to stop being humble and do too fucking much!

Structurally, women are punished for doing too much. If you are assertive at work, you are either interpreted as the mother or the bitch in the workplace. When women are children, we are told to calm down and not be so bossy. If you are a black woman, you are told that “you think you are better than us.” Or if you dwell in your beauty, you are called fast. Women are coerced structurally and interpersonally to not take themselves seriously. They are told to stop doing so much or to stop being so starved for attention, which I'd argue people interpret as shining a light on yourself as you want to get noticed by boys. But why shouldn't you take up space?

Why is owning your existence and showing out a negative trait? I read a definition of humility that applied well to women in this society. Caroline McHugh stated, “Humility is not thinking less about yourself, it is thinking about yourself less.” You don't have to downplay who you are, who you want to be, and your beauty to perform humility. Humility isn't diminishing yourself. It is remembering how grand the world is and asking yourself how can you contribute to it.

To properly answer that question, you have to know and love yourself to the highest extent. I am not talking about ego-driven love where you lie to yourself to make yourself feel better. That type of love is easily manipulated and breaks when it is tested. I am talking about love the true definition where you take in all that you are now and accept it.

How can you fully accept yourself if you censor yourself for fear of looking like you love yourself? How backward is that?

Janet Mock once stated,

“So, like, my favorite images are the ones where someone who isn’t supposed to be there, who is like, in a space where we were not ever welcomed in, where we were not invited… yet, we walk in and show all the way up. People try to put us down by saying, ‘she’s doing the most’ or ‘he’s way too much’ but like why would we want to do the least?”

So why are you doing the least?


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