The War on Self-Confidence

Brynn Anderson/AP

Brynn Anderson/AP

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Brynn Anderson/AP

Brynn Anderson/AP

By Marcelle Meyer

A few months ago, I shared a video on Facebook titled “Stop Telling Women to Smile,” that was about cat-calling and street harassment. About eleven or twelve people liked my post, and it received no comments.

We, as a society, seem to be just fine with people saying that street harassment is wrong — that is, as long as you do not feel good about yourself while saying it.

In a culture where the vast majority of my generation agrees that women have been put down by misogynistic rules for far too long, it is astonishing how much backlash a woman still receives for calling herself beautiful in an article. This recent media frenzy is just a symptom of a much larger societal war on female independence that has been cloaked in false feminism for too long.

Female liberation is a theme of the 21st century, but every movement has its flaws, and we are certainly not close to where we need to be.

The only means through which feminism has become accepted into the mainstream is through the same lens of misogyny that has been oppressing women for centuries. Women are allowed to vote, work in more industries and be independent and powerful, but the problem lies in the way in which these rights are referred: they are “allowed.” As a society, we still only “allow” women to do things, while men can act without permission.

A woman saying that she has toned calves or beautiful eyes is no different than a woman saying that she is intelligent or talented, except that the former statement is not yet accepted by society.

I see no reason why, in a time when people encourage acceptance and self-love, this acknowledgement should be considered harmful or arrogant.

Recognizing one’s own beauty should not be viewed as pompous. Self-confidence is not a crime. In fact, women have been known to lack confidence about their appearances, so when a woman claims that she is beautiful, it should be cause for celebration.

Women may be liberated, but only to the extent that society does not feel uncomfortable or challenged by their liberation. They must do it on someone else’s schedule.

Feminism is not about making people feel comfortable, and it is not about compromise. Feminism is about pushing the boundaries of what people believe is acceptable and making those people question their own role in further marginalizing the marginalized. It is about forcing people to ask themselves why we are so appalled by a woman writing about her own physical beauty.

And, most importantly, feminism is about unapologetically thinking whatever you want about yourself, regardless of how “cocky” it may seem.