How Focusing on Making Congress Refine Policy Can Help All Women Become Society-Empowered vs Self-Empowered
I happen to take many things seriously and personally – because part of my upbringing in the former Soviet Union was encouragement to take lofty ideas to heart, personally, and even make sacrifices for the better good of the community. In time, I understood that the young people there had been pawns in the Communist ideology games—but the practice of taking things personally lived on. In America, I side with the independent-thinking women, supporting their pursuits of happiness and equality in my blogs and an upcoming book.
Here’s one example. While watching the fourth feminist wave splish-splash, I came to believe it needs a sharper focus than wearing black in solidarity with #MeToo, namely, it needs leapfrogging instead of inching to progress.
To leapfrog effectively, I suggest that we, the people who take women’s issues to heart, start distinguishing between self-empowered and society-empowered women—and focus on helping all our women become society-empowered. Such focus will demonstrate the voters’ progressive mood about gender equality – which will force the law-makers in Washington to catch up, specifically, concentrate and refine the policy about women’s rights. Here’s what I mean.
“Self-Empowered” as Current State of American Women
A self-empowered woman takes a stand and pursues her goals and/or justice on her own initiative–please look at the picture above.
Hear these women out and you’ll see that their self-empowerment transpires emotional, mental, and spiritual levels—which makes them super-appealing, creating a ripple effect – with other women also rising in the face of adversity or remembering old humiliations.
It took years for modern feminism to progress from suffragettes to its current fourth wave, which, I believe, started with Emma Watson speaking in the UN and the he-for-she solidarity campaign that followed. Women came to realize that collectively they are powerful.
But breaking the glass ceiling and bankrupting the habitual-harassment mentality proved to be not a one-time crack-and-crash: #MeToo took years to erupt—which has been recognized by the media.
Today, it’s only the self-empowered women who hold the fort against sexual misconduct – and standing up for themselves, they make America greater, not “great again,” just greater, period. The desired progress is yet to come.
“Society-Empowered” as Desirable State of American Women
A society-empowered woman is one whose country helps her get justice by elaborating and enforcing the appropriate laws.
It’s a shame that the US is only No. 19 on the Economist glass-ceiling index, in part because our laws do not protect women well enough—not only from sexual misconduct but also on multiple issues that make their lives miserable, such as unequal pay or thinly disguised patronage.
For the American women to evolve from self-empowered to society-empowered, they need more societal infrastructure, i.e., a better justice system.
It does not help that media does not see the forest for the trees: they keenly cover separate harassment incidences, while only a few publications draw a bigger picture substantiating the necessity of social norms change. When a writer Margaret Atwood called for women’s movement to progress from crowd solidarity displays to demands to improve the justice system, I instantly felt I’m with her.
Indeed, America has an almost-perfect body with a mission to help – the Congress! Collectively, we need to push it to elaborate-and-enforce the law by probing cases of multiple sexual misconduct complaints—and making serial offenders, regardless of rank, apologize and/or resign, as befits the true democracy. The legislators need to outline the vague notions of harassment and refresh both the rules of workplace behavior and equal pay; they should define more strictly what constitutes sex-related crime/transgression, for the devil is in the detail. The punishment should be reasonable – so that the broader male circles adopt the law as a fair cultural norm. Otherwise, it will stay hopelessly impotent.
This seems to be the most straightforward way to bring all American women to a desirable society-empowered standing.
#WeToo = We, the Women
#WeToo as a movement has had slow beginnings in America. We believe the Congress should stop disregarding 50.9% of American population—and start working to make all of our women fully society-empowered. Why?
This will make America truly great, instead of looking pale in comparison with many developed nations that are consistent in breaking the glass ceiling and bankrupting the habitual-harassment mentality. #WeToo need to take these ideas to heart, personally, and run with them until we score the desired numbers.
In our day and time, when misogyny seems to pick up strength shamelessly, isn’t it logical for all people of good will to unite and promote a truly inclusive leadership and true equality of women? I just wish all American women to become “state-empowered” which they so richly deserve.
Mimi Li says
Interesting distinction between the self-empowered woman and the society-/state-empowered woman. American culture has the funny tendency to highlight people–not just women–who appear to make things happen on their own, independent of structural support. The idea that women are owed structural support from society and the government, in this case in the areas of fighting sexual harassment, is powerful.
I’m on board.
I am happy, Mimi, that you fully understand the core concept of self-empowered vs. society-empowered women -and I like how you put it, “women are owed structural support from society and the government.” Wish more women like yourself were in the government of this country sooner rather than later.
Jane Malecki says
Unfortunately, I think the #MeToo movement may have created an unexpected effect. Men now don’t want to meet with women alone, have mentoring lunches, etc. We need to support the Male advocates out there with some tools so we can achieve parity.
You are right, #MeToo did create some unexpected effects. And this is exactly why it’s time for the higher authority, the Congress, to investigate at least the outstanding cases of harassment, define the notions, and work out the appropriate terminology to address the issues. Most importantly – and I wrote about it – the new, enhanced/refined law should be mutually acceptable to men and women, otherwise it’ll stay impotent forever.
However, the point of the blog is not #MeToo but #WeToo (i.e., how to make all women society-empowered), the accumulated issues of American womankind at large.
Patrick Taylor says
Unfortunately, most women still have not mastered the art of being or becoming self-aware and self- empowered in dealing with these misogynistic cretins, who are running around sexually assaulting women. I am of the opinion that more women belong in the Congress as a good majority of the men in Congress, are finding ways to fatten their pockets, when they are not busy chasing around town trying to sexually assaulting someone daughter or mother. The flip side of the coin, however is that Many ladies still encourages the behavior with a “boys will be boys” flippant attitude, that have a lot of people thinking that they are just not aware that it’s just encouraging these men along to continue the behavior. Women everywhere have to stand up, and not just for a brief #MeToo moment, that hangs around like the new fad, that eventually wears off like Mr. Potato Head. All women nationwide must put a sign on their desk at work, on their bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator, that they will see every bloody day, “#TakePrideInYourself”, that will reinforce the reality of what is happening in our country and around the world today. Only Women can put a stop to this, our Congress will never have the same impact, as a lady that is touched on any part of their bodies without consent, when they say out loud so everybody in whatever vicinity they are in can hear them…”BITCH DON’T TOUCH ME!” Ladies if you lose your job over this then it was not a job worth having; you should NOT have to demean yourself for a job or money, if your job is not prostitution. Look, after you shout “BITCH DON’T TOUCH ME!”, now you have witnesses, now go see your Attorney if you believe your job is in jeopardy!
Mr. Taylor, you are so right in your progressive thinking, so right! And I thought that I am kind of revolutionary, ha-ha. You took it further than me, as I’m habitually shy of offending people/men, while you – being a man – have every right to call some “misogynistic cretins.” Most of all, I like you saying that not enough women are self-empowered and suggesting the practical ways to become more-and-more self-empowered with #TakePrideInYourself”, on the way to becoming really empowered – and then taking the Congress! Yes, that’s the way to go!
I am really proud you befriended me on LinkedIn, Mr. Taylor.