Feminists of all genders have been lobbying, marching, and otherwise advocating for gender equality for over a century. Big, world-altering changes can feel like an endless and overwhelming endeavor because they are.
Clearly, giving up and going home isn’t an option. However, women can influence change in smaller, consistent, real-world steps through their own actions and lifestyles. By busting limiting gender beliefs, women signal to everyone watching — if only in their own social circles — that things are continuing to grow and change, because they are continuing to grow and change. At the same time, when women live life on their terms, they empower other women to live according to what being female means to them.
Empower yourself to create a mini-challenge of your own this week. Below are the ten most limiting, archaic gender narratives, along with suggestions for how to change these beliefs through your own actions:
Challenge this: Physically open your body (laying down or standing with arms and legs spread wide) and look to the sky. Speak one truth you’ve been holding back with grace, love, and power.
Challenge this: Do one thing that makes you feel strong or seen today, like advocating for yourself. We rarely recruit strength until life calls for it, but this is also in our control.
Challenge this: Choose one physical or mental attribute you’ve spent time and energy on fixing for someone else and find love for it instead.
Bonus: research the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi and use it as a guide.
Challenge this: Write down the things you would do if you had a partner (romantic, business or otherwise). Do you truly need to be dependent upon someone else for every one of those dreams, activities, or desires?
Challenge this: Enjoy a date with yourself. Plan a museum visit, a lunch or simply a long walk in a new neighborhood.
Challenge this: Feel your emotions, out loud! What injustices do you face today? What breaks your heart? Who do you need to set boundaries without pure self-love? Scream, shake (really), and let it out.
Challenge this: Make a move that sets you exactly where you want to be without entertaining the belief that you are less worthy (than a man or the person next to you). State your reasons for a promotion or divide household chores evenly with your partner.
Be the Exception
Challenge this: Help yourself or another female change a gender-based narrative, fill a role or complete an activity typically reserved for men. Did you know you could pay to race cars?!
Challenge this: Be nothing. For an hour or a day. Notice your compulsion to serve, support, or check things off your to-do list. Leisure and silence is underrated. As a neuroscience-based meditation teacher, I can tell you this will cause a necessary but uncomfortable shift.
Be Sexy… but Sweet
Challenge this: Update your definition of sexy according to you. Powerful, creative, dominant, submissive, nurturing…
Keep this list somewhere in your home as a visual prompt to remind you that change is always possible. Pro Tip: move it’s location every two weeks to avoid habituating (becoming “blind”) to it!