What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see the word “bravery”?
It is very common for us to think about dealing with heights, about facing a wild animal, being adventurous, or maybe being away from who we love. Well, yes, that is, indeed, bravery. However, through time, patience and a lot of thinking, I have come to the realization that bravery is also about exposing your thoughts, your principles, your soul, and never giving up. There is bravery in accepting yourself and fighting against whatever harms your freedom of being. After a long process of understanding, I have concluded: there is a whole lot of bravery in being a woman.
Being a woman has never been only about existing… it involves many other aspects, actions, requirements, fights, characteristics… “to exist” is just one of the verbs among the enormous amount of others revolving around women. It relieves me that as the days go by, we are able to see even clearer how hard women must fight and how frustrating and unjustifiable machismo is. It is, though, a long path and any step back is already a big loss. I am 16 and started to get to know feminism in 2015. It changed me, it empowered me, and most importantly, it helped me to notice the bravery inside me and let it bloom.
I realized I was courageous enough to speak up, to go against, to raise my voice… I shouldn’t sit down and accept so many men interrupting me, not believing me, calling me bad words, not letting me think for myself. I finally understood in which position I was in the whole situation: in a cage they put me the instant I was born. A cage with which I could be manipulated into thinking my strength was actually my weakness, my power was actually my submission. And that’s only to start with. I am working my way out of this cage and I know many women are too.
Look at Time’s Up, at the #MeToo movement, at the Women’s March and such manifestations women are making. Look at women making history, look at women who definitely helped us to be where we are right now, Frida Kahlo, Simone de Beauvoir, Marie Curie, Rosa Parks, Joan of Arc, Malala, Anne Frank – and these are only some of the most famous examples -, and the women who may not be mentioned in historic data, who may not be on books or on television, but still fight everyday and are just as strong. We need to be loud, we need to scream until people are tired of listening, and then continue after that. Every finger we raise, every thought we share and every word of revolution that leaves our mouth takes an indescribable bravery to do so. If bravery is about running to, and not from, your fears, pushing limits and staying out of your comfort zone, then I, as a woman, am as brave as I can be. What is a comfort zone to someone who is constantly threatened by male privileges? Or maybe to someone who can’t even go out in the streets without being afraid of being raped, murdered, physically and/or verbally assaulted? Or even to someone who has to watch out for mainsplaining, manterrupting, bropriating, gaslighting and so many others? With all the caution a woman needs to have in handling men, all the fear a woman may present, all the scary thoughts a woman may have stored inside her mind, there comes a sense of revolution and bravery, and she might not be full aware of it, but she uses it every single time she needs to do anything other than exist… and as I said previously, that is always.
After a few years of being a feminist, I now know my fight is one of my biggest qualities, for it embraces so much of who I was, who I am and who I want to be; and brings up my biggest strengths. I am brave, not only, but especially, because I am a woman… and my dear, there is so much to that, it is enough.