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Book after book, talk shows, interviews. Everyone loves to talk about how women can advance themselves in the workplace. “Show them that you can’t be messed with! Be a #girlboss”! The constant tirade of slogans people regurgitate--similar to rallying troops-- can grate on your ears after some time. Today’s feminists grew up with a slew of Tumblr screenshots and distinctly Millennial tweets. Aesthetics that praise the use of lipstick as armor and misappropriate Gloria Steinem quotes on Instagram somehow wormed their way into an hour of scrolling through memes. In a sea of fried JPGs, it seems that we as women have taken it upon ourselves to constantly remind one another to be fierce, as though being on top of your work is going to change the darker realities too many of us face. 

But there’s something to note: many of the accounts and social personalities that advocate for (and sometimes make money off of) women’s feelings of inadequacy in the workplace fail when they commodify and monetize feminism. There is very little authenticity or realism in this aspect of feminism—especially when historians, sociologists, and academics share their work and opinions so freely on Twitter without any real way of determining the real from the fake online. 

It seems silly now, to look through the Pinterest boards when you had when you were fourteen, dissecting sexism in the most inane, reduced manner. Equality isn’t something that can be dissected or promoted in a meme or a tweet or a quote. And the word feminist isn’t a catchphrase, nor should it be a dog whistle for unkindness or judgment masquerading as bluntness. 

It is important that while we navigate our lives as women that we don’t view ourselves as the battleground. It has the potential to exhaust us greatly. Rather, be yourself. Question gently, if that’s your style. Redirect when a woman is interrupted at the monthly meeting, and keep reading. Keep learning about yourself and know that you are not a failure for women everywhere for every boundary you didn’t set, for every clapback you contained. The movement takes time, energy, and love.

Iman Emdad

GA Tech '23

Iman is a first-year Public Policy major at Georgia Tech. She enjoys reading and listening to Qveen Herby.
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