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How to be a Better Feminist by Ditching the Scarcity Mentality

March is Women’s History Month and today is International Women’s Day. Whether you call yourself a feminist, want to call yourself a feminist, or even don’t call yourself that at all, learning how to support other women is never a bad thing.

As women living in a man’s world, all we have is each other sometimes. Learning how to ditch the “scarcity mentality,” as poet Rupi Kaur puts it, will ultimately make all of us all better feminists. Scarcity Mentality is defined by Kaur as, “People seeing life as a finite pie, so that if one person takes a big piece, that leaves less for everyone else.” The common “feuding women in high places because there’s not enough space for the both of them” image is seen, heard, and portrayed over and over and over again. And quite frankly, it’s boring. Pitting women against women by forcing them to think they have to protect their spot at the table from the other is wrong.

So many of us are conditioned to feel this way. Our society tells us we all want to be important people and to be leaders, but it also tells women there is only a small spot in the back for them. Ever felt the need to compare yourself to the woman beside you? Ever felt the need to protect your spot at the table from anyone and everyone? You might have been viewing your world as if your spot is scarce and if you lose it, there’s no room left to get back there.

That’s false, especially as we continue to transform our political, cultural, and economical view of women, even if it is a slow crawl. As women continue to push for more spots at the table and show their talents, ditching the scarcity mentality might be a bit difficult. Although difficult at first, it’s a necessity. Women aren’t your enemy, but your partner in crime, a person to back up your opinion and make sure you get the credit you deserve at the office meeting!

So how exactly do you rid yourself of such a conditioned mentality?

Octavia Bright, a writer for Elle Magazine, says, “If you feel the urge to criticize or bitch about another woman, remember that your thinking has been shaped by patriarchal ideas, and slow things down to give yourself a chance to reassess. Think about how much there is to gain if women and non-binary people are able to work together as part of an inclusive community.

“Instead of comparing yourself to other women by zooming in on what they have that you supposedly don’t, remember that someone else’s success doesn’t mean your own is less likely.”

We need more women entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists, CEOs, doctors, etc. We need a female’s perspective in every room, and we certainly need to raise each other up to help ourselves and other women’s voices to be heard.


Taylor Swift performing
Photo by GabboT from Flickr distributed under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license

It’s hard to rewire our brains from the underlining misogyny, sexism, and anti-feminism. Even celebrities, like Taylor Swift, have a hard time reprogramming their brain to stop thinking in an sexist commentary. In her Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, she says to director Lana Wilson, “I’m trying to be as educated as possible on how to respect people and deprogram the misogyny in my own brain. There is no such thing as a slut, as a bitch, as someone who’s bossy, there’s just a boss. We don’t want to be condemned for being multifaceted.”

Just remember, if you’re taking a step back and saying to yourself, “You know what, that’s not true” when you’re having a sexist, anti-feminist, anti-women thought, you’re going in the right direction. Just becoming aware of the conditioned thought process we experience and actively rejecting it for a feminist one will not only allow more women to join the high ranks, but make it so much easier to stand up for equality both in the workplace and in our own personal lives.

Happy International Women’s Day. You are strong, powerful, and deserve a spot at every table.

Alyssa Guzman is a Senior at Siena College, and is the Editor-in-Chief for Her Campus Siena. She is currently Double Majoring in English and Communications Journalism with a minor in Writing and Communications. She hopes to one day be a New York Times Bestselling Author in Fiction, but plans on starting in the journalism world with dreams of writing for Cosmopolitan or the New York Times. In her free time, she enjoys fashion, writing, and listening to the newest Taylor Swift release. 
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