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Being an Empowered Woman at The University of Ottawa

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

Well, what does being empowered mean? What is empowerment? What comes to your mind when I ask, are you an empowered woman?


Beyoncé’s song, ***Flawless, describes empowerment rather well. Not only the aggressiveness of the song (a voice of undeniable power), but also the lyrics. “Don’t forget it, don’t forget it, respect that. Bow down b**ches.” She’s telling you and all who listen, to never forget that she was born flawless, goes to bed flawless, and wakes up, you guessed it, hella flawless. The song speaks of a little girl from H Town (Houston, Texas), who took a break from music and entertainment to have a child and focus on her family. Beyoncé taking a break from her career was misread by most to mean that, with the ring on her finger, and child by her side, she was not able to continue on with her work (let alone be sexually active).

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech was perfectly inserted into the song to highlight this false idea that society imposes on women in the work force, love, and in their familial relationships. An empowered woman is able to juggle it all. As an empowered woman at the University of Ottawa, I am able to go to my classes, go to work, babysit my little brother, keep my man happy (well when I find him – holla @ me), and still go out to parties, socialize, and be an active member of society.


I asked you at the beginning what being empowered meant. Well, being empowered means having power or having control over something. For example, the Ottawa SlutWalk is a perfect and riveting example of being empowered. Dozens to thousands of women, men, transgendered, and many more, came together to bring awareness to, and possibly lessen, rape culture. These participants are empowered. They are using their rights and the power they have, for a great cause. Empowerment does not end there. Being empowered to me is also confidence. It’s the feeling of each step you take; your feet pounding on the pavement, knowing your outfit is on point (sweats and all), and knowing that you are uniquely beautiful in every way possible.

In our society, I find confidence and self love is frowned upon. We call it narcissism. For example; you start a conversation with someone about a test you both did and the individual responds saying that they did poorly. What do you do? You console the individual and you both discuss the ways in which to do better. Subconsciously you feel better consoling them. You feel that guilty slight sense of joy. Then you ask another individual how they did and they respond saying that they passed with flying colours. What do you say? “Oh, great! Good job.” The person continues on about how happy they are with their mark and you grow irritable. Why? In my opinion, this is because as a society we are taught to brag about our weaknesses and hide away our strengths. When someone talks of how talented they are, they, for the most part, begin the sentence with, “Not to brag but.” An empowered woman need not begin the sentence that way. An empowered woman simply does not care. An empowered woman would say, “I got the job as a CTV News Host,” without avoiding eye contact, nor feeling guilty for speaking of her accomplishments. This also goes for the fellas reading this.


I was having coffee with my friend one day and complimented her. Her response was, “Oh, thank you. Wow. I’m not even wearing any make-up so wow, thank you.” I’m not knocking anyone who wears make-up. Slay me with how well you do your make-up boo boo, but don’t think you’re offering a lesser dose of slayage without it. If you don’t know what slay means then you need to know asap. Make sure it remains in your vocabulary.


Being an empowered woman at the University of Ottawa means knowing your worth. Your worth is very high. This goes for every single one of you reading this. Empowerment begins from within – in my opinion. It starts with knowing you have power and you have ability to be great and to make great changes. Once you know your strength, the next step is to not be afraid to share it with the world. If you love how you look today, then say it. If someone asks how you are, tell them why you are doing so well. Brag about yourself. Be the greatest narcissist you could be because there is nothing wrong with embracing yourself and all your fine attributes. Anyone who says differently, well, simply tell them how to be an empowered woman at the University of Ottawa.





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A media addict, an activist, a music lover, a singer, and a nappy haired black woman. In the great words of the queen, "I sneezed on the beat, and the beat got sicker." Always believe in the greatness of yourself. Nothing, is impossible. Twitter: @annettesings01 Tumblr: annetteejiofor.tumblr.com Blog: HonestlyAnnette.wordpress.com