My queue is full of what Netflix categorizes as shows with a “Strong Female Lead.” While I don’t agree with every bit of content these shows air, I continue to watch them because I love seeing powerful women do what they do. It motivates me. Whether it’s Olivia Pope, Lorelai Gilmore, Meredith Grey, Leslie Knope, Cristina Yang, Jessica Day, Rayna James, or Mindy Lahiri, these women speak and act in powerful ways. They don’t timidly start sentences with “I might be wrong, but . . .” or “I mean, I think that . . .” And they don’t look for a man every time they need to make a decision. They are confident in who they are.
Yes, I know these are actresses playing roles from scripts. But still, I’m hungry to observe women like this. They challenge me to stop saying “Sorry” every time I begin a sentence, walk through a crowded area, voice an opinion, or just take up space. They help me process my desire to be more confident and decisive.
What Do Our Words Say?
In the real world, it’s more difficult to find women who speak and act in unapologetic, powerful ways. As a matter of fact, we’re actually often taught to do the opposite. In Soraya Chemaly’s Huffington Post article “10 Words Every Girl Should Learn,” she explains,
Globally, childhood politeness lessons are gender asymmetrical. We socialize girls to take turns, listen more carefully, not curse and resist interrupting in ways we do not expect boys to. Put another way, we generally teach girls subservient habits and boys to exercise dominance.