Being a woman myself, “… the struggle of women to mould their own destiny and to influence the fate of our global village”- as Aung San Suu Kyi explicitly describes it- is something I am very passionate about. I know to be true that we are incredibly lucky to have been around in the present time, in regards to objectively and retrospectively understanding the principles of Women and the change that has, and I am happy to report, will continue to take place.
The empowering speech given by Suu Kyi, along with Margaret Atwood’s light and entertaining take on the place of women, although both delivered over a decade ago, resonate with my personal beliefs and inspire me to appreciate in completely different contexts, my most natural state- womanhood. Spotty-Handed Villainesses as just stated, touches on the portrayal of women in forms of literature in a way I have never really seen- she makes a point of defying aspects- without condemning- the two previous waves of feminist views and ideals of portraying women in an angel-like way.
Isn’t bad behaviour supposed to be the monoploy of men? ” She rhetorically highlights the unrealistic expectation placed upon women by not only men, but women also, which Atwood notes is an ideal portrayed in literature across the board. The point is however, it’s the flawed female personas that we can recall, she alludes to Lady Macbeth and Ophelia, and rightfully- who can actually remember more of the latter? Atwood metaphorically refers to female “bad” characters as “keys to doors we need to open, and as mirrors in which we can see more than just a pretty face.
I really love this phrase, to me it illustrates something I see many young women today lacking- acceptance in themselves, a lack of positive empowerment and responsibility, and the foresee of possibilities- all in the context of being a woman. We don’t need to portray Ophelia, or Jane Bennett, or Cinderella, or Sleeping Beauty, or Alice Cohen, in fact, anything else I recall other than their shared beauty is, well, limited. Women are not perfect in reality, therefore should not have negative connotations associated with them when they are flawed characters in literature.
Although some may not feel as passionate as I do, I can’t imagine many women today denying that a single woman can be both good and bad- just like men- and to condemn this logical reality on women only is outdated and ridiculous. Aung San Suu Kyi’s addresses on women is far more formal in contrast to Atwood’s, and when I consider her cicumstances, I immediately admire her for her bravery to conduct this speech, not to mention her many other feats of bravery and selflessness. This I feel before even reading her speech compells me to take careful note on her message, purely because of her admirable acheivements.
Suu Kyi is a ridiculously inspiring woman, it is evident in this speech her desire for the world to progress towards peace, and she makes a huge point of the power of “women in politics and governance. ” Suu Kyi notes that for many ages, women have “dedicated themselves almost exclusively to the task of nutrutring, protecting and caring… ” She recognises these basic womenly insticts and explicitly states that the “empowerment of women throughout the world can not fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all. This statement along with it’s justification stirs a shocking realisation within me- imagine if your mother, or grandmother, or aunt, or any other loving, nurturing and compassionate women you know held the positions of power in the world? I can only imagine! Suu Kyi discusses the concept of intollerace and it’s causation in demoting peace. She mentions male collegues’ appreciation for their wives, using a powerful contrasting simile to describe the women as “tender as a mother nutsing their newly born, brave as a lioness defending their young. She again makes a point of the effects these women could have in regards to the well-being of the world if they had the power to do so. Besides some male leader’s intollerance of the peaceful power possessed by women, I personally can not imagine many male leaders who would actually be proud of a woman replacing them. This painful truth puts into perspective not only leaders of the past I can recall, but the power and authority possessors of today, the ones that shape mine- our- way of life. I suppose I have it incredibly lucky; for I live in a relatively female-liberated society.
Women like Aung San Suu Kyi do not have the luxuries I take for granted, imagine, before even women having power, simply imagine if women like Suu Kyi had the power I do not even recognise. Women have gcome an incredibly long way by means of unimaginable selflessness, I feel it is up to us to now take their legacy into our potentially powerful grasp and continue the change. Margaret Atwood & Aung San Sue Kyi have proven to me that there are different ways to speak out for a single cause you believe in, and I find myself enshrined with a new sense of empowerment from the valor of their own.