Empower Yourself for Yourself, Not Others
“Others empowerment should not make you, or anyone, feel forced to be a certain way. If anything, it is a gentle reminder to let you know that anything is possible and, most of all, that you are worth it.”
Words by Jule Scott
Images from Allure Magazine. Model: Lizzo. Photographer: Luke Gilford. Stylist: Kyle Luu. Makeup: Grace Ahn. Hair: Yusef Williams. Manicurist: Dawn Sterling. Tailor: Simone Kurland.
The other day I stumbled across an Instagram post that only much later, when I found myself unable to fall asleep, I remembered again. Now, trust me, I've gone through the deep ends of Instagram trying to find it. I looked through everything I have ever saved and liked (a function I wasn't even aware existed). Sadly, I am unable to find it anymore, please forgive me if I a misquoting it slightly, because it wasn't a picture, but in fact, the text that read: "I need to be confident, I cannot let Lizzo down."
Now, at first, that seemed like a very valid thing to be thinking. Lizzo, a singer Paper Magazine dubbed as “Body Positive Queen of 2018”, has not only been taking the music industry by storm, but has continuously stood up for crucial causes in our current society and environment. Calling her a body positivity advocate, in my opinion, honestly doesn't do the singer justice. She has been vocal about so much more, including gender and sexuality, mental health and media representation. The singer tackled all of this with a sense of honesty and vulnerability, two attributes that are the most powerful and yet rarest ones on social media and in pop culture. When I first read this post that stated her as a reason to be confident I agreed - but coming to think of it, isn't the only person you should want to be confident for yourself?
There is something almost troubling about the thought of someone wanting to be confident simply not to disappoint, or in the words of the post, let someone else down. Frankly, I do think it goes against any message that Lizzo, or other incredible, empowering artists and humans out there are trying to send. Of course, we need role-models. It is natural to look up to someone, to feel empowered or inspired by others, their bravery, confidence and even vulnerability, but I wonder if we take that as yet another added pressure that makes us think we need to be a certain way. Is that empowerment, or simply overpowering?
Maybe it is just me, but at times, seeing how outspoken and confident other people are can make me feel even more insecure. It often comes with a sense of failure. After all, why am I not confident enough to wear whatever I want, say whatever I want and, most importantly, be whoever I want? There are brilliant minds, bodies and souls out there at the moment, changing the way beauty, gender, race, mental health and the idea of 'perfection' is represented and they are so important. No doubt their presence is making millions of people feel included and finally visible in a media culture that has ignored and silenced them for too long. None the less, we cannot forget that, while we can learn from them, it is ourselves who we need to change things for. Others empowerment should not make you, or anyone, feel forced to be a certain way. If anything, it is a gentle reminder to let you know that anything is possible and, most of all, that you are worth it.
I am one hundred per cent for putting on a Lizzo tune in the morning to get yourself ready and pumped for the day. Anything to give you that extra boost of confidence, attitude, or whatever it is you are looking for at that moment - but I think it is essential to remind ourselves that at the end of the day the only person we need to feel confident for is ourselves.