“I raise up my voice not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard.” -Malala Yousafzai
One time I came across this saying flashed on a web page and I was halted in thoughts, “Courage in women is called insanity.” I came to reflect and recall on the times when as a woman I stood up for my belief and convictions on something, for someone and especially for myself. I’m not pointing out to such a shallow woman’s complaints and ramblings but the time when a woman takes a stand, speak up and fights for a cause and a conviction when others won’t or someone can’t, yes those times when a woman is almost charged insane. Courage in men is a common theme and always expected but courage in women is generally honestly not welcomed and applauded as much as courage in men. Should a woman preferred be found weak, vulnerable, quiet and passive?
My meditation recently was also about courage. In the book of Joshua in the Bible chapter 1 alone, I have highlighted and found 4 times repeated were the words “be strong and courageous”. The Bible has revolutionary spoken about redemption in the name of Jesus which has already cut across cultures, races and even sexes for the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 3:28, “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus”. A woman is also called to be strong and courageous. But such strength and courage does not spring up in expressive motions or the loudness of a woman’s voice, but in her heart where there is an unlimited capacity for a song of courage.
Women need not to worry if they will be considered unfeminine if they speak up. “We will not be free until we can speak our minds and our hearts without having to worry that men will crucify us, women will crucify us, the press will crucify us or our children will be ashamed. Women are still in emotional bondage as long as we need to worry that we might have to make a choice between being heard and being loved,” author M. Williamson wrote.
Indeed, as a woman like me who speaks up her mind in writing and speech and thriving in a post-modern time when the existence of social media community makes bashing, bullying and prejudice to whatever a woman has to say or do is so easy, I found it formidable to rise and speak up. And yet I still do, I can’t deny who I am. I am not insolent. I am a woman and I have been bestowed by my Creator God with a voice not to tear down but a voice to build up and point back to His glory.
The journey for each woman to find her own voice is possible but it is a difficult one. Even some women have gone down the grave unheard or some in delusion that they were heard. Because almost always there are oppositions in this world to a true woman’s voice. Opposition that will come from both men and women.
TO MEN OF THIS PLANET. A woman might talk a lot and yet almost always have only one thing or something to say. But so often, we cannot speak it. A secure man do not silence a woman’s voice but listens to it, does not compete with her but be her partner, does not use her but allow mutual support where she can also reach her God-given potential. M. Williamson stated, “Who is to hold space for a woman’s greatness? In many heterosexual relationships, a man is threatened by a woman’s greatness, finding a variety of ways to make her question her own beauty and strength. A secure man is not threatened by a woman’s intellectual or emotional power but celebrates the opportunity for a joyful partnership that it offers him. The conscious question is whether a relationship can handle two stars.” Once, I dated a man who liked me but never went to the street to hear me tell stories among streetkids but then saw me on TV around this kind of kids and read stories published about the causes I advocate. He admired what I do but wished I was a different type of woman, a woman whose voice (through my write-ups and opinions) is not on the forefront if I am to be identified as his girlfriend or wife. All I can say is at first, I wonder how my life was better or worst if I was not me but his type of woman. But now all I can say is, that man never heard from me and worst never got to see me for himself since then.
TO THE WOMEN OF THIS PLANET. Courage is not pulling other women down to appear strong and more beautiful. The mean-bitch girl is a girl not a woman. A secure woman can see the best in other women and not doubt herself nor impose herself to other women. As a woman, M. Williamson prods women, “Never to allow partnership especially with a man to silence your voice or keep you from supporting another woman in using hers, or you are helping perpetuate a most vicious muffling of a most beautiful sound. The world has no idea of the song we’re not yet hearing: women singing out, in harmony with men and each other, at full blast, at full volume. It’s music we need.”
My prayers go to the women who are in the journey of finding their voice and women whose voices are being shut by abuse, lack of rights, and oppression even perhaps by their own loved ones, authorities or leaders. May God bless all the women in this generation to be who they are created and called to be by their Divine Creator and Jesus Redeemer. In culmination celebration of March as women’s month: to all the women out there especially my mother and sister, and women friends. For Beauty, Strength and Courage! Cheers!