Female empowerment is underrated. Nowadays, those words get tossed around a lot, so sometimes, they lose their effect. What is female empowerment, anyway? It can be defined in varying ways by many different types of people. It could be Hillary Clinton, securing the first female presidential nomination for a major party. It could be Wonder Woman, crusading her way through the male-dominated battlefields of World War I. It could be the hundreds of little girls in third-world countries who try with all their might to get an education. I read about all of these things in The VINAZINE while surrounded by female crusaders at the VINA office, a little haven of female empowerment in its own right.
The first article I ever read in The VINAZINE was about Mindy Kaling. A big Mindy fan, I clicked on the piece, expecting to read about how funny Mindy was, how entertaining her Twitter account is, and how much we all love The Office and The Mindy Project. Instead, the author focused on why Mindy was a “trailblazer.” As a rare female show runner/writer/director, an advocate for body positivity, and a clever author with undeniable writing prowess, Mindy is more than funny or cute. This was acknowledged and celebrated in The VINAZINE’s piece.
This perspective— the idea that women are what they do rather than how they look— can be found in all corners of The VINAZINE. As a writer who’s had a fair amount of experience in the journalistic style, I’ve had a lot of practice editing pieces, cutting down words, reformatting paragraphs, and changing angles. I enjoy it, and I’ve loved getting the chance to make The VINA society members’ written works better. Over the years, I’ve gotten used to having to write engaging pieces about topics that didn’t particularly interest me, but this was never the case at VINA. As I wrote about an evening at the symphony, I imagined two women following my instructions and bonding while broadening their minds to the world of classical music. As I described the feminist implications in Hamilton, I recalled my time seeing the musical and and rediscovered its themes of girl power. As I detailed the relationships of literature’s best sisterhoods, I remembered all of my favorite books and how they had shaped me as a person. As I elaborated on the unrelenting strength, grace, and power of Malala Yousafzai, I was describing something about which I was truly passionate. I had always admired Malala, and here I was, getting the opportunity to not only write about her, but to share her incredible resiliency with others.
I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned how to inject a bit more humor into my writing and how to follow visual guidelines. I’ve watched the women in the VINA office break the stereotypes that men are most prolific in technology. Nowadays, many professional industries are male-dominated, from STEM fields, to broadcasting, to tech, and more. I realized during my time at VINA that that doesn’t have to be the case. Just because a glass ceiling exists doesn’t mean it can’t be shattered.
There is little in life that is more fulfilling or enjoyable than making friends. We don’t often think about it, but where would we be without our friends? The good ones are there in the best of times and the worst of times, through thick and thin, in calm or stormy weather. One of the most important aspects of female empowerment is sharing it with your friends and sisters. I’ve loved writing about it, identifying it in brilliant women or in novels, offering ideas to cultivate it, and encouraging everyone to recognize it and draw it out of themselves. If you need a little more of it in your life, you can download they Hey! VINA app 🙂
I hope I’ve written a piece that has helped at least one person, somewhere. Maybe a young girl has read my analysis about the lyrics Angelica Schuyler sings in Hamilton and discovered a whole new world of girl power. Perhaps another has read my post on literary sisterhoods and started exploring the female friendships in Anne of Green Gables or Pride and Prejudice. Hopefully another has read my profile on Malala and has set out to follow her lead, to create her own profile. If Angelica, Anne, and Malala can do it, why can’t she?
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