What does a strong woman mean to you? Does your mind instantly go to physical strength such as the lovely woman above? Does it make you think of a steely and determined businesswoman? Or maybe something closer to home? And does this idea of ‘strength’ help or hinder us?
In the past few years, I’ve been told that I’m ‘strong’, emotionally. That I can hold shit together when it all goes wrong. The thing is, I don’t think I have a choice because I’m a woman I get on with it. When I was growing up, I saw my Mum as the glue that held everything together. Dad would do 12-hour shift work, so I spent a lot of time watching as my Mum organised, cleaned, sorted birthdays, got me and my sister through tough times. She just kept going and I thought, as a woman that what you did.
In literature and film, we have ‘strong’ women who can fight and survive in a physical manner. Many, are irritated that a strong woman must be considered physically strong. Take, for example, Hermione Granger, we are told how brilliant she is, how smart, however, I never saw Hermione described as ‘strong’ because she was using her mind, rather than her physical strength. On the other hand, Katniss Everdeen is often described as having strength because of her physical capabilities and the fact she can fight.
It strikes me that these ‘strong women’, often have to prove themselves, in a way that is reminiscent of men, at least in a traditional sense. While I love women showing their bodies are powerful, there are so many other ways a woman can be strong. Women in the face of adversity, women who have changed the world (like those in Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls ).
On another Harry Potter note though, think of the strongest woman in the series that you know. Mrs Molly Weasley is easiest the most kick-ass woman who has unwavering strength throughout every book and film. She is a strong woman, she’s a mother and housewife. I’d love to see more of the strength in everyday women portrayed.
What does a strong woman mean to you? Let me know in the comments below!