I watched this TED talk called “Embrace your inner girl” recently. I just loved it and I found it so powerful and empowering.

In this talk, the speaker talked about how everyone had an inner girl inside of them, the emotional, vulnerable side of our identity that society taught us to hide, conceal and suppress.

I used to hate being a girl. Born in Vietnam, an Asian country deeply influenced by Confucianism where men are considered to be superior to women, I grew up seeing women face so many pressures, judgments, and burdens in life. Nowadays I still see women struggle and fight to find their voice and place in the society.

I used to wish I was born a boy so I could get to do what I wanted, travel and pursue my dream career without being judged by not being “a family woman”, so I wouldn’t have to spend hours in the kitchen everyday cooking, doing housework while all the boys and men just sit around drinking tea.

Not anymore… Now I love being a woman, and I love feeling the feminine energy in me. But it doesn’t mean I succumb to the stereotypes and judgments on women. I have realized the need for gender equality and a new perspective on gender.

I think there are both masculine and feminine energies within everyone. Depending on your personalities, circumstances, situations, preferences, etc. one energy is more dominant than the other.

I used to suppress the feminine energy in me and my friends used to say I was even more manly than some men with the masculine energy I was projecting. I still am to an extent, it is just I have gradually learned to balance the 2 energies in me and my feminine energy is showing more and more.

Regardless of our biological genders, or how we define our genders or sexualities, we always face social norms, judgments, and stereotypes in the way people see us. If you are a boy and you cry or you show your sensitive, caring, emotional side, people will call you weak, gay, p*ssy, etc. because men are supposed to be strong, tough, macho.

I have a friend who is extremely embarrassed to admit that he is clucky (meaning he is wanting kids) because he said only women are supposed to be clucky. I told him it is perfectly fine and normal to feel clucky because males have fatherly instinct too, they have their caring side too. It is just men are taught to hide it. I find it extremely beautiful whenever a man shows his emotions, his tears, his caringness. I don’t think it is a weakness, I think it is bravery.

And women nowadays live in a male-dominant system where they are objectified, sexualized and condescended. With inclinations to be emotional, sensitive, and insecure, women are told they are weaker than men, they are helpless and not as incompetent, hence they need to depend on men.

Women are told they shouldn’t be too intelligent or too strong because they are gonna “scare” men away, that they should just be in their “right” place, listening to men, cooking, cleaning, etc.

In 2013, the UN Women launched an ad campaign revealing sexism and discrimination against women. Based on real Google search, when they typed in “Women should”, “Women cannot” or “Women need to”, the results showed: Women shouldn’t vote; Women need to be disciplined; Women should be slaves; Women shouldn’t have rights…

The results to me were horrifying as it showed how widespread and rampant sexism is.

Just imagine if now we reversed the role of men and women, what would it be like? You can check out this short film below, it is described by the filmmaker as:

“On what seems to be just another ordinary day, a man is exposed to sexism and sexual violence in a society ruled by women…”

I believe women and their feminine energy is the most untapped potential and resource in the world; and that women are just as important, intelligent, competent and strong as men. And in fact, not only do women work harder, have higher emotional intelligence, women make better leaders!

To each of us, male or female, we need to learn to recognize, nurture, and balance the feminine and masculine energy inhabiting inside of us. It is a way to understand ourselves and our identities.

It is not to deny the role or the rights of males but to empower both genders, to understand each gender’s perspective, to encourage mutual understanding and respect instead of labeling and stereotyping. Why not set ourselves free from social norms and judgments, and just be our true authentic self?

So instead of just embracing our inner girl or our inner boy, let’s just embrace our inner self.

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Posted by:Hanh Lam

I am a young Vietnamese woman with a passion for development work and social change, a desire to explore the world and a love for storytelling.

2 replies on “Embrace your inner self

  1. About us having both the male and female energies, there’s this myth as to how when we were born, we were born with 4 pairs of hands and legs, and then god decided to split us up. That’s why apparently there’s this thing about looking for your soulmate/ other half. I believe embracing our inner self is,honestly very important.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting myth! I actually haven’t heard of it. But I do agree that embracing our inner self is extremely important not just to understand and find ourselves, but also to respect and empower others. Thank you for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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