raising our voices in praise of the ordinary women

Recently it was International Women's Day, and so my social media feeds were full of praise for the many strong, powerful, successful women our history has known. And that's wonderful. We need such things every day.

And I think we need praise for the fragile, powerless, worried women too. The ones whose contribution to society is unheralded, unpaid, domestic, but blesses us their loving sons and gracious kind-hearted daughters. The ones who make miracles out of five dollars, and manage a new expression to wear above the same old dress every day.

The women who never found their genius in school, or who were born in the wrong country to express it.

The nobody women. 

Generations of girls are rising from our homes and our dreams, and what are we teaching them? That women are worthy of celebration only when they write acclaimed poetry, or battle in public, or survive trauma in a blaze of furious courage rather than a long, limping, agonisingly difficult journey back to wholeness? I want girls to grow up knowing that they don't have to be strong to be valuable. They can dwell in smallness and quietude if that's their true home. They can honour their frailties without needing to transform them into great and triumphant power. It's even alright if they want to be rescued by a prince.

I am a feminist, and so I aver that saying women should be fierce, successful goddesses is diminishing them, stealing from them the right to be hurt, frightened, shy, lonely, inarticulate, conciliatory, sad, dreamy, unambitious, a whole and complex individual whose life has value because it is a life, not because it is a great example for other women.

Let's definitely celebrate the successes of womankind - while at the same time recognising that success can be getting the kitchen floor swept that day ... or choosing to rest aching limbs instead, and letting the crumbs lie. It can be running down to the ocean in a bathing suit never mind what your body looks like ... or remaining clothed at the edge of the beach, out of consideration for your shy and vulnerable heart. Let's see women as real people, and honour their rich diversity.


  1. Yes, we need more praise of the ordinary - since that is what most people are, not popsingers or princesses.

  2. Yes yes yes! You write so beautifully!

  3. Yes, thank you. Yesterday I felt myself asking and wondering, when will I feel good enough? I never seem to get there, and then those times when I do share and speak up, I wonder if I'm being "too much, and in the way". I would like to feel that it's ok to be fragile, and to move forward slowly, and that cooking and cleaning has value too, arranging flowers, making the home beautiful. I feel a deep sigh wants to escape me, reading this.

  4. Oh, this is exactly what I think and feel but expressed far more beautifully than I ever could articulate it.♥

    I am a feminist, too, but have always been disappointed by the movement and its narrative. In many ways, it has led to the further oppression and repression of the feminine.

  5. Well Said!!!! I know soooooo many women that I consider to be hero's because of the things they have managed to get through. Thank you for this post! I wish we could write it in the sky!!!

  6. I agree with all of your readers! Terrific post