- Isabella Lenarduzzi

Embrace your inner girl to save the world

To succeed in our careers, well-intentioned business coaches write books advising us to stop being nice girls and become women who are in control of our lives. They tell us to stop trying to please other people (Lois Frankel “Nice girls don’t get the corner offce”, “Nice girls just don’t get it.”).

From a young age we raise our girls to believe that their happiness and success is dependent on respecting such stereotypes as being polite, kind, docile and attentive to others. Our attempts to get rid of such social pressures have been ridiculed or aroused disapproval and contempt. (“Are you having your period?” “You are more beautiful when you smile” “If you are that aggressive, no man will be interested in you”…). The result: many women live their whole lives by proxy because most of their choices were made to please their parents, their husbands or their children. They complain of being ignored and constantly undervalued.

By skipping the nice girl status to become a winning woman doesn’t mean we necessarily get what we want but it does mean we get to pursue our own goals in an authentic, focused, mature and intelligent way. In reality, it’s about all power – the power that an individual gains by being autonomous. And herein lies the problem… to arrive at a system in which men dominate women (patriarchy) women were stripped of their self-esteem. Eve Ensler (author of “The Vagina Monologues”) states that the power of women must have been so terrifying that everything was done to try to transform it into: instability, fragility, passivity, inconsistency … In doing so we took away women’s inner strength and removed any ounce of femininity in men, creating warriors of arrogant, violent and power-hungry males. What torture for women but also for men!

After the success of the “Vagina Monologues”, Eve Ensler travelled the world. But it was her stay in the Democratic Republic of Congo and what she saw there that changed her life forever. It’s one of those places in the world where the disastrous effects of male domination are still very much alive today. What is happening there is nothing short of hell on earth. For example, have you heard about fistula? An obstetric fistula is a hole in the birth canal that is caused by a lack of adequate care in childbirth or by rape. In other words, there is a gaping hole between the vulva and anus. Women who suffer this fate have permanent urinary or faecal incontinence, are ashamed of their situation and are socially excluded because of it. In Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa it’s estimated that more than 2 million women are currently living with an untreated obstetric fistula. One in three women world wide, in other words I billion women, will be raped or physically abused during the course of their lives. Eve Ensler draws the conclusion that we’re trying to suppress or kill off femininity. In her latest book Emotional Creature and through her TED appearances she defends the return of feminine power in all of us (men and women).

Emotions, empathy, vulnerability and intuition all enable us to enter into true and meaningful relationships with others and to find solutions to live better together and respect our planet. It’s what the management books call “emotional intelligence” and which could lead to an innovative, inclusive and supportive environment. It’s no longer about being “a nice girl” cut off from our true desires and talents, but about being a powerful, courageous woman, who can show empathy and compassion towards others. It’s this energy that Eve Ensler has called upon to save the world: “I want girl energy to spread around the world. That girl cell must be powerful if we’re all told to ignore it, to suppress it, to change it. But if we tap into that part of ourselves, the more loving, the more resisting, the more compassionate, the more heart-opening part, we have the capacity to create compassionate revolution. We can be fierce and loving at the same time. We need to be.”

But Eve Ensler is never content with just words… she wants action to change the tragedy that affects a billion women, by encouraging another billion women to channel their energy and joy into dance. “One billion rising” will take place on the 14 February throughout the world. Take a look at this amazing video and get involved in the event. For once, on St Valentine’s Day we can declare our love for women so that they feel strong and capable of taking their own destiny in their own hands. Dancing expends so much energy that it can heal a wounded soul. By showing our support for all the women who have suffered, we are also doing ourselves some good and boosting our own self esteem and self respect.

So go on embrace your inner girl to save the world!

Take part to the Day of the Girl Summit by the UN on October 11.