For the last eight years, Michelle Obama has been a shining beacon in the White House for females, healthy food, fashion… even reppin’ Missy Elliot! Politics notwithstanding, she’d have learned a thing or two in her tenure as First Lady. So as 2016 draws to a close, she has some choice words for women everywhere.
“Live out loud,” she said in an interview with Oprah. “Understand that what’s in your brain is really useful. Do not hide it. Don’t dumb it down. Don’t apologize for it. Just put it on the table and let people deal with it.”
Now, that’s brave. And bold. And a little bit sassy. Obviously, we’re making it our mantra for 2017.
But in the meantime, here’s to the women out there who are brave, bold and a little bit sassy. These are 4 reasons why you should stay exactly as you are.
1. You don’t back down – especially if it’s something you’re passionate about
Do you have that one topic that comes up in conversation from time to time, and that’s guaranteed to trigger a heated discussion? GOOD (Note: not argument, discussion. Healthy, healthy debate). If you know what’s important to you and where you stand on a certain issue, when someone brings it up, you’re sure as hell going to say something. And being opinionated is not something to be apologetic about.
Let’s just pause and think about the number of times we’ve hesitated to speak up at work because we’re worried about the negative connotations associated with disagreeing with someone. Or how many exclamation marks or smiley faces we tack on to the end of a message that doesn’t actually need them. And how many of us have inwardly cringed upon hearing our own voices go up a few pitches talking to someone – all this so we come across as appropriately bubbly and approachable? That’s all just the tip of the iceberg. We haven’t even touched on all the times we’ve deflected compliments for work we put hours of effort into doing.
There’s no denying that we moderate ourselves around other people, but being perceived as nice doesn’t have to be the pinnacle of what a female can be. If you’re good at something, own it. And if you have an opinion on something, and freely and firmly express it regardless of how well it may be received, more power to you!
2. BUT if disagreement happens, you listen and consider opposing points of view
Just a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T… Aretha Franklin really nailed it there. Sassy doesn’t mean stubborn. Just because you have your own opinions doesn’t mean you don’t respect the views of others. Sure, you might not be the most agreeable person on the planet but you’re not above listening either. There’s something to be said for holding strong beliefs and defending them, while accepting that someone else may lie on the opposite end of the spectrum. There’s a wide array of thinking, and blind acceptance isn’t the only way to peacefully co-exist.
3. You’re not afraid to question
Whether it’s to clarify your thoughts or probe into others’, you don’t pretend to understand things you don’t – you ask instead. You were that kid in primary school who 100% embraced the whole idea that there are no stupid questions. Maybe you took it that one step further and became the bane of your teacher’s life with all your (intentionally borderline stupid) asks. But hey, it just means you’re a straight-shooter. You’re as in touch with what you know as what you don’t know, and that sort of knowledge is power.
4. You love a challenge
And not just when it comes to a good debate. That fearless attitude toward expressing yourself and your opinions – that translates to your approach to life too! Your ability to hold firm against outside influences shapes your ability to handle most setbacks.
Excuse the cheesy analogy drawn from a litany of female empowerment quotes on the interwebs, but if you want to teach em’ young to #staywoke, this is the lesson for girls to learn: You are not a sponge tossed about in a world where the odds are stacked against you, absorbing outsider’s perceptions of you, absorbing the gender pay gap, absorbing awful fashion trends even. You are a rock. You don’t defer to the powers that be, you stand against them.
So, let’s hear it for the sassy women out there who never underestimate themselves, who stand their ground and wear their opinions proudly (resting bitch face optional).