Empowerment for the Common Good
While the celebration of female empowerment stands as a constant theme in commercials and advertisements, what does it actually mean?
Oxford English Dictionary defines empowerment as “The process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.” Yet, according to Merriam-Webster, empowerment means, “The act or action of empowering someone to do something.”
These two definitions represent the choice women face as “empowered” people. Do they control their own power, or do they use their power to help others? True empowerment should reject self-focused empowerment and should instead empower others to see their value and worth. True strength lies in helping others and builds a better world for the common good.
However, modern female empowerment focuses on control. Advice like “Never let a man win” or “Don’t defer to a man” represents this type of controlling empowerment. For feminists, relations with men have and will always be hostile. “You can never fully trust him. He’s a man.”
Yet, how would our relationships differ if we believed that men had value and dignity? How would it change if we believed that our relationships with men were team efforts, not competitions? What if we actually sought to mend our relationships, to bring out the best in each other and to affirm our respective strengths? What if we empowered and encouraged each other to be better people?
Feminists cannot envision a world of cooperative rather than competitive gender relations. They cannot imagine a world where men and women work together in unique but equally-valuable relationship roles. Yet empowerment for the common good sees all human beings as valuable end seeks to encourage, rather than demean men.
Further, the keystone to feminist empowerment has become abortion. Why? Because it results in (so-called) sexual freedom and control. “Your life will be over if you have this baby.” “You can never advance in a career if you have this child.” “You should live like you want.” However, abortion disempowers the weakest and most vulnerable among us, because it views other human beings as blocking the goal of self-actualization. Yet, true empowerment can never be gained by disempowering the weak. Rather, true empowerment gives strength to the weak and defends those who cannot speak for themselves. What if, rather than supporting abortion, women chose to empower the weak by fighting against the exploitation of women and children by the abortion industry? Advocating for the rights of the vulnerable and the pre-born empowers others for the common good.
As women, we have superpowers, but we must use them to fight for the good, not to fight against others. If we do that, we can leave the world a better place. The true purpose of empowerment should ultimately reside in empowering others. For it is in giving that we receive, in fighting for the good that we give to others. It is in freeing others that we free ourselves. It is in empowering others, that we receive our own empowerment.
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