The Politics of Female Confidence
There are many tips, tricks and tutorials all over the internet about how to be more confident as a woman in the modern world. But there is one thing that these guides forget to mention: that over everything else, all things considered, confidence is primarily political.
I don’t necessarily mean political confidence here, but the political nature of it and how years (or rather decades) of oppressive and unjust systems formed it into how it is now. How black and ethnic minority women are encouraged and supported less to build their personal, professional or even artistic confidence, yet they are the pioneers of teaching self-love, body positivity and empowerment to other women on every platform and through all mediums.
Years of oppression and suffering shaped this and despite adversities and difficulties, they never forgot how to cherish themselves, their culture and who they are – even when this is proving to be difficult. Self-love is a way of revolution and they are leading everyone in it, no matter the race, ethnicity, culture or any other factor. The world is changing from an all-white, blonde and skinny idea of beauty and is moving towards celebrating difference — even though this move is snail-paced.
The awakening and empowerment of the Black Lives Matter movement was a catalyst for this and found black women and ethnic minorities all over the world starting to embrace and be proud of who they are again. Social media content creators are inspiring, encouraging people to be who they are and black women are being established as cheerleaders of self-esteem, confidence and self-love.
And it is entirely political. The art and value of self-love is being passed down from generation to generation. It is almost like a sort of self-defence mechanism, to equip you to deal with racism and adverse experiences with a little more effortlessly. But it is still effort, and the self-esteem gap is still visibly there. Race and gender has a massive effect on how you are perceived by employers, peers and colleagues and has a complex systemic bias embedded on how everyone views confidence. No two experiences are the same.
But the good work is done by the increasing number of black and ethnic minority women in politics and taking public office, showing the way for young women growing up and teaching them to embrace their potential and power. Women are leading countries, establishing their space in Congress and leading successful businesses and taking up positions as Executive Directors. And it is done by educators, to embed the importance of confidence from a young age. It is a tool crucial to dismantling injustice, unfair systems and to pave the way to a more equal and fair society.
Many black women talk about their perspective and take on self-love from a cultural and political aspect. It is a powerful antidote against racism and hostility. It is almost like a sort of heirloom, passed down from woman to woman over the years. And it continues to be passed down, but with a new, stronger shine.