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The Ursuline Chronicle

The Bright Lights in the Shadows, Invisible to So Many

Celina Ceballos, Senior Editor

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,A woman has always been behind the tall figure of a man–in his shadows. Women have helped bring the best qualities out of men for centuries now. They always came up with the best ideas, yet it took men to carry them out. The unspoken and spoken rules of society written in both religious and legal documents have prevented women from having their voices heard. We can hear some whispers…Abigail Adams, “Remember the ladies!” Susan B. Anthony, “We the people, not we the white male citizens!” Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives but as nouns.” Rosa Parks, “The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” These are only some, and they are the sparks of fire that ignite the flame of women’s rights movements, suffragettes, feminists, and any other group of brave women that have fought to bring us this far in our goal of equality. Despite the efforts of so many, we are still not there yet. These women believed in something greater. Greater opportunity, greater justice, and greater power for their mothers, daughters, and sisters. They were tired of hearing a man explain the world to them and control everything. Aren’t we all?

 

This past week as we remembered St. Angela, who maybe wasn’t a suffragette but a strong woman and role model to look up to; we have to remember also this common goal for all women: equality. We have to stand up for what is rightfully ours. We have to refuse to make eighty cents for every man’s dollar. We have to refuse to be afraid of being attacked in our own streets, even in our own homes. We have to refuse unjust treatment in our workplaces. Given the current political climate, this fight will be harder than ever. This is a fight that long fought and many women have done their share of fighting. Isn’t it time for our generation to honor those women and reach the finish line?

 

There is plenty of inspiration that can be found all around us. Society often times portrays women in derogatory or negative ways, but if we dig hard enough we can look past these portrayals of women and find the beacons of hope–the icons, the dreamers, and the believers. There are occasional pushes and reminders for ladies to keep going and stay strong. We can find them if we only look.

 

Movies can be a beautiful source of inspiration. Although there are plenty that do not display the right attitudes toward half of the human population, there are some that show our true determination and beauty. They are usually very underrated, ironically enough. A film recently opened in the theaters does this incredibly well: “Hidden Figures”. The stories of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson are truly magnificent. These amazing African American women were true pioneers not only in the field of science but also in our fight for equality. The film traces their struggles of working at NASA as minorities not only as women but also African Americans. They were looked down upon by their colleagues, seen as unintelligent, and one was even asked to drink out of a separate coffee pot. However, with true grit, brilliance, and bravery they stood up to the intolerant men and women around them and fought for their right to be there. It is an absolutely fantastic movie, and one that I highly recommend. There are so many others, including “Suffragette” about the battle for women’s right to vote in Great Britain, “A League of their Own” about a women’s baseball team during World War II, “Miss Congeniality” about an FBI agent who learns the true beauty in herself and in beauty pageants, “Legally Blonde” about a persevering woman and her dream to be a lawyer, “Girl Rising” about young women around the world doing incredible things, “The Help” about African American women’s fight in the South during the sixties, and even Disney movies like “Mulan” or “Pocahontas”. Despite incredible messages, these gems of cinema lie in the shadows, just like women do in society. We need to look to them as sources of inspiration as we continue in this fight.

 

Music can deliver revolutionary messages if we truly listen. When people think of women artists, they will usually think of Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Adele, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood, etc. These are great role models for us, but what about the ones who might be more in the shadows yet have powerful voices? Not many know Alessia Cara, yet one of her songs entitled “Scars to Your Beautiful” tells women to be proud of who they are and that there is true beauty in everyone. Daya’s song “Sit Still, Look Pretty” tells us of the awful positions that society places women and encourages all of us to break free of those bonds and write our own stories. Then there are the classics. Who can ever forget Aretha Franklin’s iconic “Respect”? Gloria Gaynor gave so many women hope with “I Will Survive”. I do have to give the more popular artists credit, because they gave us some of the best songs for women empowerment. Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” and “Grown Woman” among others, Katy Perry’s “Roar” and “Firework”, Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful”, Alicia Key’s “Superwoman” and “Girl on Fire”, Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger”, are just a few examples of songs that give us confidence and make us proud. Although many songs out there  may not place the same value on women, these songs and others give us hope that women can be confident, strong, respectable, equal members in society.

 

Whether we turn to history, movies, music, or the people around us as sources of inspiration to continue this war of one half of the population against another, we all must find hope somewhere. This hope must drive us forward, cause us to pick up posters and march, make us want to spread our message, and finally claim our position as equal members of society along with men. There is always the light of hope in the darkness, and this hope is not only for our cause, but it is our cause. We, the women, are hope for the future. We must break free of the shadows that have kept us in the dark for so long, so that we may shine our bright lights at once openly and forever.

 

   

 

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1 Comment

One Response to “The Bright Lights in the Shadows, Invisible to So Many”

  1. Shayla Bartoli on February 3rd, 2017 9:30 am

    Very well written and inspiring!!

    [Reply]

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The Ursuline Chronicle:The student news magazine of Ursuline Academy
The Bright Lights in the Shadows, Invisible to So Many