Man, I Feel Like a Woman

July 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

I just watched an interesting documentary series on the Canadian singer Shania Twain.   I found this series really fascinating!

Shania broke many records over her career, she was married to a preeminent music producer Mutt Lange, who after 14 years of marriage cheated on her with her best friend, ultimately ending their relationship.

After the collapse of her relationship, she essentially lost her singing voice and removed herself from the stage for many years. She completely lost her confidence.   Her insecurities, which had never really been healed since her childhood, were like a sleeping dragon that awoke when her marriage fell apart.

It is so interesting how many women, no matter how talented they are, continue to tie their success to a partner, and put their confidence,  talents and destinies into someone else’s hands.  When the relationship falls apart, their lives also fall apart.   Perhaps this is something that remains left over from the relationship patterns that have existed between men and women for centuries.

In many countries today, women are still owned by their husbands, or other male “guardians”, or there remain laws where men must sign or otherwise authorize a woman to travel outside her country, to work, or to drive.  In these scenarios, I believe women become beholden by obligations to their families while their state shows little regard for their individual indentities and destinies.  This is the most tragic thing that can happen to a human being.    Under these circumstances self-knowledge is very difficult to attain, because there is obviously a lack of freedom, self-exploration, choice, and sometimes even the reaslisation of our talents and gifts becomes impossible (things which I believe are given to us by a higher power, not to be squandered or disregarded!)

As Plato said, “the unexamined life is not worth living for (wo)man.”  how can we examine our own life when we do not even have ownership of it?

I love the adage that states “No woman is free until all women are free.”   We may think that in the west we are as free as it’s ever going to get, but many of us still place our self worth into someone else’s hands, whether it be our partner, our colleagues, or our culture.  We often down play, disregard or completely deny our talents.  As we free ourselves – not only on the societal level, but as we grow into an inner freedom also — we simultaneously make room for the freedom of others; we become  courageous roll models that the world needs now more than ever.

It was this courage of Shania Twain’s, to become her own hero, to reclaim her talents and worthiness, that the documentary followed.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that if we don’t really own our greatness, we won’t be able to protect it either.    We can see this with famous female singers like Brittany Spears or Lindsay Lohan.  Their talents have not been properly guarded by a healthy sense of self-love and self confidence.     A person is not going to protect what she has if she can not even  see the unique talents she possesses.   Perhaps this is why women have historically undersold themselves, received inequal pay for our equal work, deferred our talents to others, allowed others to take credit for our work, or allowed people to make money off our ideas. This is why we continue to be devalued when it comes to maternity leave, and why women’s work is still underpaid in comparison to jobs that are traditionally male.  I think in some areas we still lack the courage to be our own “keepers”.

Next time someone pays you a compliment, say, tells you you are talented or beautiful or that they have been touched or moved by something you have said or done, what would it be like to imagine that they are telling you the truth?  What would it be like if we fully embodied our talents, and believed in them?

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