Feminists, Young Women Will Not Listen If You Scream

My daughter – Abigail

Not Their Mother’s Life

One thing that I have learned as a mother is not to attempt to rule or live my daughter’s life for her. On a scale of 1 – 10, one being showing distinct criminal tendencies and 10 being an angel, my daughter would get an eight.

The thought of going to prison, especially as she visited a couple during my professional tour of duty – let us say – and had many opportunities to sit and chat with several of the residents in The Big House, was not appealing to her in the least. On top of which, my daughter is basically a coward. She will absolutely hate me for that comment.

Despite her quiet, calm and even very charming nature, she is a tough cookie, especially with me. You would have to be one if you are my child actually. Abigail is and when she turned 18 years of age, she made her position quite clear – that she is in charge of her life.

We Can Guide Them – Then Let Them Go

Observing her now as a mother, a manager and a partner, I can see her living out many of the lessons that were imparted to her in her younger years by my then partner and I. Also very vivid are the lessons she learned along the way from her lived experiences and that of her close friends. What I have come to appreciate watching her is – young women today have their own method of learning. They also have their own lessons to learn. As such, when Abigail and I get together, I listen more than I speak, allowing her to air her thoughts, ask me questions or for my opinion on a matter. We believe they should read articles found at my little pleasure in order to help them gain confidence and understand themselves better!

As a mother, a womanist (deeply rooted in the racial and gender oppression of black women”), a teacher, a no-nonsense communicator and coach, I have had to learn to let my daughter be. The fact that I am older and have more life experiences than her does not matter in our relationship. This very valuable lesson has helped me in my relationship with younger women on a whole. I speak when I am spoken to and answer only when they ask me a question directly. My opinion is no longer offered but given only when requested. Once given, then it is up to the young woman to make her choices. This has saved me many headaches, from many instances of frustration and disillusionment.

Naomi Wolf, the times have changed
Naomi Wolf, the times have changed

Ms Naomi Wolf, You Best Learn This!

The much respected Naomi Wolf would have done herself a favour had she called me up before making her statement about young women and their “vocal fry.” Admittedly, I had no clue what what the term “vocal fry” was until this uproar over Ms Wolf’s statement. I have heard it, wondered about it and have been silently annoyed and amused by it. According to one of the articles that I read on the uproar, Ms Wolf wrote an op-ed for the Guardian and,

She wrote that vocal fry β€” which is often described as “baby talk” and associated with female celebrities like Britney Spears and the Kardashians β€” undermines women’s voices, making them sound less competent, less trustworthy, less educated and less hireable. She encourages women to drop the fry.” (Read more)

While I get where Ms Wolf was coming from and agree that this “vocal fry” is annoying, it is their business. When women such as Ms Wolf were burning their bra, so to speak, marching for women’s rights and they were told that their behaviour was unbecoming a woman, did it stop them? [tweetthis]Naomi Wolf, leave the girls alone, they will learn in their own time.[/tweetthis]

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Clearly it did not otherwise the Britney Spears, Kardashians and all the young women of today frying their vocals would not have the right to be heard much less seen as so many are today – booty and all. It is their right – whether us feminists, womanist, puritans or even some millennium women like it or not.

Betrayal of Feminism?

I can hear the cry that young women today do not understand the struggles of the past, the battles women fought for suffrage, higher education, birth control and all the liberties they enjoy today. Ms Wolf and anyone who says that you might be very wrong.

Certainly there are young women who do not. They cannot imagine a time when these “freedoms” were not an inalienable right. Their imagination refuses to run back to a time when women could not, should not or would not behave, speak or even be seen in certain ways.

However, annoying as it might sound, to suggest that ending one’s sentence with a rising intonation is discrediting young women in the workplace, causing them to be disrespected is such hogwash. I am sorry but Ms Wolf it is.

Elitist Feminists
Elitist Feminists

See, this points to a bigger pet peeve of mine, one that this blog is largely dedicated to countering – fundamentalism. When my chaplaincy supervisor suggested to me that I might be suffering from liberal fundamentalism back in 2005, she might as well have slapped me in the face. Thankfully, I have always been the sort of person to listen to feedback and process it before coming to a final position – mine. This ability and tendency to think for myself is what led me to back away from religious institutions, turn away spiritual people who believe that they have found the sole path to nirvana, political rhetoric AND elitist feminists.

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At the risk of being rude, old school feminist must understand that this is a new age, with new methods and new lessons. Being prescriptive if you are not a physician is never the best approach. As my daughter has taught me, share the fundamental principles and allow people, including our young women to determine how best to apply them to their current situations. Eventually they will sort the fluff – like we did.

Help Them, Not Berate Them

What are some of those fundamentals? Well, it starts with our parenting and our modelling of womanhood that is sure in herself and confident of her humanity. Then there are the “practical” lessons in:

  1. Loving themselves and expressing themselves as their spirit calls them to. It might not look as it did when we were in our 20’s or 30’s but it is their way.
  2. Knowing that they hold the key to their happiness; that it is an inside job and the path to it is paved with what makes their heart sings and no one, not even their parents or partner should hold that key.
  3. Honoring their worth , understanding that it is not measured by their dress length, their waist size or the thickness of their lips but rather by what they have within and use in service and support to their children, their families and the world.

Everything else is fluff.

That, my dear Ms Wolf and any other feminist who thinks that today’s young women have betrayed the cause or themselves for that matter, are the lessons that I taught my daughter, then I learned my most important lesson about young women – Leave them alone, let them make their mistakes and learn their life lessons.

And, by the way, Abigail does not speak with a “vocal fry.”



Want to learn more about living life as you want, respecting yourself and honoring your worth – vocal fry or not – then sign-up for my course at The Spiritual Centre, Learn It Live! Sessions starts in August so book your spot today and get a 50% discount!

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34 thoughts on “Feminists, Young Women Will Not Listen If You Scream

  1. […] might have read a post of mine in which I mentioned my ‘falling out’ with the term feminist? A large part of the reason for that has to do with the attitude and presentation of modern-day […]

  2. […] feminist movement remains alive and well, enough, however, it has lost its radical appeal to many Millennial women who have more nuanced issues that they are living through. No longer is the “struggle” […]

  3. So true,
    at some point you have to learn to let go. As hard as that may be.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Indeed, one has to – if only for your peace of mind. Namaste. πŸ™‚

  4. Feminism is something I don’t take much time thinking about. But I guess those in countries where women’s rights are not enjoyed, I bet they always think about it every single day.

    1. Ms Claudette

      You might be surprised that more thought is given to “feminism” in the countries where it is supposedly “enjoyed” in more like the US and Canada as examples. Namaste. πŸ™‚

  5. Wendy

    Loved your comment not giving advise till asked. My mother and I went thru that for a while. I don’t do it because of how much it bothered me when she did it. Not just to me but others.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Yes, isn’t life grand? It teaches you the best lesson through your greatest annoyances! LOL. I am still challenged some times to shut my mouth and when I hear myself about to launch off with advise, I pull up the brakes!!! LOL. Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

  6. This is a great post. I have three daughters and I am constantly worrying about them knowing their worth and loving themselves. Sometimes I am surprised by how many of their peers do not.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I am too – surprised how many young women today do not know their rights and how far we have come. When they ask me “what should I do,” I am happy to share. There are young women today in abusive relationships – not necessarily physical – and they don’t recognise it for what it is. I am tempted to pull them aside and give them a share but, I hold off and keep my hands to my sides. With the pervasiveness of the Internet in their lives, I can only hope that they come across conversations like this – as this is how many of them will be reached.

  7. I have a lot of opinions and am quick to offer advise, but only when asked and then only if I have something valid to say.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Yup, way to go. People will not hear you, particularly if you’re screaming unsolicited advice at them. Best wait for them to fall on their butts and then ask you for help and even then, it’s not wise to be offering what they don’t ask for or what is irrelevant in the particular moment. One woman who I admire in many ways once said, there is no point preaching Jesus first when the person has in major pain – give them a painkiller first then deal with whatever else later when they are ready to hear that. And she is a major evangelist. Did I just give advise without being asked? My bad! LOL. Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

  8. There are definitely some lessons you don’t learn until you look back on your actions. I definitely think it’s better to guide them.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I fully agree! Have a beautiful weekend! πŸ™‚

  9. Elizabeth O.

    I have to admit I am one of those who love to offer advice. I am seriously working on keeping quite and speaking only when asked for some advice.

    1. Ms Claudette

      It’s great to be honest! LOL. I was like that myself until I learned and fully understood that each of us have our own way and time of learning. Namaste

  10. I love what you said about your opinion not being offered but it is given only when requested. A lot of people have the habit of giving unsolicited advice.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Hard-learned lesson my dear, hard lesson. πŸ™‚

  11. I had not heard of vocal fry. But I can’t blame Britney and Katie Perry since it working for them.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Exactly! Why try to dictate to someone how they should think, be or speak for that matter, particularly as they seem comfortable and as you said, it’s working for them! Live and let live! πŸ™‚ Thanks for your comment!

  12. I’d never heard the term “vocal fry” before. Even though I can’t stand the way some celebrities talk, it obviously works for them. It’s a silly thing to focus on in regards to feminism.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Very silly and bordering on dictatorial. Today’s world will require a different approach to achieve gender equality. I watch my daughter and the way she does some things is certainly not how I would have. But guess what? It’s working for her and her relationship!!! So, what do I do? Shut up!

  13. Thanks to you i know what a vocal fry aka baby voice. Help them not berate themselves especially like # 3 thanks for sharing.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Join the club dear! I didn’t know the term either! LOL! I guess that’s showing my age! Thanks for the comment πŸ™‚

  14. Help them but not berate them….these words are so true!

    1. Ms Claudette

      Happy that they resonated with you! πŸ™‚

  15. Bri

    Help them not berate them is such an important concept to live by. We all will travel life’s journey differently.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Precisely! Thanks for you comment. πŸ™‚

  16. I have 5 kids, my oldest is 10. It is SO hard to let go but I am learning to give in more and more even though it is heartbreaking.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I am so sorry to hear of you challenges with “letting go,” but it can be done. Incrementally but not impossible. Feel free to message me if I can support you in any way. Namaste πŸ™‚

  17. dltolley

    And neither do my girls! πŸ™‚

    1. Ms Claudette

      Why am I not surprised Dianne? They are your girls! πŸ™‚ Namaste

  18. “I speak when I am spoken to and answer only when they ask me a question directly. My opinion is no longer offered but given only when requested.” >> That, I believe is an important point for no matter who we are speaking to. Quite often people offer up their opinion\advice without ever being asked for it, and it can easily become a bad habit. We think we are helping, but maybe we are not.

    1. Ms Claudette

      You are so right! It is a lessons that more of us could take to heart. Namaste πŸ™‚

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