Equality

How Black Panther Changed Me

And you don’t have to be a fan of super heroes to relate.

Equality. True equality.

In the movie Black Panther I saw what that looked like.

It wasn’t remarkable that the king’s general was a woman. Or that all the solders who protected the king happened to be women. There were men in the army too. It wasn’t about making the statement of an all-female army.  

Or that the head scientist, for the make-believe country of Wakanda, was a woman. In fact, in the Marvel universe, she is the smartest scientist there is.

That’s what I loved about it.

There was nothing remarkable or noteworthy that these powerful roles are filled by women.

It was normal.

Powerful, smart women are normal.

Women and men are equals.

I’m 57-years-old. I absolutely did not grow up in a world where women and men were equals. Men were superior. Until the women got angry enough, then they painted the picture of women being superior to men.

Most of the stories in books and Hollywood show men (usually white) as being smarter and more powerful. In cases where a woman plays that role, it’s often seen as unusual or remarkable that “a woman did that.”

Think about Erin Brockovich. Definitely a she-ro and shocking because a woman blew the whistle on the power company. A sexy woman even. One of my other favorites was the recent Wonder Woman movie. She’s fabulous. She comes from a culture of all women. Then joins a man’s world at war. She’s the only woman. The men are constantly surprised by all she can do. Surprised by her power.

What I saw that was so fresh and so astounding in Black Panther was a world where men and woman stood side-by-side. They honored each other’s talents and strengths.  

A world where equality was normal.

It inspired me to drop bits of "diminishment" that still creep up in me. The little voice that questions, can I be successful? Can I create the life I dream of? Can I make the impact in the world I want to make?

Naturally, I would never say, out loud to a friend (or anyone else) that I question whether I can achieve those things because I am a woman. When I say it out loud, I hear the foolishness of the statement. I would never tell my daughters, granddaughters, or any other woman, that she is limited in what she can achieve because she’s a woman! Ridiculous!

And yet, when you’ve grown up with that message being delivered to you by family, friends, the church, Hollywood, books and our culture, it sinks in and takes hold in many ways.

My question to you is this, how have you let being a woman hold you back? I don’t care if it’s a tiny thing. It may be a huge thing. It may be many things.

Let’s agree to stop.

No one else can give us the power to stop. We give it to ourselves. It’s giving yourself permission to shine. To be the highest expression of yourself possible and leave your gender out of the equation.

I’d love to hear about the small and large ways you’ve held back. The ways you’ve diminished yourself or limited yourself and how you are giving yourself permission to break through those barriers!

As for me, after seeing Black Panther, I set a new financial goal for myself. It felt so empowering and freeing to step into a higher expression of myself in my relationship to my finances.

Give yourself permission today! The world needs you to be the highest expression of yourself. There’s no truer definition of Living Lavishly!

We Should All Be Feminists

Dior made a t-shirt and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote a book declaring, "We Should All Be Feminists." I have a t-shirt, okay, not the $700 Dior version, but none-the-less, it makes the point, "We Should All Be Feminists" and I love wearing it.

Of course, once I have it on I forget I'm wearing a statement. A belief.

Until someone stops me and makes a comment. What kinds of comments do I get?

Happily, I can report, all the comments have been positive. Usually a quick, "I love your t-shirt" or, "You're right! We should be!" I love it!

The interesting thing is, it's been almost entirely men who I get the compliments and comments from. Usually, younger men in their 20's or 30's. A sign of changing times, in my mind, until my latest experience.

Recently, I was in Paris and wore the t-shirt on my flight home. While I was waiting in US Customs, upon my return to Philadelphia I received the only two comments I got all day. I had already spent a couple of hours wondering around the Charles De Gaulle airport, spent eight hours on a crowded flight, nothing, not one comment. I totally forgot I was wearing it.  But, as I was wondering through the line for US Customs I had two different people say how much they loved it.

Both compliments came from white men in their mid-60's. How cool is that! To me, it's a sign of the most significant change possible. The kind of change that affects the heart of the person who benefits from the old system. The small gesture of two men, who have enjoyed the privileges of that system, letting me know they support feminism. It moved me to tears.

Thank you to all the men (and women and those who don't identify with a specific gender) who are willing to step away from the old system and embraces what the dictionary says a feminist is: Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.