Who is a woman today you deeply admire?
I was reading a parenting book when I read this seemingly innocuous question. The question seemed simple. After all, I have so many women in my life whom I deeply admire and aspire to be like “when I grow up” (when does that happen, by the way?). But out of curiosity, instead of beginning with women I knew, I started thinking of women I did not know personally, but are well known women in our society. Out of those women, which of whom do I deeply admire?
I decided to shelf my answer and I moved on to the next question. What I found was a bit of a twist:
Who is a woman today you would want your daughter to admire?
There’s no denying that women are a hot topic right now. To the lay person’s eye, lady bosses, warrior women, and inspirational female leads seem to be recurrent themes in today’s culture. But when it comes to the actual news, we often see the other side of the spectrum such as abuse of women, the exploitation of women, stories of their oppression, and the silencing of their voices. At the time of this writing, account after account of women are coming into the light about decades of mistreatment at the hands of a (then) powerful entertainment mogul.
Roughly making up almost half of the world’s population, women rightfully and undeniably have an invaluable place in this world. As the story goes, creation was not complete until Eve came along. Women, therefore, are the culmination of creation, the ultimate finishing touch to a job well done. Yes, women are, for lack of a better sweeping superlative, amazing. They are essential to humanity even though, as history has proven time and time again, often times they are treated far from their true infinite worth by both men and women alike.
In that light, the question the book posed to me seems to carry more consequence.
Who is a woman today I deeply admire?
As I began to put way more thought into this than I probably should have (which is par for the course for me in everything in life – ask my husband), I started to think of my answer in terms of what characteristics of a woman do I admire versus specifically just one woman.
As I mulled it over in my mind, I remembered something a dear friend had said a couple weeks back at a women’s group I attended. She said, “I am always drawn to women that are confident in themselves.” Yes. A confident woman. Essentially, a woman who knows her worth. And when a woman knows her worth, she knows other people’s, too. A confident woman knows her purpose, and therefore does not have to tear others down to reach it. She doesn’t need to lie or manipulate her way, because she is confident in her own abilities to achieve her purpose. She doesn’t need to belittle to make herself bigger. In essence, she is the true Wonder Woman of our day.
That’s the woman, you guys. That’s her. She’s the one I admire.
And as I look around, I see that woman all over. She may not be in the news, she may not be in the Wall Street Journal. But, she is everywhere. She is in the foxholes of everyday life. She may be running companies, departments, or even countries, but I tell you what, she is definitely running families and households. She is changing her community, encouraging those that need encouragement, and doing the thankless work that no one will ever see or perhaps even notice. She may be a lady boss with a bumper sticker and all, or she may not. She may be quietly giving her time and her very person to something greater than herself. Whatever she looks like in whatever capacity she is doing it, that confident woman? That selfless woman? That kind woman?
That’s who I admire. That’s who I would want my daughter to admire. And that woman is in every woman if we would just have eyes to see it and have the confidence to let her out.