I believe that all women are warriors. In the words of Master P, we are some “No Limit Soldiers”. However, there is a dichotomy between the warrior and the woman that must be expounded upon. Women are expected to be able labor emotionally and maintain femininity - which is WORK. Whether you are a corporate CEO or a stay at home mom, your labor is valuable, and you need to believe it! Every moment of every day, women war with the chatter and stigmas placed upon women.
In 1983, Arlie Hochschild, professor emerita of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, coined the phrase “emotional labor” in her book The Managed Heart. This term was initially used as a workplace term and referred to the need to keep your personal life at home when you got to work. I think this term has been expanded in the 21st century to encompass the pressure put on women to be:
strong and weak
smart, but not too smart
sexy, but not slutty
curvy, but not stomach
freaky, but not loose
natural, but like the models of tv
understanding, but not confrontational
anointed, but not more than… I’ll leave this alone
approachable, but taken
Here are just a few of the many ways that us women are expected to perform emotional labor without compensation or acknowledgement throughout our lives:
Women are asked to watch, entertain, or help take care of younger siblings, cousins, and other children more than men because people automatically assume that women must love kids and be naturally nurturing. If you’re a single auntie, family members perceive that you don’t have a life, so you can just give them your time because being husband-less means your time is not valuable.
Many people believe that women of distinction should provide the multitudes with the “secrets of God’s favor” in the name of asking to “pick our brains” with no pay or reciprocation in the name of “networking.”
Women are expected to take part in “heart to hearts,” “girls’ nights,” and other emotionally intensive occasions that we may or may not have the energy for or interest in. Remember, every woman is not a safe place. Church people will make you feel bad for not wasting your time with swine (Matthew 7:6).
When men explain things to us that we know as much or more about, they expect us to listen as if they are educating us in order to stroke their egos. I’m the “smile and nod” type, I’ll stroke the ego for the sake of femininity, but it gets tiring after a little while.
We feel pressure to avoid looking or acting too “masculine” out of fear that people will ridicule us, deem us undesirable or distrust our gender identity. Don’t swear, don’t have too much bass in your voice, make sure your hair is long and luscious, right?
Women are judged more harshly if we don’t keep our living spaces neat, succeed at cooking and other forms of homemaking, and do a great job entertaining guests.
We’re expected to grit our teeth and put up with disrespectful and objectifying behavior from men because “boys will be boys.” Try Jesus with this…. not me.
When we have children, we’re shamed for everything from how we give birth to how we feed them. Grandmother and Aunties believe that there opinion matters concerning YOUR baby.
When black women are angry, we risk being labeled as “angry black woman”. For other ethnicities, you’re labeled an “angry feminist”.
I’m happy to be a woman, but it’s exhausting. It’s so much pressure, ugh! As a woman who is fatherless, I feel lost most days. But, I’m expected to chop my father’s death up as a trial that has been overcome and move on to the next trial, give advice, be the giver because it's a new day, right? As a woman in ministry, I’m expected to be some sort of Heather Lindsey figure (I love her ministry) because of my testimony, but that’s not what God told me.
I don’t want a bunch of followers, attention, servants, maidservants, armorbearers, midwives (did I miss anything?) following me around. The only person that needs to be praised is YAHWEH. Don’t idolize me, I’ll fail you every time. I AM NOT GOD. I AM NOT A GOD. I am Dee, a beautiful mess. I still get hype when I hear "cash money records takin' over for the '99 & the 2000". I am a secret chef. I am a complete nerd. I'm completely lovable, but guarded because I know better. If I had it my way, I would be in obscurity, but my light is a beacon that God requires - so I stay lit.
I have watched women who aspire a measure of public success get 20 more Facebook likes than last year and suddenly think that they are social media influencers. Why? They think attention = promotion. WHY IS THAT WOMEN ARE FORCED TO BELIEVE THAT BEING SEEN AND LOVED BY THE MULTITUDES MEANS THAT YOU HAVE ARRIVED? There is a distinction that comes with being known by the king of kings. I remember standing in the middle of my room one day worried about my outfit. I was self-conscious about my clothes and the Lord spoke in this still small voice, "You're beautiful". I went to church that same evening, and during the service, five people walked up to me and said these exact words, "Hey! The Lord told me to tell you that you're beautiful".
I honestly believe that when women are raised as warriors in the wilderness (with the lions, tigers and bears, oh my), and they are not healed from the wounds from the wilderness, they make affirmation an idol because that have not made peace with their journey.
In the moments when I need reassurance, I think about that moment because God showed me that he sees me. The greatest honor is to be daughter that is seen by her heavenly father. Sis, don’t worry about the nations knowing your name, don't worry about being right, don't worry about the haters, just make you remember that you are seen and known by a God that loves you.
I honestly believe that when women are raised as warriors in the wilderness (with the lions, tigers and bears, oh my), and they are not healed from the wounds from the wilderness, they make affirmation an idol because that have not made peace with their journey. Sometimes, these women develop masculine tendencies because they have to fight so hard to gain ground. I’m not saying they are going to look manly, I just know what it’s like to fight so hard that when help comes from a man sent by God… you have to fight to rest. You forget to be graceful, because you're always on guard. You forget to let God handle it because the enemy doesn't fight fair. I've traded in my Proverbs 31 woman scripture for "Knuck if you buck" plenty of times. God is teaching me to war, but with new clothes. I've often thought about the "eagles and chickens" analogy when it relates to resolving conflict. In prayer, God has always shown me a seat and a large scepter. At first, I was ready to be Xena Warrior Princess until I realized that the weapon I saw in the spirit was just a prop.
Whether you are Christian or a wiccan, you don’t have any enough power to make someone like you.
The enemy wants to paint this picture of strong female prophets as "mean girls" so bad. I tried to explain myself, but then I lost interest in explaining myself to people who were committed to believing a narrative they like. If you haven't read my book, "God, I'm Disappointed", you should. I'm blatantly honest about certain parts of my journey with God revolving around unlearning the "mean girl" narrative. The only reason I still go to church is because God fought for me every time I gave up. The only reason why I still believe in ministry is because I'd been physically dead if God did not save me. The devil wanted to kill me from the inside out, and he used family, church members, and leaders in his agenda. My story isn't unique, I'm just alive to decree that the plans against this prophet of God did not succeed. Glory be to God.
Strong woman have to overcome obstacles that weak ones will never understand. Every woman I know has a story, some are more melodramatic than others, but all stories are valuable. You never know what someone had to overcome to get where they are, and guess what? They don’t owe you an explanation.
Whether you are Christian or a wiccan, you don’t have any enough power to make someone like you. If you admire the way another woman dresses, carries herself or raises her children - tell her. Then guess what? Pray for God to be a light unto your path concerning his plan for you. Being jealous of another woman’s favor will never grace you with more favor. You’ll end up looking stupid and delayed. Learn to embrace YOUR armor and leave everyone else's alone.
I think it’s hilarious when individuals that don’t know me describe me as being mean. Usually, it’s the same type of women. It’s the women were suppose to be walking with me, not fighting me. From my worldview, “mean girls” are conventionally offensive, selfish, and malicious. I’ve encountered my fair share of mean girls, and I made sure that I stayed in my lane. Between Jesus, my mom, my therapist, and my intercessors, I’ve become extremely confident in who I am, who called me and who I answer too. I looooovvvveeeeee people. Did you know that the the love of God will make you love your enemies? How can you say you love God and you despise his children (I’m fully aware that every human being does not want to be a child of God)? However, my love does not require me to lay down my discernment or give any of the pearls my mother bought me to swine. It took me a minute to be okay with women who don’t like me, but I wasn’t really free until I stopped allowing them to use when their in a rough patch, but then envy me when I’m blessed. Get it?
My squad is tight… and fine if I might add. One of my sisters didn’t start off as being my sister. In fact, she admits that she was a mean girl. Her testimony is amazing, but she went through so much hate and pressure in her personal journey, healing had to take place before we could connect. I remember wanting to connect with her, but I couldn’t understand why she didn’t like me. So, I ignored her… for years. It wasn’t until my adulthood that we reconnected. Do you know the first thing she did when she saw me after a few years? She acknowledged my success and then she apologized. I didn’t even think I was owed an apology! I accepted the fact that something about me triggered her, so I didn’t take it personal.
She told me that she was working through so many personal issues and that she was jealous. I couldn’t believe it! I’m like huh? Jealous of me? I had an ugly relaxer, no nails, no lashes, no swag, no nothing LOL. All I had was strong discernment and a song. I hugged her and told her that I forgave her and that I always looked up to her. In that moment, years of non-verbal tension disappeared. I was all teary eyed and everything! But our friendship is a testament to why I don’t take jealous and envy so personally - but I don’t allow it’s seed to take root in my heart either. Our bond grew out of our own healing. I'm not saying every disconnect deserves reconciliation, but I do believe that women have more in common with each other than we are willing to admit.
I don’t have this all figured out. l’ll admit that it’s has been a struggle, but I’m getting there. I’ll never lose my femininity or grace, that’s apart of my armor. Maybe God is asking us as women to war when it’s time, but too never step outside of being a daughter. The enemy is our adversary the devil, he uses people - but they are pawns. When you know your enemy, you war differently. When you dress for war as a woman, you come in the queen’s wardrobe. You come dressed in your heels, your curls, your pearls, your best outfit - and then you stand still. We break our heels and sweat out our blow out when we fight because that's not our assignment. Our assignment as women is to come dressed to a war that God is going to fight.
That’s the dichotomy of the woman and warrior.
What are your thoughts?