A problem with 'empowerment'

2015-02-09 17:18

Empowerment is a theme that I have managed to weave through almost all aspects of my life. Through joining an opposition party, building a youth development project out of nothing, as well as being an educator. I have chosen to try and be proof that you can have whatever you want in this life. No matter what your beginnings. Yet there is something about the term ‘empowerment,’ that leaves me unsatisfied.

Empowerment refers to the making powerful of a something that is not yet so. If it were already powerful, it wouldn’t need empowering. For instance, we have seen a lot of hype around feminism recently, which is nice enough. Feminism wants equality between the sexes and women empowerment is often drawn into feminist discourse.

It's worth asking whether the empowerment that women are forever seeking will forever be evading, in that women seek it. There seem to be certain rights that have had to be ‘given’ to disempowered  women such as the right to vote. However, is this really so? Perhaps these rights were ‘given’ but they could also very well have been taken.

If women are or disempowered; why is women empowerment up to those who disempower women in the first place? Is this reliance on the other, for empowerment, truely empowerment? Or is it just a postponement and pacification while women endure more of the same? Doesn't it assist this other in the campaign to alienate women from the awareness that they (women) are powerful?

Go and take what you want in life.

That seems a better adage than standing hat-in-hand waiting to finally be ‘let in.’

Empowerment seems more like an acknowledgement of weakness. Rather than a sincere paradigm shift. A shift that should happen in the paradigm of the disempowered first and foremost. Then, all else begins to take shape. Then, all that remains is you and the claims you lay on the life you want. Then, all that remains is you, self-actualising. Power.

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