Women. Where\’s the power behind each of us? By Liz Lugo

Some weeks ago, social media, especially Instagram, exploded with the B&W #challengeaccepted photos until some questioned the truth behind the movement.  To this day, so many people, including recognized news media and magazines, continue to debate the origin of it – whether if it’s in support of women empowerment or in support of Turkish women.  I believe it’s important to fully understand the concept of what women empowerment means. 

How/when do you feel empowered?  or, if you’re a man, how/when do you feel a woman is empowered?

Fighting for equality in a professional level, for me, feels empowered, especially in the entertainment industry where many make you feel it’s an industry for “men\” and you have no chance of being a Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro or Michael Bay.  What we can achieve to obtain equal payment, opportunities, and respect, and to show the world we’re capable, to show ourselves we’re capable – feels awesome, but the goal shouldn’t be to only focus on a professional level.  Women empowerment also includes women supporting women, which it\’s the other hashtag people are using for this challenge.



Many can\’t see the connection between these two focuses behind the B&W challenge, and choose to keep debating the origin of it as if it\’s super important, as if we have to choose one.  And while we focus on that, we forget that they (society) call us (women) so many things. The world keeps moving and calling us.  

Housekeepers, directors, producers, screenwriters, novelists, artists, poets, social workers, doctors, scientists, stylists, musicians, engineers, waitresses, secretaries, architects, dentists, psychologists, psychiatrists, teachers, professors, designers, policewomen, chefs, lawyers, cashiers, business women, athletes, soldiers, pilots…  Mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins, friends, partners, neighbors…

Loyal, kind, humble, strong, leader, happy, positive, committed, classy, ambitious, passionate, fierce, smart, brave, empathetic, open-minded, sweet, comprehensive, supportive, respectful, honest, determined, capable, rare, gem, clever, candid, funny, light, careful, selfless, dreamer, fighter, amazing, independent, powerful, responsible, inspiring, trustworthy, genuine, real…

But, unfortunately, there’s a part of society that still looks at women as the weaker sex, as if there has to be one.  And they call us…

Naive, insecure, submissive, unqualified, powerless, lame, dumb, fragile, incompetent, dependent, vulgar, whore, insane, ridiculous, dramatic, ugly, too fat, too skinny.  For expressing ourselves. For showing emotions, our vulnerability. For being afraid of walking alone, being harassed. For wanting to feel desired, that we are worthy, even when we express our sexuality – to be beautiful, to feel feminine and demand respect, equality. When we protest with our soul to get justice, a change, rights… people tell \”they protest because they have nothing else to do, and they want attention.\” Sometimes they even point at our home, cataloging it full of violence just for demanding things that society doesn\’t want to understand… just for not being cowards. If they knew we are happy when we let ourselves BE and ignore the HOLD society puts on us.

But they keep calling us… assuming they know us, ignoring we’re all different but still, we’re creatures full of passion.

Calling us… liars, unscrupulous, false, objects. They blame us. And they trample us, they hit us, they rape us, they KILL us. They throw us away as if we’re nothing. And those alive, live thinking how lucky we are because we haven’t gone through that or it happened but “at least we breathe, we are healthy.\”  They call us victims of a misogyny society, and just because of that everything is fine for them – why can’t we change?  Sometimes they just make fun of us… without even understanding the seriousness of what we live, calling us and pointing at us. If we are too good, we are \”too good to be true\” and they create flaws that don’t exist only to feed an ego, to feel they’re right – without even knowing us, it’s easier for them.  If we\’re victims of monsters, we\’re trash.  It doesn\’t matter how beautiful inside (and out) you are, it doesn\’t matter the treasure they could have in front of them – they will always prefer someone that would tear their heart apart.  Because–

They don’t believe us.  Sometimes they do, but they victimize us. They tag us. They stereotype us.  They assume many things, especially that we’re weak, damaged.  They don\’t risk.  They find pleasure in destroying, most of the time people who already feel destroyed.

The world burns.  The hearts melt.  And they keep debating the origin of a challenge.  Yes, you read well, a social media post vs lives.  As if pain and fear were exclusive of one.  As if darkness was just for rape victims.  As if one of the subjects is better than the other or have more importance.  As if what it\’s right is the fact that we should shut up and keep ignoring.  Ignoring a world that treats us like objects, that destroys us, that kill us.  Ignoring that we are all human.  We all desire, feel, love, cry, miss, fail, achieve… The sad part, some of those people are women.  The good news, some of the people that support women equality, and respect, are men.  *(notice that whenever I refer to “they” I’m speaking about society in general, not targeting men).

I am proud of and admire people who keep going, who achieve their dreams and goals, set new ones, new challenges… but, at the same time, they push others, they extend a hand, they listen, try to comprehend, to be there, to FIGHT, even when the battles are not them (directly).  People who want to make a difference, to change the world.  This, for me, it\’s the other side of #womenempowerment and #womensupportingwomen (and, of course, men supporting women).  These hashtags, this B&W challenge must include the SUPPORT to victims and FIGHT against domestic violence, verbal abuse, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, rape, femicide (among other subjects).  Why are we even debating this?

How is it possible that we\’re in 2020 and people, especially some women, keep pointing, blaming, ignoring?  They uploaded a B&W photo, and spent the rest of their time commenting on the news of a lady who was raped by five men… stuff like  \”because of the hour, because of the clothes, because of the number of men she was with, because she provoked them, because she was drinking, because of the way she met them, because her eyes are deep, she\’s sexy, because of… because of… because of…\” and after that, “let me edit this pic, upload the best one, and show the world how strong I am, show them that I’m better than a man.”

NO.  You are a coward.  Power is often hidden in the actions we take to change a life, to help others, to uplift, not to destroy.  Happiness is not found, and will never be, in the places where we have to fake an identity to obtain a false power, to live a false life.  And to add, women empowerment must not be about being better than men, but equal.

“What a beautiful body you have, with that brain of yours.” Be a jeva in every way.  The heart matters much more than the physical.

I am an advocate for victims.  Debating this kind of stuff it\’s only a waste of time and the chance to make a change.  Stop focusing on the wrong side – a social media post and a caption.  It’s not about that.  It’s a matter that, whether you like it or not, includes ALL of us, women – and also children, teens, even men.  And the issue with ignoring is that, indirectly, you are supporting. Every moment you turn your gaze to the other side, every moment you shut up, these things keep happening to such an extent that every day will get worse.  Perhaps yesterday it happened to that lady, raped by five men… but, perhaps, tomorrow can be you or someone close to you, being raped by one, two, three, and then slash, your heart stops for real or metaphorically speaking.  Life is unexpected, and all the excuses some people expose to justify a wrong behavior are only to keep justifying a misogyny society and the power some men want to “keep.”  Don’t point at anyone, don’t judge.

Celebrate and be proud of your empowerment in a professional level, but also personal.  Keep fighting.  

This is not only a Turkish issue; it’s a global matter!  But even if it was, they\’re our sisters, we feel what they feel.  Be empathetic.  I am not a mother, but I want to be, someday.  This is not the world I want for my children, or your children, or any kids, any teens, any woman or man.  Is this what you want?  Change born from within ourselves, from the bottom until finally shows results.  Let\’s make society understand that we also feel, and we want to feel loved, desired, sexy.  We have the right to be respected as men are, to be touched only when we want, by who we want.  Let\’s make society understand to not touch any children under any circumstances.  Let\’s make them understand that our true power is behind what we do to change the world, to make a difference in someone’s life. To stand with the women in Turkey, in Puerto Rico, USA, Canada, around the world. To stand with the children, with the men who are also victims in some way or another.  Let’s start blaming the attackers.  Let’s support the victims.

Women empowerment includes so much more and it’s deeper than two hashtags. Let’s not divide. Let’s focus on making this place a better one.


Liz would like to dedicate these poems to some ladies she loves so much 💙 You’re all an inspiration, a light 🌹


Close My Eyes


I close my eyes,

imagine,

as she narrates.


How could someone put a hand

on anyone who doesn’t desire him?


Jolts.

I try not to open

my eyes.

Imagine.


“Kiss me

as you kissed him.”

Pleasure for him,

power in his veins.


It’s all about him.

Even when she’s crying.

She let go.

She prays to God…


“Please, make him stop,

please, make him come.”

As she looks at the wall,

and tears fall.


He moans, smiles.

The world is his.

In his mind —

he had

what was never his.


He looks at her,

devastated,

putting her clothes on.

He pushes her on the bed,

calling her —

“a whore.”


He leaves.

I keep my eyes closed,

imagine.

Waiting for an apology,

an excuse —

we all know will never come.


She’s pure and secure,

a treasure, a gem;

why her?

Did she die?

He slew her!

Straight to her heart.


I open my eyes,

to her reality.

Broken, whimsical eyes.

But still a shine.

I look at her, smile.

She’s physically well,

what a blessing

to be alive,

to breathe.


Reborn.

A new soul.

He changed her.

Fears, darkness,

insecurities,

feeling less.


Now someone else

gives her goosebumps,

nearby.

So close,

desiring his lips

on hers.


She runs away.

Not because all are the same —

that’s bullshit

some people invented.

But he’s the sweetest,

as she’s in pieces.


What if she wouldn’t

ran from his arms?

What if she wouldn’t

fear to show how

strong she was?


I look at her now.

She’s different,

fierce,

a unique spark —

that woman is fire!

She’s always one step ahead.

Patiently knowing where to stay,

when to leave,

but always stronger,

fighting for people like her.


The Wind Whispered


She cried

The sheets were

her best friend.

Curtains blocked

the blaming—

the room was safe.


So much noise.


“That woman is trash,”

“she provoked him,”

“you will never have anything nice,”

“It’s on you, piece of garbage,”


Tears kept the place wet,

as she cried

without hope.


And every time

a spark on her soul

smiled —

dimples,

she has the most

beautiful smile.

Vulnerable,

the shine vanished

when memories triggered

what happened.


She knew she’s worthy

but all was hidden

in a deep blue sea,

where only she seemed

to know was there.

“So stupid,

he could never

love her,

she’s not enough.”


Not enough,

for someone 

she could love.


She left…

As she kept crying.

Dreaming about him,

fantasizing with him.

A kiss on her forehead,

a whisper near her cheek.

Sweet kiss, before a bite

on her neck.


Hoping for someone,

a hug, a sweet caress

all over winter to fall.

Hoping for those eyes

that would melt her heart.


But the world was there

remembering her —

how trashy they were.

Four walls, blackness —

how could he love her,

pure?

how could he choose her,

secure?


The world was in silence,

but her soul was on fire.

She yelled, cried.

Mad at herself,

mad at life.

Thoughts and shit

all over her head.

“Why her?

She didn’t deserve it!”


And the years passed,

she healed.

But society still points

at victims like her —

“Those are damaged,

run from traumas.”

She laughed,

“everyone has baggage!”


Fear, insecurities —

need to feel safe,

to be loved,

to be desired,

to be touched

and respected,

to be chosen,

to be the only one.


We are all the same.


“Take me,

make me yours,

just ‘cause I want.”


“Love me,

my skin is yours.

Touch me,

soft and strong;

my soul burns

with yours.

Take me by the waist,

down my hips –”


“Make love to me.

Have sex with me;

sweet and savage,

moan.

Day. Night.

Let me enjoy

what I haven’t

experienced with anyone—

I choose you.”


The wind whispered.

She learned

what a treasure

she is—

and all she deserves.

The shore embraced

the tears.

The fire consumed

the fears.

She stopped crying

for herself.

She keeps crying

for those shattered.

 

Liz Lugo is a bilingual poet originally from Puerto Rico. She’s a microbiologist, editor, and short stories writer, and founder of the Smaeralit collection.  Currently, she’s in her thesis for her master’s degree in Professional Screenwriting.  Liz is multilingual in English, Spanish, Italian, and is learning ASL.

She recently wrote and directed her second horror short film, Run, Hide, Pray. She has an extreme fascination for comics/graphic novels as well as to write Horror, Sci-Fi, Psychological Thriller, and Post-apocalyptic stories. Doesn’t matter the genre she works with; her projects are identified by promoting real and liberal stories that have an impact on today’s society.  She also enjoys comedy, documentaries, westerns, foreign films.

Liz’s committed to the following causes: sexual harassment/abuse, rape, femicide, animal cruelty, human rights, mental health, among others. She’s obsessed with dogs, sunsets, dusks, and the moon, and enjoys to cook, new adventures, music, dance, exercise, and watch her latest addiction: Ultimate Tag.

“Dream the impossible and you’ll get the unexpected.” LL ♥

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