This Women's Day, The Edition explores themes of sisterhood, friendships between women and inspirational female bonds.
The media hasn’t always been kind to women. Stories on silver screens are especially unkind in their depiction of sisterhood. For years and years, women have been reduced to sexual beings, objectified and minimized to a mere fraction of their existence, female friendships reduced to a mess of drama and spite.
Although the overall presentation of women has certainly begun to change, there is a long, long way to go before collective television, online or print, accurately represents what lasting female friendships can accomplish.
Regardless of what Hollywood would have us believe, female friendships have always been a pivotal part of society. Even in the Maldives, whether it is little girls plaiting each other's hair or climbing trees when busy mothers were looking elsewhere, or teenage years when sharing clothes and other niceties are commonplace - females do more than ‘idle gossip’.
Girls and women share experiences and learn from each other in a far more intimate manner than most men do, with lesser social boundaries. Growing older, many women go on to raise their babies together, developing new connections through their children whilst effectively shaping the future of our world. These friendships are stories that hardly ever get told, and get the credit that they deserve.
As we explore such tales, it is necessary to recognize that there are many prevailing factors that actively create and foster friction in otherwise deeply meaningful relationships. From a shortage of choices deemed acceptable, and under the weight of various other burdens, there is much that seeks to pit women against one another.
Despite little to no laws preventing women from pursuing what they want, there are issues that plague society, which also hold women back from attaining the full potential of who they are meant to be. One strong factor is the subservience many women display in judging one another, based on predefined values by an outdated patriarchy, that in fact serves no one but the very elite.
Yet, a shift in tide occurs when women continue to stand together, to support one another and to celebrate humanity and femininity in all its glorious forms. It is not to stand against a man, but to stand as equals together, women of all denominations alongside their male counterparts.
Over the last decade, displays of such togetherness have become more frequent than ever before. The world stands witness as hundreds and thousands of women raise their hands in support of each other, standing tall as they defend the collective rights of the female sex.
Consider the MeToo movement, or BlackGirlsMatter, the repealing of archaic laws repressing female victims in countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan and Tunisia, as well as major breakthroughs for women’s rights across Africa and Southeast Asia; thanks largely to these recent developments, women everywhere have emerged stronger.
Iconic feminist activist Gloria Steinem declared last year, “I have never seen this much activism in my life”. Indeed, it is a wonderful time to be a woman.
It is no secret that women make up 49.5 percent of the world’s population. Even in these isolated tropics, as many as 43 percent of all Maldivians are beautiful, amazing women (Census 2014).
Thus it stands to reason, that if women stand together, and celebrate each other, then equality of all forms is absolutely attainable. That does not necessarily mean that women are seeking to do all that men do, that means that women will be equally appreciated for what that they do, that women will not be held back from making their own choices, and designing their own futures. Surely, an end to abuse and discrimination is only the beginning of what female energy can achieve.
So here's a shout out to fantastic females from the Maldives, who support each other, and celebrate womanhood in the best way, every single day.
To women, all colours and sizes, from all backgrounds and beliefs, born with an inherent right to make a choice that is true to who she is - Happy Women’s Day.
So ladies, please appreciate each other, be kind to one another and celebrate womanhood. Nurture one another and flourish together.
Your time has come.