HerCampus UWG, the local chapter of a national magazine written exclusively by college women, partnered with the Lambda Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. (SGRho) to host a women’s empowerment discussion panel on Feb. 19.
The discussion panel took place in the TLC from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and featured four speakers: Amari Morrison, HerCampus UWG President; Deijah Atkins, HerCampus UWG Vice President; Cherith Moore, National Pan-Hellenic Council Vice President; and Christie Nance, International Second Grand Anti-Basileus for SGRho. The two main topics discussed at the open-forum event were self confidence and self love.
“With self confidence, it is about knowing your worth and knowing who you are intended to be. There is only one you,” said Moore. “With self love, you have to love yourself first before anyone else can. And you have to do the things you love in order to achieve that self love that you want.”
The world has come a long way in terms of women’s rights. But there are still some inherent aspects of 21st century culture that encourage women to compete and tear each other down. Social media trends pit women against each other to see who can be best. Who can post the most appealing pictures? Who does this dance the sexiest? And who just doesn’t make the cut?
In many ways, it creates a toxic culture where people aren’t human. Humans are only images on a pixelated canvas of unhealthy comparison. It is important that women build each other up despite societal pressure to conform. And it is imperative that each and every person love themselves first.
“The event itself was eye opening for me because it made me realize that we as women have a lot of work to do to better ourselves,” said Morrison. “And this is the first step to breaking down a copious amount of barriers. We need to destroy the stigma that women often put each other down rather than help each other because of our own insecurities. Once we achieve that, it will open opportunities for us to work together as women.”
The event also emphasized a growth mindset. People have to start by looking at themselves to pursue growth. Once that process occurs, people can bring their growth into a group. If everyone brings their own personal growth into society, then there is hope for drastic change in the current culture as a whole.
“We thought it was a great idea to share a few messages on how powerful women are capable of being and how we have to take of ourselves at the same time in order to pursue growth,” said Moore.
There is a stigma that when someone puts themself first they are narcissistic and selfish. The panel discussion addressed this issue by stating that self love is a desirable characteristic and not one of greed. When individuals put themselves first, they are better suited to help others. Therefore, self love is not selfish but is selfless. The panel also discussed the ways that people’s environments can impact their self concept negatively.
“Sometimes if you are surrounded by people who don’t support you, they can hinder the growth and well-being of yourself,” said Moore. “Surround yourself with positive individuals who support and care about you and that can help your self-confidence as well.”
This concept was poetically portrayed in a Will Smith video played at the panel meeting. Smith spoke of how many individuals look to others to determine their own self concept, and it isn’t healthy.
“It’s kind of like looking into a broken mirror,” said Smith. “And then you change your face to try to look good in this defiled, busted, broken mirror.”
All individuals can get caught in this trap of deception and lies, but it can especially impact women because of this culture full of facades, sexualizations and the empty satisfaction of outward beauty.
The largest takeaway is that women need to learn to support each other to foster an environment of personal and societal growth.
“We have to work harder to be successful in our lives,” said Moore. “I think this is why some women feel the need to compete amongst each other because we push ourselves to be the best. However, that isn’t what it should be. We should all support one another no matter what.”