by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 21 September 2007)
Traditionally, women are supposed to be as demure as possible in every setting. Society has made it clear that it would prefer a shrinking violet to a bold statement when it comes to the feminine half of the population.
Although men have always been applauded for being daring and even encouraged to push the proverbial envelope in order to explore the heights of human capabilities, when a woman shows even a tad bit of the same tenacity society frowns and tells her to settle down before she gets hurt.
There is no one in the world who can convince me that women are not as naturally daring as men. When I was a little girl, my younger brother and I loved to do stunts on our bicycles. We would build makeshift ramps from which we would jump several feet into the air. We would use those same bikes to race down flights of concrete stairs.
I never saw a swing set as merely a place to swing; I saw it as yet another vehicle by which I could discover a daring stunt to perform. The same was true for any playground that had equipment that would allow for climbing, jumping and hanging upside down like a circus performer.
One year after my older brother had passed away, my mother took my younger brother and me to spend some time with an auntie who lived in a small farming community. This created a whole new backdrop for us to explore on our bikes.
We found adventures around every corner - like a huge water reservoir that had 20-foot cliffs from which to jump and we found barn lofts that were just high enough to flip off into the piles of hay on the floor below.
Since I was the eldest child, I was the one who led the way to these adventures. We never flinch in the face of these escapades because we both had equally daring spirits. I was only about ten years old during our trip to the farming community, so no one had yet told me that I should calm down and “act like a young lady.”
When a family member finally suggested that I change my whole personality to become more sedate and reserved (which meant I should be less courageous and adventuresome), I was wholly offended. In fact, I was downright mad. No one had told my younger brother to calm down and stop being so daring.
To some extent I complied, but was always bitter for being forced to be someone other than the person I truly was. I know for a fact that I am not the only woman who has been coerced into curbing the daring part of her personality. I have talked to many other daring women who experienced this same frustration at varying levels.
Sometimes I feel as if women need someone to give them permission to be the person they really are deep down inside. Which is why I am always telling women that it is okay to let their intelligence shine (even in the presence of men). It is okay to have be an informed woman with strong opinions about important issues like politics and finances.
Moreover, just like it is it okay for women to be strong and intelligent, it is also okay for women to be daring too. Not only is it okay for strong, intelligent and daring women to exhibit these natural attributes - it is the best thing they could ever do for themselves and the rest of the world.
What good does it do the world for women to suppress these valuable aspects of themselves? In my opinion, it does the world nothing but great harm to suppress the best feminine assets available to humanity just to pacify the egos of a few insecure men.
If you are a woman, I dare you to be the person you have always known you were deep inside. To take this one step further, I dare you to be the person you have always dreamt of being.
I dare you to make a list of things you have always wanted to do and mark them off one by one as each is accomplished. I dare you to use your potential to its fullest extent to accomplish the goals you have always wanted to achieve. I dare you to set high goals.
I dare you to stop waiting on those around you to tell you it is okay for you to be daring. You do not need anyone’s permission to be gutsy. All you do need is to stop making excuses for hiding in the shadows. Girl, I dare you to be you.