By Melissa S.A.Nwagbo

TW: Eating Disorders

It’s March, a month that celebrates the history of women. And on the 8th it is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the achievements and aims of all women, no matter your ethnic background, religion or race. From mothers, sisters, teachers, women in stem to female politicians, and so on. And also our trans women, who are still fighting to be acknowledged and given the same rights as cisgendered women. We celebrate all of you and support you.

I could have written a whole article about historical women and how they made change, but there are already 100s of articles about that, I wanted to use this opportunity to write a love letter for today’s women. After all we are tomorrow’s history.

I have a guilty pleasure, even though I am an adult. On a day when I am not feeling too good, I grab as much junk food as I can and watch Barbie. It’s kind of an addiction. I mean Barbie has millions of fans, but if she only had one it would be me. After watching Princess and the Pauper, for like the 100th time, I started looking for more videos on Barbie’s YouTube and came across the sorry video. In the video, Barbie was talking about how women have the ‘sorry reflex’. She said,

“We get really excited and exuberant about something we are really excited about and then we instantly say sorry, like we are afraid of being too big, or, even if we are sad, we say sorry because we are worried about making someone else sad.”

That hit me, and I start to think about how as a woman, I let myself feel uncomfortable, just to make someone else comfortable. An example is when someone bumps into me, whether at the club, or just walking on the narrow sidewalk, I instantly say “sorry”. It was not my fault, but I say “oh sorry” or I squeeze myself to the corner, just so that they could have space. Another example is at the workplace, we watch men shout and storm off but when we have one little off day, including when we are on our period, we are told “you are being emotional”, so we say sorry and hide that pain.

Barbie continued to say in the video, “sorry, is a learned reflex, and every time we do it, we take away from our self-confidence.” Men tell us we are too emotional to run for office, so we say “sorry” and sit back down. They tell us “you’re too fat,” so we say “sorry” and we starve ourselves. Then it is “you’re too skinny and not thick enough”, we say “sorry,” and we call Dr.Plastic to get our boobs lifted and our ass bigger. Then it is “oh, it’s not natural, your fake”. So, after spending thousands on changing our body, we say “sorry”, we take it out and then we go to the gym, to build a body type that does not exist. The list goes on and on. “I’m breaking up with you cause your this, a woman should not sleep around, why are you always crying?, you are too much to handle, why can’t you be like other girls, a women should stay at home and cook, you do not deserve to work here” and then we say, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry and guess what? Sorry, but all we have ever done by saying sorry, is reduce our confidence. It is like every single time, a woman blinks, men have come up with something we should be sorry for, and we go with it cause if not we are “emotional angry women.”

Sorry, if I am not coming to my point straight away, damn I did it again. I hate that word; it is like a song that has been engraved in my mouth and I am ready to wash it away. You know who was not sorry? Viola Davis, always being herself unapologetically, and in every award show proving that she deserves to be here. We all deserve to be here.  Renne Richards; A pro tennis player who came out as a transgender woman, ensured that she had the rights to play as a woman, and you best believe she won that battle. Lizzo, no matter how many weight loss comments are left on her page, she still follows her own self-love journey. She sings, dances and does whatever the hell she wants because no one is going to tell her what she is going to do. Chrissy Chambers; a young woman who fought against revenge porn, after a video leaked because her ex-boyfriend couldn’t accept the fact that she had left him and came out as Lesbian. Serena Williams, Janelle Monae, Taylor swift, Malala, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Naomi Klein, Lady Hale and the list goes on. In every single industry whether it be movies, music, sports, politics, business and finance, technology, the list goes on. Ever since the 1700s till present, there are woman who have fought and are fighting for what they believe in by unapologetically being themselves.

As we celebrate women from around the world, it is a good reminder to remember to be unapologetically ourselves. Do not apologise for taking up space. Do not apologise for being outspoken or intelligent. Do not apologise for not having the same body type as the sexiest women of the year. Do not apologise for the fact that you came into a world that set standards for you and you decided not to follow them and most importantly, do not apologise for taking a position that a man thought was meant for him. You are a rose that is going to blossom in everything that you do, and that’s why I wish you a Happy International Women’s day and a Happy Women’s History Month.