Strange Bedfellows: Art & Female Empowerment

Artwork by Fellow SheWrites member Tosh Fomby aka Totsymae

The clock’s second hand mocks the predictability of your life.  You are a prisoner of your schedule. Walking your son to school, caring for your newborn child, organizing and checking off your to-do list for work, and serving as the anchor for aging parents constrain your spirit.  

 You are the sacrificial lamb of your family.  How do you gain your power back? 

Female empowerment is the key.

Six Steps of the Empowerment Process:

1)       Identify a power-oriented goal.

2)       Reflect on your current knowledge of your current situation.

3)       Develop self-efficacy.

4)       Build competence.

5)       Take action.

6)       Assess the impact.

Identifying Power-Oriented Goals

According to Cattaneo & Chapman’s research, a power-oriented goal allows you to exert your influence in a social interaction.  Before you can enact change, you must first start with self-care.

Self-care is realizing where existing boundaries are, then re-establishing and redefining them.

So how do you define those limits?  You have to know what and whom for which you are responsible:

  • Your feelings
  • Your choices
  • Your values
  • Your minor children

You can be concerned about other people’s feelings, but you are not responsible for them.

Another technique is to understand your basic human rights.  The Women’s Center of Jacksonville  has identified them as such:

I have the right to:

  • Be left alone.
  • Be independent.
  • Be listened to and taken seriously.
  • Act in assertive manner.
  • Refuse requests without feeling guilty or selfish.
  • Ask for what I want.
  • Make mistakes and to be responsible for them.
  • Choose not to assert myself.

There is one more tip involved in identifying your goal.

What’s Art Got to Do With It?

According to American Art Therapy Association’s website, therapists use art as a medium to “improve or restore a client’s functioning and his or her own sense of personal well-being.”

Art heals the mind.  It reveals your perception of boundaries and their connection to power structures.  It gives you a space to consider your needs for a change. For example, if you have a family member or mate who consistently reminds  you of your mistakes, you may draw a picture of yourself as a small dump truck with your mouth wide open and that person as a giant figure spewing a barrage of words into you.

This drawing makes your empowerment goal clear:  you want to be treated with respect. 

Now you are on your way to empowering yourself in your life.

*Thanks, Totsymae for letting me share your beautiful artwork.*

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