Great stories make great women

Great stories make great women

It is easy to talk yourself out of telling your own story.

It may feel a bit too ‘main character energy’, too self-centred, too ‘that’s for someone else, someone more interesting....’

We assume that our story is too mundane, or maybe we feel it is incomplete, waiting for that big life moment to make it relevant.

This may lead you to sit on your story, maybe you don’t even realise you have one at all! But alas, we all do. Everyone has a story. And you don’t want someone else to write it for you.

What is wonderful about the female experience is that whilst we are united through our womanhood, our stories are all unique.

Everyone sees the world through their own different and special lenses. Lenses of cultures, emotions, situations and experiences, and each one is rich with lessons and inspiration. Whatever your story is, it’s worth being told, and worth being told by you.

In our history, so many female-centred stories, whether fictional or not, were written by men. It is called history after all.  

From ancient texts to Desperate Housewives, so many narratives consumed by women have been written by men. And while these stories have had a place in culture, our society is crying out for women to write their own stories—for us and for future generations.

Women’s stories have inspired generations throughout history.

Whether that’s Jane Austen critiquing the British gentry, Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits filled with pain and expression, or Maya Angelou’s iconic poetry (she's also Hollywood’s first female black director btw), these women were not afraid to be honest about who they were and how they experienced the world.

In more recent times, Michaela Coel, British actress and writer extraordinaire, has done the same by co-directing and executive producing I May Destroy You, a BBC series based on her personal story and experience of sexual assault. She also understood the assignment of ‘knowing your worth’, as she turned down a $1 million offer from Netflix for the show because the deal would have taken full rights ownership away from the creator. It is critical to not let anyone dilute your authenticity. Who knows what Coel’s story would have ended up looking like if she’d given up ownership of her craft?

Our stories also don’t have to focus on pain and struggle. 

They can also be fun, silly and celebratory. Many female anthems are relatable because they bring us back to the everyday. Tracks like TLC’s ‘No Scrubs’ and Destiny’s Child’s ‘Bills, Bills, Bills’ remind us to know our worth and celebrate independent female power.

So, what does telling your story even look like?

The great thing about storytelling is that there are no rules. You can do it by simply writing a social post, or you could share your narrative on a podcast (like I did), or perhaps it’s doing a stand-up routine or creating a claymation film (an animation technique using movable clay characters and stop-motion recording). It’s a limitless action that can be determined by how you feel best expressing yourself. By sharing your perspective, you are controlling your narrative and it is immensely powerful.

The more perspectives we hear and experience, the richer our society will be for it. Storytelling has immense power, with our stories acting as the catalyst for change, making it an undeniably empowering act.

What is also so special about sharing your story is how it unlocks others. It gives the space and permission for others to share theirs too. And by sharing your perspective, doors will open. You may end up with some new friends, or even a hit TV show. It could be as easy as making a new connection with someone who relates to your experience. Never underestimate the power of simple connections.

And finally, sharing our stories contributes to culture.

Storytelling is the basis for so many incredible works of art that our society has been blessed with. You may not be the next Nina Simone, or you may not realise it in this lifetime but don’t underestimate yourself and our collective power.

There is room for your story. For all stories. 

The more stories from women from all generations and diasporas that are put out into the world, the more the world gains from acknowledging these experiences and perspectives and the richer our herstory. Whether your story goes on to win Academy Awards or is just shared amongst family members, by sharing your perspective, you’re actively contributing to culture and empowering women worldwide to do the same.

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