This year, the theme that the UN has chosen for Women’s Day 2014 is

“Equality for Women is Progress for All.”

Equality – To be equal and the same; in regards to value, rank, rights, and opportunities.

I love this word. Not just in terms of gender, but also when talking about race, age, etc. In my mind, we are equal. No person deserves to be treated with less class and respect because of features that they were born with. I am not saying that women are worth more than men, do not get me wrong. I am a strong female character and believe in the empowerment of women, but that does not mean that I look down on the male race. In embracing the thought that women and man are equal, we are creating opportunities for so much growth in the world.

Being a young woman in society, although in no way does it compare to the amount of discrimination women face around the world, I have dealt with a fair amount of judgement. According to so many societal norms, I was born to live my life aiming to reach the goal of being attractive, both by character and my physical appearance. As a girl, I was given the invisible responsibility to obey, serve and please men. There have been days that I left my house without makeup and felt too ashamed to look anyone in the eye, in fear of them thinking I wasn’t “pretty”. I have been told that I could not do certain jobs because I was a girl, therefore I was too weak and/or did not have the knowledge required to complete tasks.  It is so wrong, that there are certain things that a woman should not do because she is simply, female.

“Don’t strain yourself sweetheart, that’s a man’s job.”

No. Last year I went to a Women in Engineering event at the University of Calgary and learned that an extremely large statistic of Alberta’s engineers are made up by males. Yet I met strong, independent women who were on top of their companies, which were running smoothly and successfully. There are so many women like those that I met, that are amazing role models for my generation and the next. You don’t need to be weak, gentle, or soft-spoken in order to be feminine. If you want to be something other than the traditional traits of femininity, then so be it. Being a girl, being a woman, does not rely on you possessing the characteristics that society has told you to possess.

Here is me. No makeup, my hair not done, perfectly natural me.

Yes. I am a beauty queen. I walk on a stage with a full face of makeup on and my hair done. But this does not make me a hypocrite, because I now believe I am still beautiful without the makeup. I am an artist, spending many of my countless hours painting, writing and sketching. Makeup is an art. Makeup is the one of my favourite artistic medias to use. Every face is a beautiful canvas, if you choose to leave it blank or add a design, it is your choice.  You have a choice, to do whatever makes you happy. If you want to wear makeup, do it. If you don’t want to, then don’t. It’s all up to you, but either way you will be beautiful.

I have embraced my thick, curly and frizzy hair and fall in love with it everyday. Yes, my hair is may not be the typical “asian hair” which is straight, shiny and lustrous but I still have BEAUTIFUL hair. I will not beat myself up just because I do not fit into the norm. In the Miss Teenage Alberta pageant I was one of the shortest and the only asian delegate, but that did not matter because I still felt beautiful.

We are all different, in the way we act or the way we look. That’s what makes us so amazing, that we are all different in race, interests, religions, etc. and yet one feature that brings all women together is that we are just that, women. So HOW DARE society tell us what do in our lives. If we are all so different, how are we supposed to fit into ONE mold? We can’t, and we won’t.

I know it’s part of my own personal responsibility to fight for a change. I will fight for those who may not be able to help themselves right now.

So don’t let today be a day for us to empower women, because we should be doing that everyday. Instead, let today be a reminder of the progress we have made and are yet to make.  Together, as men and women in the world, we can make a difference.

Thank you for reading today’s post. May you all have a wonderful day, full of love and happiness.

Until my next post,
Ruby Angelica Raguindin
Miss Teen East Calgary 2014

Written by: Ruby

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