As women, we are often told to be quiet. That there are some things the world does not need to know. If we talk about issues such as periods or as we witnessed over the past couple of months, miscarriage, instead of being seen as a positive. The women who speak up are seen as inherently attention-seeking.
How reductive is this? Imagine if a man spoke out about prostate cancer or erectile dysfunction. Would they be met with the same vitriol? No, they wouldn’t. Quite the opposite actually. They would be applauded and congratulated for their bravery for ‘speaking out’ so to speak and rightly so!
Women on the other hand get called attention-seeking when they use the platforms they have to promote issues they are dealing with. They get accused of chasing clout and sharing their story just to appear in the press. This could not be further from the truth.
We all know there is strength in talking. There is a mental health campaign Time To Talk dedicated to express this sentiment. As women, we gravitate to those who can provide comfort for us. Those who have been through what we are currently going through. This is why we seek out professional mentors, it is why we look up to our parent figures for advice. It is why when we go through life changes such as negotiating a raise, starting their own business, moving houses, or getting pregnant, we run to Facebook groups and Instagram pages dedicated to women who come together to discuss these exact things so we can lean on them and yet we attack those who aim to break down the stigma of what we are talking about.
Within the last couple of months alone, I have seen the likes of Crissy Tiegan and Meghan Markle being slated as attention seekers for sharing their truths. Successful business women have shared their success milestones and have been trolled for showing off and rubbing their success in the public’s faces.
What these naysayers fail to realise is that In sharing those stories, women it allows women who have suffered a miscarriage to feel their pain is understood, helping them share their feelings with their loved ones. It also helps the friends and loved ones of those suffering miscarriages to understand what they are going through and in turn, better help them to feel less alone.
As a woman of colour there is another added layer to having significant figures speaking about what can be deemed taboo subjects. As a Muslim woman who grew up wanting to make a difference, first as a politician than a journalist. I didn’t see many people who looked at me in the careers I wanted. I cannot tell how important it is to have someone who looks like you to look up to. While we have a long way to go I see the young generation now who can now look at the TV screen, at magazines, in a boardroom and can see themselves somewhat reflected back and it makes my heart swell with happiness.
Regardless of whether you have 1 follower or a multimillionaire with 100k followers, Women go through these things on the regular and it is time we were able to come together to talk about them, to guide each other through the experiences without the clapback many women face still face.