A friend once asked me why I write for FemInStyle Africa. I had never quite thought about it but at that moment, I thought I would probably write because it is a way to get my message to the world. Writing to me is a way to make my emotions visible to my readers; It is using words to make art. As I sat there and thought even deeper, I realized that I not only write for FemInStyle because I have the talent but because I want to make an impact.
FemInStyle is not just a blog to put down random thoughts but rather sharing real-life issues that affect black women around the world. It is not about bashing men and saying how much we do not need them. Rather it is about ensuring we at least achieve equity in all basic things such as the right to education, right to equal pay, not being sexually harassed just to mention a few.
A platform to express myself
FemInStyle Africa presented me with a platform to express myself on matters that affect me directly as a woman and I took it. Expressing myself can take on various forms in the course of my writing. Whether its an argument on how women should be treated at the workplace, whether it is proposing a solution on how we can prevent teenage pregnancies or even an opinion on why every woman should let their hair grow wildly on any part of their body, FemInStyle has provided me with a platform to share my thoughts, values and my identity through my writing.
A platform to show my authentic self
My vision in life is to be a voice for the voiceless. FemInStyle offers the unique opportunity to speak on behalf of young girls who can’t defend themselves or fight for their rights in a patriarchal society. I have the opportunity to address matters initially considered taboo in a world that tries to silence women. I have the chance to speak on behalf of black women around the world who do not have a similar platform to air out matters close to their hearts. And the most important one is that, now I can offer tried and tested solutions to issues that affect me and might help another woman out there who has a similar problem.
FemInStyle Africa, unlike other platforms, offers writers the opportunity to express themselves through their authentic everyday voices. Everyone thinks, speaks and reveals themselves differently. It only makes sense that their writing would be just as unique, a reflection of their tastes found in these differences. There is no wrong or right way to express oneself or to create art. When it comes to FemInStyle, I have not felt the need to conform to what is considered acceptable to talk about. It doesn’t matter how something is said, rather what matters is what is said.
Advocate for what is right
FemInStyle to me is not just about the opportunity to write but also to advocate for the rights of women. In a patriarchal society, women have been trained to bend backwards due to societal pressures; forced to think in a certain manner that strips them of their natural voices and inevitably takes away their freedom to do things that they enjoy because it is considered unacceptable.
In several areas of Kenya for example, girls still undergo forceful FGM and are forced to drop out of school and get married before they fully blossom into womanhood. FemInStyle Africa allows us to advocate for the rights of vulnerable women and girls in Africa and around the world. Issues such as gender-based violence can now be discussed and the survivors can come out and share their stories of triumphs. FemInStyle to me is the perfect platform to share this hope with other women out there. It is the battleground to fight against everything that affects black women around the world.
It’s easy to see that FemInStyle holds a lot of significance to me and my colleagues. If the organisation had heavy constraints on how we should write and only discuss what they feel is suitable by societal standards, it may have resulted in the loss of appreciation for any form of activism. If as a writer you can’t write in a way that you want and for a reason that you want, then it’s no longer self-expression but a boring assignment.
In my time as a writer for FemInStyle Africa, I have seen just how essential it is to embrace the uniqueness within each voice and the rewarding feeling when I feel heard and validated. In every piece, I have written, my main goal is to ensure that young black girls have solutions to problems that they face in their daily lives. They are more knowledgeable when making decisions about their health, their careers and anything partnering with their womanhood. I am glad I met a community at FemInStyle with the same goal.