“What would it be like for women to completely own their own power?”
That was the question asked by actress (and our new life inspo) Tracee Ellis Ross at Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards last night.
The star of hit US TV show Black-ish took to the stage to talk about society’s perception of success, and how she doesn’t fit into those ideals because she doesn’t have to – and neither do the rest of us.
“It’s really interesting to be a woman and get to 45 and not be married and not have kids… You start hearing crazy shit like: ‘Oh, you just haven’t found the right guy yet’… ‘Why is someone like you still single?’… ‘Why don’t you just have a kid on your own?’ It’s never ending and not helpful.”
Tracee, who is the daughter of music legend Diana Ross, looks pretty successful to us: not only is she a successful actress, she’s won a Golden Globe, launched her own clothing line with US retailer JC Penney and can make speeches like this.
“I have built an incredible life. I have become a woman that I am proud to be,” says Tracee. But she describes the constant questions about her single status as making her feel like “all that I have done and who I am doesn’t matter”.
Tracee’s message is one that speaks volumes about the society in which we live. She explains how some the media (“fairytales, books, movies”) conditions us to believe the ideal of “husband plus child equals woman”. But that formula doesn’t work for everyone.
So, what did the 45-year-old actress do about it? She took the power into her own hands and got out her journal. “I write down: ‘My life is mine’. My life is mine.” She continues, “So, if my life is actually mine, then I have to really live it for myself. I have to put myself first and not be looking for permission to do so.”
The lesson we’ve learned from Tracee’s speech? It doesn’t matter how old you are. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a relationship or if you’re single or if you have children. It doesn’t matter which career path you choose or what you decide to do with your life. Being a woman in the 21st century is all about having the choice to be whoever you want to be, without judgement. According to Tracee, it’s all about becoming the Brave You.
“The Brave You gives you the courage to hold your own agency, your own choice, your own desire, your own longings, your own feat, your own grief, your own future.
“She’s in you right now… waiting for your invitation. So let her out, let her have her glory. This beautiful, powerful part of you is just waiting for your invitation.”
Feeling empowered? See Tracee’s full speech on Glamour US for more inspiration.