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Encourage women to not seek permission

Sometimes the trouble about having grown up in the wake of a cultural movement is the trap of complacency.

I was born in the late 1980s. I immigrated to America with my family at five years old. I was brought up in a community that valued a woman's voice. From a young age, I reaped the benefits of growing up in the post-second wave of U.S. feminism obviously without going through the struggle myself. Basically, I grew up thinking these powers were innate and therefore I was complacent and thought no further action was needed. It's pretty clear to me that I was wrong. I thought I was impenetrable, I thought I could do anything I wanted to. Of course, to a certain extent I can do whatever I want, but we (boys and girls alike) are taught from a young age where our place is, what we can and cannot do or say, what was expected of us. I've only realized in the last few months that I wait for permission to do so many things. This is completely unintentional. Usually I'm not the type of person to sit around waiting for other people to tell me what to do, but this particular trait, waiting for permission, is much deeper than myself because it affects more than just myself. Women wait to run for political office, sometimes we wait to speak. Sometimes we don't do things until we are asked, not out of laziness or not wanting to do it, it comes from our cultural context. The sexual hierarchy bred into us, the characteristics men and women are supposed to posses. I guess this would be why strong women are seen more to be like men than women...which is absurd. Women don't necessarily wait for permission from just men, we wait for permission from women too. Too often we wait for permission in general.

Gals of the world! Don't be afraid to go against the grain! Speak out of turn! One thing I learned through this introspective process of being an Asian American woman these last few months, a pretty painful process, don't ask for permission to do what you want. Whatever your dream may be, whatever injustice you many see, whatever hope and happiness you may witness, don't wait or ask for permission to act on it. Do what you think is right in this world because our lives are so precious and short. If we aren't the ones who stand up and speak, what will change our world for the better? Who else will work to create community?

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