Celebration of Female Thoughtfulness

By Lydia Kendall-McDougall


In the summer of 2016, I came home from holiday to a card from my good friend Imogen. It was a small blank postcard with my address on the front, and on the back, written in pink, was a poem:


There is a girl


She is wise

And wary of flames

But still, she knows

She will survive the fire

Life scorches sometimes.


She has been a phoenix

Before

And every time

She burns to ashes

She knows

Exactly how to rise

Again.


Jeanette Leblanc


It came with a little note on the front: ‘Hope Sri Lanka is amazing, miss u lol!’


This, to me, is a perfect example of the beauty of female sharing. You’ve probably read a version of this poem before - there’s an abundance of literature likening women to phoenixes - across Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as from controversial poets such as Rupi Kaur. But the quality or content of the poem itself isn’t why I still remember her sending it to me to this day; it’s the fact that she saw something encouraging and empowering about women and chose to send it to me from wherever she was on holiday. She could even have texted or messaged me to tell me about it, but instead she wrote it by hand, in three separate colours across the card, so it would be nice for me to return home to.


Within all the tumults of being a young woman at around 16/17, I think there’s something lovely in the ways women share messages like this with one another; the way they want to spread female-positive artwork with other women to keep the message going. I’ve noticed the same thing repeated again and again as I’ve grown up, on Instagram stories, in tweets, even in memes (my housemate Hannah sends me loving memes essentially daily, just when she comes across them). In light of International Women’s Day/Week, I think it’s important that we maintain and support this kind of female sharing, not just on the day that we’ve chosen to nationally acknowledge women, but to keep acknowledging each other every other day of the year. Growing up as a young woman surrounded by constant social pressure to be/look/feel/act a certain way, and in a setting whereby women are consistently encouraged to be in competition with one another, support from female friends is absolutely vital. And, as I’ve mentioned, there’s so many forms female support can take. But as a literature student, I am inevitably hyper-aware of how the act of sharing can take the form of passages from novels and poetry (whether on social media or by hand-written note), and noticing how much this actually does happen in day to day life is incredibly uplifting. I also appreciate the way in which this sharing helps educate me about so many different female identities, whilst empowering us all. The small things have a surprising magnitude.


Imogen sending me this note is a small yet powerful example of the huge difference female-to-female support can make, and I know this because it’s still on my wall today, has been on the wall of three separate rooms over the course of my degree, and will be on my wall next year.


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