An advertisement found on trains in Japan, promoting hair removal for girls.
This ad... promoting hair removal for a cheap price and flaunting the word GIRL POWER is highly problematic for me. Is having silky smooth legs ascribed to the power of girls? That is far from the GIRL POWER I know. Then, I promptly realized they are using a literal translation of the Japanese "jyoshiryoku."
Actions that can determine if a girl has "jyoshiryoku," "jyoshi" (girls) and "ryoku" (power) goes something like this...
- Equal distribution of a salad for all the participating members of a "nomikai" (drinking party?)
- Having tissues/band aids/wet wipes/handkerchiefs that are at the disposal of anyone in need
- Being able to maneuver around the kitchen and make a proper meal (wow, what a feat)
- Being neat & organized
- The ability to clean, sew, pour tea, iron, fold clothes, do makeup, do hair, do meticulous things, have band aids in your bag... What? jatg#//gy28xx$$fu#k.
What traits/behavior/characteristics resonate when you read those words? The previous list of things are feats that are attributed to "女子力" (jyoshiyroku, the literal translation would be girl power)." Why is our so-called female power devalued to our capacity of etiquette and ability to cook, clean, and look presentable? Moreover, aren't these all just basic skills? Basic human skills... 人間力 (ningenryoku) to be able to cook, clean, wipe your snot and wet hands with whatever YOU carry around with you. No one should have to feel obliged to distribute tomato sauce spaghetti or share their hard earned pocket tissues to emulate femininity (not only because let's face it, 1. Tomato sauce pasta is hella messy and 2. Sometimes those free tissue distributors conveniently ignore your seeking hands). These are qualities that may be admirable as a human but never specifically associated with the skills of girls or women.
Let's reclaim 女子力. Redifine it. Because women and girl's "power" should not be denigrated to traditionally female gender roles. So, the question is: What the hell should 女子力 mean? Oh trusty sicechick Google1 Let:s take a look at my idea of girl power, shall we?
Girl Power: used by girls, spec. a self-reliant attitude among girls & young women manifested in ambition, assertiveness & individualism.
The Japanese standing equivalent for girl power deviates so much from this gratifying significance of the word, girl power. It's time, boys and girls, women and men alike should stop using/saying/accepting the power of girls/women as being able to look attractive and be helpful. Let us compliment girls and women who are independent, ambitious, confident, unique, strong.
Let's break these 女子力 stereotypes and reinvent this so-called Japanese version of "girl power" that has been oppressing more than empowering.
Let's stop succumbing to sugarcoating ourselves in this unbearably archaic idea of jyoshiryoku. And! encourage your sisters and brothers too to do the same. We don't have to be complacent, collected, cuties. We can be whoever the f*ck we want.