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Do Tell: What Does "Empowered" Mean to You?

Do Tell: What Does "Empowered" Mean to You?

It used to be that for a woman to feel empowered, she had to do something that challenged a male-dominated, sexist society, one that asked her to be seen and not heard. A few different varieties of feminism later, and it seems you can't turn around without empowerment seemingly reduced to meaning: anything a woman chooses to do, whether it's getting breast implants or posing in Playboy!

The satirical news site The Onion had a hilarious faux op-ed piece a few years back that made fun of empowerment overload called, Women Now Empowered by Everything a Woman Does:

"According to a study released Monday, women — once empowered primarily via the assertion of reproductive rights or workplace equality with men — are now empowered by virtually everything the typical woman does. 'From what she eats for breakfast to the way she cleans her home, today's woman lives in a state of near-constant empowerment,' said Barbara Klein, professor of women's studies at Oberlin College and director of the study."

Has the idea of empowerment been stripped of real meaning, if, as The Onion suggests, even dubious acts of empowerment (like stripping or strip-pole exercising) are considered empowering? Should there be a standard? What does "empowered" mean to you?


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