The Strong Woman Mask

I respect women who are strong, confident, resilient, and faith-filled. I fear for my sisters whose identity is based on being The Strong Woman. I fear for my sisters who must show others that their “life is OK” and that they “can take care of every situation and everyone”. I empathize with my sisters who have reached a point where being The Strong Woman has become a burden.

I fear for my sisters who are still hiding who they really are and who choose to be masked. Removing your mask and being vulnerable can enhance your life. 

The post is designed to spark reflection and deeper examination of the impact of the coveted The Strong Woman title that has been embraced by and bestowed upon Black women.

If social media outlets stopped providing filters, would you stop posting pictures and/or videos online?

If you were banned from wearing make-up, would you reduce how often you socialize publicly and/or reduce the number of selfies you take and post online?

If you cried in front of your spouse, children, family, and friends, would you feel weak?

If you told your spouse your deepest secret/skeleton-in-the-closet, would you believe he loves you less?

If you were overwhelmed and stressed, would you refuse to get professional help? Is therapy something “your people” don’t do?

If you were grieving the death of someone or grieving a major loss/transition, would you only shed tears in the privacy of your bedroom?

If you were in an abusive relationship**, would you “suck it up” or “make it work” for the sake of the children and/or to avoid the judgement of others?

If you were unsatisfied with a relationship, would you stay because of his potential, because you don’t want to be single, or because you believe you will not find someone better? 

If you could no longer pay for your hair appointment or nail appointment and/or stylish wardrobe, would you feel less than the women next to you, be fearful of not fitting in, or be afraid of possibly being rejected by men (and women)?

If you thought you could not succeed at a task/job/relationship/etc., would you just not even try?

If someone called you a “strong woman”, would you feel pride and would you be determined to uphold that honor?

Taking off the mask puts you in a place of vulnerability.

What do these questions have to do with each other? Each of the above scenarios are ways that people hide behind masks. There are different masks that people choose to wear. The Strong Woman persona is a type of mask, and the need to appear put together at all times is a facade. Regardless of the type of mask, the purpose for the mask(s) remains the same. People wear masks due to a fear of being vulnerable with others. From past experiences, some people learn that “I get hurt/betrayed/abandoned/etc. when I allow others to see who I really am”.

When you hide who you are, you reject yourself in order to prevent being rejected and hurt by others.

There are situations where strength and resiliency are a necessity. However, there comes a point where it is a burden to be The Strong Woman. Being strong can become a burden and dangerous to YOU. If you wear a mask, ask yourself “is there a part of me that believes I am not worthy of love and assistance”. Some people wear The Strong Woman Mask to protect themselves. In reality, this often backfires. Some Strong Women have been abused, underappreciated, overworked, exploited, labeled aggressive, deemed by some men as not marriage material, view as emotionally void, and more.

Masks tell others “Yeah, I have it all together” and “I can handle this alone”. These message are sent because the woman believes she will be rejected or hurt if the person knew the truth. In order to avoid the rejection, The Strong Woman has rejected her own needs. Now she will likely attempt to save herself from her feelings of emptiness, depression, suicidal thoughts, and a host of other things. There’s an inner battle that occurs and no assistance is provided from others because other people assume “she’s strong and can handle it” or “she has it all figured out”. The mask reflects an inner voice that says, “No one will be interested in being my friend or spouse if they saw ALL of me.” 

When you decide to remove your mask(s), you have decided that YOU matter and YOU have something special to offer regardless of who likes or dislikes what you reveal.

**An abusive relationship can consist of physical abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, spiritual abuse, or any treatment that YOU believe is harmful to YOU.

Have you experienced being strong for those around you? Tell me about it in the comments below.

2 responses to “The Strong Woman Mask”

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