Being the woman

The human condition fosters in us an inability to be satisfied with what we have. This stems from living in a marketing-based society that insists we need to keep purchasing more to be fulfilled. We are barraged with media messages that push us to be all that we can be and “Just Do It.” Scarier in many ways are the messages from the last few decades that seduce us with the notion that we “deserve it” and we are “worth it.” The “worth it” message is often attached to a pricey luxury item or beauty-creating or -enhancing cosmetics.

Women are susceptible to these messages in insidious ways. For the first time in history, we are emerging in great numbers as leaders in the workplace, politics and religion. We are making a difference throughout the modern world and in many cases in the third world. Yet we still accept messages suggesting that to be successful we must wear the right clothes, use the right makeup and hair products, while eliminating any trace of aging from sight.

It is time to stop the madness—we need to stop trying to “be the woman” and start being the woman. Stop trying to emulate an unrealistic and oftentimes Photoshopped version of Woman 2.0.

The tragic events in our country and in the world are constantly broadcast to us in our homes, and follow us on our electronic devices through which we strive to “stay connected.” It can be overwhelming and easy to feel that we cannot make a difference. But we can—one day at a time, one woman at a time.

Even if you don’t have vast resources, you can make an impact. The greatest gift a woman can give herself, her children and her community is education. A most unlikely source, Brigham Young, said, “You educate a man, you educate a man. You educate a woman, you educate a generation.” Education comes in many forms, and the traditionally gifted can serve as teachers while many others have life lessons to offer. The key is to get involved with something—your church, neighborhood, a nonprofit organization and to share your strengths with others.

In our cover story, you will be inspired by how Jacqui Vines overcame early years of struggle with a determination to succeed. She kept working on her education even while climbing the corporate ladder. She’s a leader for her company, her community and her three daughters. She’s an inspiration to all.

Virginia Woolf famously opined, “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” Gone are those days. Time to set aside your fears and get busy making history of your own.