The ‘Strong Woman’ Myth Can Be Destructive

Erin Matson

The mythology of the strong woman is fairly epic, considering that women are supposed to be weak-willed ornaments or maids that make it through every indignity — depending on how those women score on other scales of the privilege lottery. A system of male domination is not supposed to allow for strong women, except that it really does and in a way that reinforces the ongoing subjugation of women as a gender, and as individuals. While of course it feels good to be identified as a ‘strong woman,’ the reality is that this myth is a mixed bag. Strangely enough it can be destructive.

It’s important to note that the moniker “strong woman” is a compliment. But its status as a compliment actually depends on drawing a contrast between you and other women, as if those other women are weak. As if being a woman makes you inherently weak. As if you are…

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