This Women’s History Month, we’ve reached out to selected women creators to learn about the struggles they overcame to strive for their goals.

 

In Part 1, we learned about the outlooks of women who took up space in spite of invalidation and biased expectations.

 

This time, we’ll explore the insights of women who’ve found and wielded their own confidence to live out their best selves.

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As a woman, what are the kinds of struggles you faced in your everyday life or career?

 

Growing up, I’ve never really fit into society's standards of beauty or behaviour for women, and I’ve never understood why we had to dress or act a certain way when boys didn’t have to.

 

Being constantly told: “you can’t do this because you’re a girl” or “you can’t say or act like this because you’re a girl” really puts a strain on your growth as a person, and can hinder a lot of women from trying new things.

 

We already have a lot of impossible societal standards to live up to. We don’t need this as well.

 

 

How did you overcome it? Were there specific moments or decisions that helped you?

 

As I grew up, I slowly started experimenting with art and music. I looked up to amazing artists who didn’t hide who they wanted to be.

 

They came just as they were, created what they wanted, and didn’t let society's standards hold them back.

 

Along the way, I started to realise that as we start believing more in ourselves and in what we want to do, the opinions of others become less important. This doesn't mean that I woke up one day and all my problems were gone.

 

However, this realisation made me more confident in myself and allowed me to find my voice in art.

 

 

What advice would you tell your younger self and the young women who are reading this?

 

Even though the world and our society have come this far, we still need to push forward.

 

You need to be the change you want to see. It will be hard, and there are a lot of people who will try to be in your way, but keep moving forward and we will do this together.

 ***

 

 

As a woman, what are the kinds of struggles you faced in your everyday life or career?

 

I believe women still have to subscribe to unrealistic beauty standards that remain heavily embedded in current society.

 

This is a huge problem as we tend to be super hard on ourselves when it comes to physical appearances.

 

Because of psoriasis, I myself have been dealing with body image issues since I was very young. Even until this day, I am still struggling to accept myself in my own skin. 

 

 

How did you overcome it? Were there specific moments or decisions that helped you?

 

In 2018, I launched a project called Project Naked, where I shared about my journey with psoriasis in the past decade.

 

My intention was to normalise skin conditions on social media, and hopefully encourage more conversations surrounding it, then eventually build a strong community online.

 

Fortunately, it was quite a success, so I founded @safespace_my afterwards to bring the community together.

 

 

What advice would you tell your younger self and the young women who are reading this?

 

For me, becoming a real woman is all about the ability to live in our own truth. A lot of people are afraid of being themselves.

 

I was so afraid of being myself for so long, and I refused to admit that I have psoriasis. It took me many years to finally tell people that I have this condition.

 

Embracing it has finally freed me and has given me my own power to be authentically me.

 ***

 

 

As a woman, what are the kinds of struggles you faced in your everyday life or career?

 

I started aspiring to become a dancer, after watching one too many Barbie movies. Growing up, that has always been my main focus.

 

However, words like: “it wonʼt give you a stable income” “it can be left as a hobby” “you need to be realistic and have realistic ambitions” “you wonʼt have a lasting career” werenʼt exactly what someone with big, artistic dreams would like to hear.

 

My parents were extremely supportive, but the outside noise became something I constantly had to block off, from time to time.

 

 

How did you overcome it? Were there specific moments or decisions that helped you?

 

I missed out on a lot of friendships, school activities, and fun things teenagers would’ve done during and after schooltime, but honestly, I think I had more enjoyable moments during dance classes and competitions, as I was doing something I absolutely love.

 

I realised that being left out has opened up a path for me to connect with people whose dreams are like mine, and who see the world the way I do.

 

Words definitely hurt me and my aspirations, so without a strong support system, I donʼt think Iʼd be who I am today: someone who believes in the beauty of the art of dance, someone so in love with dance to pursue it, and is in a continuous journey to create greater awareness about how dance is more than just putting on a show, but also stories being told through movements and emotions.

 

 

What advice would you tell your younger self and the young women who are reading this?

 

Iʼd say dream. Dream and make that dream a possibility, then bring it to life. It sounds far-fetched, but doing something you love is going to bring you a bundle of joy, with a hunger to continuously learn.

 

There will be white noise, naysayers, and people who wonʼt believe you’ll make it. Don’t let them influence and stop you from being the best version of yourself.

 

It’s a difficult journey, understanding whatʼs best for you, being in competition with people youʼd expect to be competing with, facing rejection due to gender roles and higher opportunities existing for men compared to women, but even that shouldnʼt stop you.

'

 ***

 

 

As a woman, what are the kinds of struggles you faced in your everyday life or career?

 

The most common struggle I experience is being constantly underestimated because of my age and gender.

 

Despite having proven my capabilities, somehow my appearance gives the impression of lacking skills, experience, and opinions that hold no weight.

 

 

How did you overcome it? Were there specific moments or decisions that helped you?

 

I realised the only person I needed to impress was myself. Other people's opinion does not limit my potential nor defines who I am as an individual.

 

So, I decided to take things into my own hands and channel my thoughts into art instead. It's a voice that I can amplify freely without having to fight for a chance to speak.

 

 

What advice would you tell your younger self and the young women who are reading this?

 

If you think about it, life can be broken down into the simplest form. Everything you do has the possibility of turning into your own area of expertise because when you believe in yourself so much, no one can stop you from growing.

 

Keep moving forward one step at a time. You can only get better from here.

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Thank you to these women for sharing stories about their everyday life difficulties while pursuing their dreams.

 

We hope that you feel empowered by their words to take charge of your aspirations. Finally, head on to Part 3 for more insights from other career women!

 

If you have a story about how you’ve reclaimed your confidence, feel free to let us know in the comments.

 

Thank you to Chee Zhen for the writeup! 

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