I’ve never been a big fan of the traditional #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday). It seemed that every week on social media I’d have to unfollow or quickly scroll past scantily clad women and comments that would both make me angry and ashamed at the same time. One day I had an especially long drive (a perfect time to catch up on my podcasts) and came across an episode of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk All-Stars. This episode titled Women in Science was hosted by Summer Ash and Emily Rice and delved into how women can remain motivated in such a male-dominated STEM field, and what to do in the face of sometimes blatant, sometimes subtle sexism. In one of these conversations they talked about their spin on Woman Crush Wednesday, changing the conversation from women you find attractive to women one admires because they are crushin’ it. I instantly loved the idea.
I decided that very next Wednesday to click on the trending #WCW hashtag on Facebook and Twitter, and to my delight saw that scattered within the sea of half naked women were people going against the norm. Grandsons celebrating grandmothers who are fighting cancer, husbands who are proud of their career-driven wives. I decided that every week I would post about a woman that I admire, both historical and present day. I would make these posts public and continue to use the #WCW hashtag in hopes that those scrolling through would stop and think twice about how they celebrate women.
Soon after I started posting, I was amazed at the positive feedback I received from family and friends (and sometimes even strangers). I very quickly got recommendations for future #WCW posts and learned something: that in many cases, I was hearing stories about these amazing and historic women for the very first time. I saw a glaring display of inequality that I had before overlooked. In addition to the daily displays of sexism and sexual assault, the pay gap, the continued effort for women’s rights (all fights that I am honored to be an Ally for), there was also the inequality of stories. I grew up learning about Frederick Douglas, but knew nothing about Ida B. Wells. I admired MLK and Malcolm X, but knew nothing about Shirley Chisholm and Lucy Parsons. Household and classroom names such as Einstein and Galileo were talked of, but what about Margaret Hamilton and Vera Rubin? Pioneers all, but there is such a gap in what is taught, and what is held up on pedestals for admiration (especially to young boys and girls).
It may be a small part to play in changing the narrative, but my goal is to continue learning about and celebrating women who I believe to be world-shakers. I hope that you choose to as well.