"The strongest women are the ones who love beyond all faults, cry behind closed doors, and fights [sic] battles that no one knows about"
I understand the sentiment is supposed to be "Strong Women, Fuck Yeah!", but I just need to unpack it for myself a little bit, because this is exactly the kind of thing that depression says to me. And though I know it lies, I listen to it far more often than I should.
The strongest women who do these things are also the most brittle, the most vulnerable. They will be broken, again and again. Strong women know they should leave a situation that is draining them dry. They express their entire range of emotions appropriately as they happen, so they don't become overwhelming in unrelated situations. They can ask for help in their struggles, too. It all still comes from strength, but it's a more resilient kind.
Things like these statements strike me as reinforcing rigid gender roles, that strength is to be expressed strictly in traditionally masculine form. The first clause opens with a traditionally female role: to accept whatever is dished out, and to respond with only love, giving of themselves until there's nothing left to use for their own ends. The second directs us to bottle up emotions because it's considered shameful to express them at all. It's a trap that rots from the inside, And don't get me started on self-isolation. Thinking that you always have to do everything alone every time is doom. We need each other, in so many ways.