Are You a Noun or an Adjective?

I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives, but as nouns.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Let’s dissect the above quote. A noun is a person, place or thing. An adjective is a word that describes a noun. In the sentence, “This is a heavy table,” the word “heavy” is an adjective because it describes the table. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was an amazing woman and a vital part of the early feminist movement.

What does all this have to do with you?

When it comes to self-perception, girls often see themselves as adjectives: the kind of word that reveals an aspect of a greater whole, but not the whole. Sure, some adjectives denote great parts of your personality. It’s wonderful to be funny, or kind, or strong. However, in thinking of yourself as a string of adjectives, you make yourself into a series of decorative, unrelated pieces. This is called objectification. Objectification is just what it sounds like: When someone is objectified she is treated like an object rather than a person. Your new shirt might be pretty and soft, but you are much more than that. You are a living, breathing, multifaceted entity, while your new shirt is just an object.

Try this out: think of something you love to do. Say it’s painting. Instead of thinking of yourself as artistic, try to think of yourself as an artist. This is a very subtle change, but isn’t that so much more empowering? First and foremost, you are an important human. And within that, you are all kinds of other beautiful nouns. Maybe you’re a daughter, a sister, a friend, a swimmer, a skateboarder, a poet, a source of power. Maybe you’re all of these things!

Try to see yourself not as an object, but as an actor…the star of your own life.

Add a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.