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A Woman’s Beauty is in her Character and Deeds

By: Miriam Ghirmay & Miriam Yohannes

Beauty is an overrated word and possibly the most wrongly used. Is it something we see or feel or could it be both? We struggle to have this quality in everyone’s eyes that it’s sadly become almost the only quality a woman needs to survive. But why is it treasured as a premium possession?

It’s good to be beautiful, isn’t it? But which one is it? The one I was created to be or the one people crafted. Is it the long hair or big round eyes, killer legs, a thin waist, or a perfectly curved body? The momentary glory sure does feel good, but it does not last. It eventually dies and takes away the identity you crafted above it.

Are you beautiful because they said you are or because you know you are? And how do you know you are? These questions run through my head when I get carried away in the delusional world of beauty. I can’t answer them, not because they’re too hard but because they are unfathomable. The world has set too many standards for beauty which are, mostly, for the pleasure of the eyes. These intricacies can either boost or demote the way a woman feels about herself.

I traveled back in time and sought to really understand my lineage. Who is she that gave birth to me? Who is she that fills a part of me I haven’t yet discovered? There has to be something beyond that crusted face and the grim yet caring pitch. She has to be more than a good cook and a good dresser.

A woman is all — gorgeous, meticulous, compassionate, keen, and at times a bit hot-headed. Her magnificent beauty is not restricted to her physical appearance; it includes the strength, determination, kindness, and selfless spirit she holds. Throughout history, women have conquered constraints and triumphed. They have broken the chains of preconceived standards and limitations, only to prove to the world that a woman is beautiful inside and out.

Let me say, with all the moderation I can summon, at best, a woman is perfectly capable of doing anything and does it flawlessly. Time and again she has proved to be a warrior, an office worker and a loving mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, and a friend. I have believed in words as the finest mode of communication and expression but they fail me when it comes to defining a woman. In short, a woman is a complete book of life. She sacrifices her whole life for her family, works from day to night to support her family, and devotes her entire life to others.

A lot has been said about the internal beauty of my heroine, the Eritrean Woman. The Eritrean woman is phenomenal, not in the sense that she looks or walks like a model. But her conspicuous and well-earned confidence lifts her head so high that when she walks in front of people, anyone can notice her confidence, grace, and pride in being an Eritrean. Her core focus is on the mystery of her personality, not the appearance. The Eritrean woman doesn’t stand in front of mirrors all day and repeats an affirmation that she is beautiful for she knows she simply is.

Eritrean women have contributed and are still contributing towards the success and betterment of their families, their people, and their country. They would never give up on positive thoughts, hope, unconditional love, and the need to give. They have fought for equal rights, against female genital mutilation, underage marriage, and other social evils and are fighting to achieve better results.

The Eritrean Tegadalit is special. In the least comfortable situation, she managed through with ease. Her valor testifies to the magnificent being underneath the sunburnt brown exterior. Her perfect milk-white teeth, puffy Afro, athletic figure, calloused hands, khaki shorts, and the greaves altogether invalidate the formerly established depiction of beauty. Beyond her looks, though, it was her personality and willpower that was starkly noticeable.

She never felt the need for make-up, wardrobe, a hairstylist, a manicure, and an air-conditioned set and yet was a sight to behold.

The determination kept the Eritrean Tegadalit resilient, turning the meandering mountains of Sahel into a home. Home to the people of one heart, a refuge to the victims of cruelties and those that were hungry for justice. This is the kind of woman that I strive to become. My mother, friend, sister, aunt, grandmother, this is my tribute to you. Happy Women’s Day!

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