QUEEN MAKEDA: REWRITE HER STORY
“Rewrite her story
And I’m not pleading with you
Bleeding ink across this page
Next time she must be center staged…” Aisha Kylie Edward (Re-Write Her Story 2019)
The constant reinforcement of women being incapable of doing certain things because of their gender is the pressure under which many young girls are growing up under. Sixteen-year old Aisha Kylie Edward poses the question, “What is wrong with being a woman?” and dreams of growing up in a world where she receives equal pay just like the man who is in the same job position as her.
As the first born in a family of two girls, Aisha describes herself as a bubbly, talkative, strong-willed and outgoing young woman on the journey of becoming a women’s rights activist. Balancing out the education gap between women from urban and rural areas is important in ensuring the messages about women empowerment are heard and the action taken results in women exercising their freedom to be their authentic self, Aisha says. Diving into the writing world with the intention of contributing to creating a better future where girls complete their education instead of being forced into early marriages is the firm decision Aisha made in her fight for women’s rights.
“When I finally decided to put my work out there and start recording, I asked myself what was the most relevant name I could use that would reflect both my poetry and my beliefs,” says Aisha. Doing her research, she came across “Makeda” one of the most influential African queens in history. Aisha resonated with Queen Makeda, in wanting to leave her own legacy in this world so she felt inspired to walk along the path of royalty crowned by her words.
“Each individual in society needs to work hard on dispelling glass ceilings placed on genders,” says Aisha. As the world continues to go through changes; economic recessions, countries torn apart by war, introduction of new technologies, fashion lines, the treatment of women and girls remain in the constant negative. economies going down, countries being destroyed by war, new technologies, fashion lines and yet the treatment of women and girls remains in the constant negative.
“Now I have not personally encountered abuse or violence but what happens to another woman affects me. I have experienced discrimination because of my gender and I have always asked myself how offended men would be if another man were to mistreat their sister or mother. I don’t understand how they get offended and still go home to ill-treat another man’s daughter without feeling any kind of remorse or hypocrisy for the pain they cause. The sad part is most of them don’t even try to apologize for their actions,” Aisha reflects.
The limitations and barriers placed on women are being broken more often these days. “Ariana Grande’s “God is A Woman” shocked everyone in the message that it carries which made me think that if God was maybe female then we would get a bit more respect than we currently do,” Aisha says. She believes every individual should be involved in the different campaigns that are pushing for equality amongst genders, changes in how girls/women are treated because ultimately its going to take the involvement of both women and men to win the fight to change gender perceptions and discrimination because of gender. She looks forward to men becoming more genuinely involved in championing messages that will transform how society and communities view and treat women.
We tend to underestimate the power of peer pressure across all age groups, whether young or old, we find ourselves battling the world’s opinion and our own opinions. Aisha’s word of advice to fellow youth facing different types of peer pressure in school is knowing who you are. She believes having a strong self-identity guides you in not going along with the crowd to formulating your own opinions and thoughts about different subject matters.
Although our parents act as though peer pressure did not exist in their time, we know that it does which is why so many young people resort to doing drugs and depression. The misrepresentation of women throughout the centuries has led us to this point of using creative arts, such as Aisha’s writings and poetry, to challenge outdated and suppressive expectations of women.
“I deeply connected to writing because being a woman I believe I can use that to bring unity to as many women as I can in joining hands to overcome oppression towards women,” says Aisha. Although it is very hard to listen to the point someone is saying, Aisha says that writing poetry is powerful and getting people to listen is the most important thing in shifting mindsets.