The invisible, albeit highly felt, currency of power has long been studied in the realms of history, anthropology, behavior, and economic domains. Power is seen to influence politics, money, social trends, and demographic displacement. Arguably, power can even influence what is right and what is wrong. With that realization, recent history has demonstrated how power became the goal, rather than its intended perception as the means, or the tool, by which to achieve the objective. In medieval times, knights had the power to conquer lands and win wars. In the land of fantasy, superheroes had powers to save lives. In theology, prophets were given the power to defeat “evil”. The commonality in that perception of power is that it served a purpose. Regardless of whether the power quotient in these examples was used for good or bad, the purpose of it can be justified by the winning end result. However, in contemporary domains, POWER now seems to be acquired, arguably, for the purpose of accumulation and demonstration… much like wealth!

Speaking of wealth, let’s pin the subject of POWER for a moment, we’ll come back for it later.


There’s a theory that poses two sides to wealth, the first is “the haves and the have nots” which refers to the rich vs. the poor, and the second is “the have had long before the haves had” which refers to old money vs. new money (Milanovic, 2010).

While there isn’t a written rule book that defines how old is “old money”, there seems to be a consensus that for an individual or a family to be considered “old money” the wealth must have been passed down through at least seven generations. It is also said that the “have nots” i.e. the poor, in this theory, believe that the “haves” whether old or new, have gained their wealth by being crooks, lucky, system manipulators, or any other unglamorous means of the sort.

One more angle to consider in this theory, for the purpose of this article, is the difference in attitude, expenditure, investment, and style between the “old money” and the nouveau riche who have acquired their wealth recently. One major difference is said to be that “old money” exercises their wealth with a long-term vision to ensure the sustainability of their wealth for generations to come. They are not just concerned with the temporary state of now. As opposed to the novices who want to cash in today while the wealth is hot. “New money” is flamboyant, loud, extravagant, and would like others to know that they “have it” now.

Now let’s go back to the subject of power.

If the currency of power, like monetary wealth, can be acquired and accumulated, then along the same lines, we will have different classes and social segments. The initial segmentation will be between The Haves and Have nots. The other will be between the Have Had long before the Haves had. In other words, power will also segregate between the powerful and the weak and between the “old power” and “nouveau power”

Feminist power

The feminist movement is not a new subject. The first attempt to organize a national movement for women’s rights took place in 1848 (Bank, 2012). Over the years, women gained more and more rights. Following devastating wars, women were thrust into the blue- and white-collar scene to fill in for vacant positions previously occupied by men. With time, this gave rise to the importance of better and higher education for women. Generally, the feminist movement has seen a steady rise in its impact along decades of active work and cultural awareness. However, following the rise of social media, feminism became a more relevant and accessible subject not confined anymore to stereotypical intellectuals within cultural salons and academic arenas. It became an active cause being fought with the same rigor those early suffragettes.

Following the glamorous early results of the #metoo movement, women across the globe were feeling a sense of victory. Then came the pandemic, followed by the great resignation which gave way to rising female-owned businesses and more demands for equality in pay and equal opportunity in hiring. The former glass walls, ceilings, and cliffs of gender biases are now being colored, discussed openly, and sometimes even shattered. Those factors amongst many others, smaller and bigger, were snowballing the wealth of power females were gaining.

Now, we are the Haves. No longer the have-nots.

We fought hard against the system, and now we get a seat at the table. We get to be heard. We get to participate in the conversation. We get to collaborate.

We get to be who we are!

Or so I thought…

It seems instead of demanding a seat at the table, we want to flip the table, change the seats and eliminate everyone who sat at it.

It looks as though along the path of female empowerment; we have lost our femininity.

I can argue that during the past years, as females, we had to operate with a masculine façade to be accepted and taken seriously.

I can personally attest to this exercise.

But by doing so, did we forget how to exercise power (now that we have it), as women? Now that we have a chance, do we even know how to “be who we are” as women?

To test my theory, I’ve been reading some of the new age philosophies about women empowerment and watching YouTube clips of the same sort; something like the #girlboss titles that garner millions of views. I have watched some of the shows that shamelessly push this agenda. Even scrolling through Instagram, you can see the overflow of “female empowerment” reels and quotes. Within all these mediums, “successful” and “empowered” women are being portrayed as tyrannical, rude, unapologetic, dismissive, sentimentally devoid entitled individuals, especially in relation to men.

Weren’t those the characteristic of patriarchy we were, supposedly, fighting against to claim our rights?

Somehow it seems that during our fight with the system for our emancipation, we got our enemies mixed up, and ended up fighting men.

Full-time mothers are deemed “unfulfilled” because they have to stay with the kids and support their husbands/ male partners. If a woman is unsuccessful at her job, it’s definitely because her male boss is unsupportive and oppressive. If a woman is unhappy in her relationship, it’s certainly because either her male partner is abusive or she had an abusive father, etc.

While these reasons might be true in many cases, surely, they are not the only reasons women struggle in every domain. Men are not the only reason for our failures.

If so, Am I stronger and successful, ONLY, if and when I defeat a man? More concerning is, Am I stronger, ONLY, if and when I defeat a man, in a man’s game, while pretending to be a man?

Alas, in this narrative, women are now the “nouveau riche” in the power arena.

Nouveau power

To appease the new “wealthy” demographic, traditional media, social media, and some literature is skewing public perception. It’s making us look more like the loud, logo-covered new rich kid with entitlement issues. For example, big franchise movies are changing narratives and making women the #BOSS by giving them the “pants” (pun intended). By doing so, they’re still hiring lean and slender actresses, but now their characters have abrasive attitudes mirroring that of a man, to boss men around. Have you seen Commander Holdo in the Star Wars movie?! Or the new Charlie’s angles film? How about the sequel for “sex and the city” called “and just like that”?

Women are only empowered or are the “boss” if they can command and dominate men when operating and behaving like men. They are not given the feminine substance of leadership. They get their way simply because they want it and now have the power to demand it. Otherwise, studios or content creators shall invoke the wrath of social media (which sometimes channels the Spanish inquisition as a form of assassination) to take down a multi-million-dollar project for being “politically incorrect” or “offensive”. The problem is, the efforts paid to portray strong women are so frail and superficial, even women can see past its paper-thin depth.

To make things worse, counter efforts are now gaining traction called “Toxic Feminism”. And who’s chartering this discussion? Well, MEN!

Johnny Depp and Will Smith are, alas, some of the high-profile victims, of what is now conceived as toxic feminism… Instead of blaming the perpetrators by name, unfortunately, feminism is being dragged into the conversation. And rightly so, because many women are using feminism as a cloak to cover their abuse, narcissism, and sense of entitlement. What’s escalating this issue is the exponential hype and the virality of the situation being aired out for everyone to see now that we have the newfound “power”. We, as a gender, are becoming easy targets for critique and judgment for the “have hads long before”. Much like “old money” vs. “new money” the former thinks we’re unworthy of our wealth, and we shall squander it recklessly and end up broke filing for chapter 11. What is scary, is if we end up calling on them for help!!!

The war is over – make peace!

While we are busy flaunting our newfound power and boasting in our new seat at the table, a greedy system that bets on the up-and-coming winning side is feeding our highs and derailing our real cause. It’s deluding us to think that we get to stay in power forever, even if we act like men. When we, as women, forget our femininity, our source of power, and disregard it, nay judge it, we are losing the essence of our being, an existential wipe out.

We’re getting busy with short-term investments hoping for big wins. We are forgetting that we’re also taking big risks. We are forgetting that for sustainability, we should think of the future. We should make long terms investments, create allies and more importantly learn from the “old power”, observe their techniques and learn their strategies and adapt them to us.

We are not here to fight, break, and dominate men. We are here to converse, build and work together!

We, and our ancestors before us, fought a system for so long. We won! The war is over. Put down your sword. We can now coexist.

We can be women, finally, without having to act like men.

References: Bank, M., 2012. Women of two countries: German-American women, women's rights and nativism, 1848-1890 (Vol. 2). Berghahn Books.
Milanovic, B., 2010. The haves and the have-nots: A brief and idiosyncratic history of global inequality. Basic Books (AZ).