Is it possible women have been a pawn in someone else’s playbook? Is it possible we are being played again during the 2020 election? I have to step back and reflect upon how the appearance of women’s advancements in society might just be manipulation in its truest form.

As women, we are part of a larger collective story playing out day after day across the world. In fact, we are at the precipice of a tipping point for the empowerment of women and a very different reality for all. But it is important to stop and look at events — both current and past — and ask some tough questions. Then we can decide how we move forward with our understanding of the narrative at play.

Many speeches during the recent Democratic National Convention talked a lot about the power of women and even showcased a woman as the Vice Presidential candidate for the party’s ticket — it was interesting how the “woman card” can be used to the narrative of a political party to appear to be advancing women in society. We saw some of the same dynamics playing out at the Republican National Convention as well.

Is it possible that these “agendas” were simply one more attempt in a long history of the manipulation of the modern woman?

Looking back at significant historic moments championing women, is it possible something else manipulated the events and outcomes? I suggest closely looking at historical and social events.

For example, during the movement for a woman’s right to vote, “torches of freedom” events encouraged women to smoke cigarettes in a public setting. In April of 1929, during an Easter Sunday parade in NYC, a group of women were seen puffing on cigarettes while they walked down 5th Avenue, which was unheard of in those days! A reporter approached one of the women following the parade to ask why and she called cigarettes “torches of freedom,” setting off a firestorm of coverage.

This was intended to appear as empowerment, demonstrating women’s equality with men — but it was really designed by Edward Bernays, a PR mastermind for capitalism supporting his client, the American Tobacco company. Thus, the movement the stage for women to be a pawn in someone else’s playbook.

Or consider the fact that the early days of the feminist movement were shaped in large part by CIA operative Gloria Steinem. Even the infamous Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade may be more than it seems at first glance.

Even in a vote that led us all to believe freedom of choice is a good thing for women, Roe v. Wade actually used women as a pawn in the ongoing quest to implement a “eugenics” program under the guise of “choice.” We were fooled by one of the biggest chapters in the quest for women’s empowerment. Yet few know this or would believe it.

Tips to Discern if an Event Is a Chess Move or True Advancement for Women

1. Connect the dots: Look back at key events in the women’s movement over the past 100 years. Ask if it served someone else’s agenda, and why it happened? Even looking at recent advances for women in 2020 can offer important clarity so you can claim sovereignty over your own decision and stop being a pawn in someone else’s game.  

2. Double-check your assumptions: Many of our beliefs are based on how we were raised.  History shows that many of those beliefs were influenced by things that were not true. Books and articles supporting these facts are in the public domain, yet are virtually ignored or suppressed. One danger is that we no longer trust ourselves. Our gut or intuition sends signals that something isn’t right, but we are often paralyzed and we allow self-doubt to take over. We find ourselves confined by the “everyone else believes it” bias. Have we lost touch with the intuitive intelligence we were born with?

3. Question everything: If women as a group have been played in the past, is it possible we are being played again? What does someone have to gain by that? Who benefits? Follow the money.  It takes effort to stop repeating the narrative. It is important to remember that what we focus on grows. Each time you speak, consciously choose to tell a new story, and stop giving power to the old narrative.

The generations before us had little choice but to see the world through his-story; however, we live in an unprecedented time when we don’t have to. We are at a crossroads. We can choose to see a more balanced view of the world by asking ourselves each day with each choice, “What could her-story look like?” Remember, it naturally evolves into our story because that is how women are innately designed. It is my deep desire that we will not need to have these same conversations one hundred years from now. And that means we need to embrace new ways of thinking today. Don’t settle for being manipulated on any level.