What a Free Woman Looks Like

Today I chatted with a friend about some of the most influential Black women in popular culture. We talked about the Nicki Minaj/Lil Kim battle, Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey. I felt like I was undergoing a G-20 classified security clearance for a rouge feminist operation. I felt most at ease when he asked “what does a free woman look like?” and “what is her life like?”

Well I’m a woman. I also happen to be a woman in the pursuit of freedom. I started the Freedom Pages with idea to share with folks my musings on this journey towards freedom. Reading Pearl Cleage’s “I Wish I Had a Red Dress” novel was the first time I read a list of all things a Free Woman should possess. Her list impacted me so deeply. It was one of the reasons I decided to go to Haiti. So I decided to compile what we discussed along with some more ideas below.

1. A free woman has the  power to choose.

2. A free woman has the ability to make informed choices.

3. A free woman uses new tools to build her house.

4. A free woman is educated about the world around her.

5. A free woman has options and has the choice to explore them or not.

6. A free woman takes risks.

7. A free woman understands that she can only control actions of her own.

8. A free woman uses self-reflection as a platform for growth.

9. A free woman helps other women and girls become free.

10. A free woman defines and affirms her own image.

11. A free woman understands and embraces her body.

12. A free woman experiences and confronts challenges in life.

13. A free woman values relationships.

14. A free woman will read this list and begin to define what it means to be free for herself.

What do you think a free woman looks like? What does her life look like? What would you add to this list? Take away?



  1. I love that you mentioned Pearl Cleage, who is BY FAR, my favorite author. I am always inspired by people, women, in particular, seeking freedom. Society attempts to put so many barriers in our way (gender-based, education-based, socio-economic, etc.) that achieving true freedom can be difficult, especially when you haven’t been raised with, or developed, the “I can do anything I set my mind to” mentality. That, in addition to living in fear (fear of failure, fear of poverty, fear of loneliness, etc.) can greatly hamper one’s journey to freedom. I’m working on mine and I wish you all the best on yours.

  2. I love this. I need to add that book to my reading list asap. In thinking of myself and what I’m striving for, I’d add (among many more) “A free woman trusts in herself and her ability to make sound decisions”.

  3. What do you mean by #3 “A free woman uses new tools to build her house”? Physical tools to build an actual house or something else?

    I think that’s an excellent list, I love each one and am reflecting on their presence in my own life

  4. Love this! Especially, the notes that emphasize self-reflection as a form of growth and helping our sisters to be all they can be as well. Change begins with us, so if we’re not willing to put in work to improve ourselves, then our sisters (and families and larger community) can just forget it….

  5. Love this. My own addition would be: A free woman is confident in her ability to contribute to and improve the world around her. A free woman is constantly learning and creating without fear of reprisal or shutdown.

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