What Does the Word Empower Mean to You?

Recently on ABC’s The View, a very lively, almost hostile, discussion broke out over the word “empower.” It seems that a young woman, a freshman at Duke University, who was involved in the porn industry said that her role in porn made her feel empowered over her life and those around her. She enjoys it and it enables her to pay for the almost $60,000 a year tuition. (click here to read the story).

Her use of the word “empower” brought about a significant battle between the women at The View. Whoopi Goldberg was of a mind that some women in this industry come from backgrounds where they had no control over what was done to them and if a woman finds empowerment in her life through porn, who are we to tell her how she should feel. 

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive. ~Howard Thurman

Others at the table felt that to use the word empower in the same sentence as porn sends the wrong message to our young girls; that to be empowered you have to make choices that you might not have made otherwise.

It got me to thinking…what does empower mean to you? 

Dictionary.com defines it so:

1. to give or delegate power or authority to; authorize
2. to give ability to; enable or permit

It is ironic that this young woman chose to use the word “empower” as it relates to her career choice in light of the fact that the Empowerment Foundation uses the word for the exact opposite reason. 

After the earthquake devastated Haiti young women and girls were more susceptible to instances of rape than ever before. The Empowerment Foundation was created to help educate and protect these women. They create Safety Kits which are available to women and include a whistle, a flashlight and resource information so they can get help. Now that is empowering.

Feeling empowered is more than just a job or a paycheck. The Possibility Coach network offers 10 Guideposts to Self Empowerment.  One of the guideposts is to cultivate a new mindset:

Cultivating a new mindset is about your willingness to grow and expand as a human being. Observe your current, dominant thoughts, beliefs and habits. Do they serve you in a positive manner or do they keep you stuck? Cultivating a new mindset is also about acknowledging that you can control your mind and that it does not have to be the other way around. In our seminars and coaching sessions, we share a variety of mindset changing techniques that can move anyone toward a state of well-being and self-empowerment.


In an article by Dr. Oz, he talks with Tony Robbins about self empowerment:

Tony Robbins, success and happiness can be found by meeting certain needs that are fundamental to the human experience. The tricky part, he says, is meeting these oftentimes conflicting needs in ways that are constructive, proactive and empowering. “It’s the way you get the needs that changes your life,” he says.

What does empower mean to you? Is it something you give away, give to yourself or is it a feeling, a sense of your well-being. What examples can you share of empowerment in your life? Visit our Facebook page to share.