There is a fierce Warrior Queen inside every AAPI woman and girl.
But what is a Warrior Queen? She is the part of each of us that refuses to let anyone else tell her who she is––she defines herself, letting no one else dictate that for her.
In modern life, we have so many parts to play: Grandmother, mother, aunt, sister, daughter and friend, and also wife, employee, boss, neighbor. There are so many pressures to be a “good daughter” or “obedient wife” or “dedicated worker” it can be hard to define where our self ends and the expectations we place on ourselves begin. The Warrior Queen in us knows that we do each of those roles best when we come back to knowing who we, ourselves, are.
Becoming a Warrior Queen is accessible to every Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) woman. The story of the Rani Lakshmibai told in The Warrior Queen of Jhansi is representative of so many––she didn’t come from money, her mother died when she was young, and she also married young at 14. Yet she was able to overcome many barriers to lead a rebellion against a much larger British force because she believed in the fire within her, that she was right to protect her people and her land. Her story connects with so many who can see themselves in the Rani’s fight.
Our battles aren’t always so literal in 2022. Our fierceness must be. AAPI women face hate-driven incidents nearly twice as often as AAPI men, and most often in places of business, and on public sidewalks and streets. If we let them, many would keep us hidden and silent.
That’s why Swati Bhise created the Warrior Queen Project: so AAPI women wouldn’t forget that they themselves are Warrior Queens by celebrating how powerful we are. AAPI women come from so many different backgrounds but we all want to be in charge of defining and creating our own selves. That drive for self-determination needs to be celebrated!
Science has shown that encouragement and empowerment help people have a more open mindset and achieve their goals. AAPI women need to be expressly encouraged and empowered by those who want them to succeed. Ultimately the only person who needs to like us at the end of the day is ourselves, though. Those around us should help us better love ourselves. It’s better to not have to fight all our battles alone, especially if we have the support of other Warrior Queens.
Becoming a Warrior Queen is accessible to all of us, but we have to be willing to sit with ourselves and ask, “Who am I?” In the Warrior Queen Action Kit, AAPI women will find themselves walking alongside the Rani to uncover and strengthen the traits of a Warrior Queen within themselves. You may think you should already know who you are, so it can be scary to embark on really discovering your true self. We wanted to make sure you knew you weren’t alone, now or through history. The Rani of Jhansi also had to make unpopular, or countercultural decisions in order to live as herself. Today she is celebrated as a hero for her actions.
We want every AAPI woman to be celebrated for being true to themselves and defining themselves. To do that, it’s important to share all of our stories of the battles we face. Some may be ready to stand up and share how they overcame the expectation of abandoning themselves in service to others. Some aren’t ready to share but need to know they’re not alone in feeling anxious or scared. We all need to be reminded sometimes that we are, in fact, Warrior Queens.
Community is key for Warrior Queens to thrive. At the Warrior Queen Project, we hope you’ll get in contact with us to share your progress in the Action Kit, what you learn about yourself, or how you stood up for yourself in life’s battles. Women’s empowerment of each other is so meaningful and we want to help you not only rise up but to help you help others.
The Warrior Queen in you depends on five pillars: Your voice, determination, boldness, sisterhood and resilience.
Our Action Kit will help you determine how you can use your voice to speak up for yourself and other AAPI women.
Determination helps us keep our eyes on our goals and progressing towards them.
Often we have to be bold when we define ourselves. There are so many systems and means attempting to keep us from deviating from the traditional or accepted path. We must accept ourselves first, though!
Sisterhood is the community we maintain for our empowerment. Rather than being intimidated by strong women, we can find inspiration among them.
Resilience is our ability to get back up when we’re knocked down. And we do know how to get back up––we just need some help sometimes.
Working to prioritize these characteristics will bring you closer to your inner-Warrior Queen. We’re here to help you keep going when others tell you you can’t do it. We’re also here to celebrate with you when you do it anyway. Your dedication to yourself will have positive benefits for generations to come. Warrior Queens create the ability for others to rise up and live more authentically to themselves, including our daughters and sons, nieces and nephews, and grandsons and granddaughters.
By going through your own challenges and reaffirming the Warrior Queen within, you don’t have to be afraid. All of us will face challenges, but you’ll be ready for them.