It is International Women’s day and the theme is ‘Be Bold for Change’. This day was first celebrated in 1909 and the day is now an official holiday in several countries including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mongolia, Vietnam and Zambia and for women only in countries including China, Madagascar and Nepal. Which begs the question; why not in the UK? Seems prime time with the presence of Theresa May at our helm!
Of late, while working on empowering young women to believe that they can be awesome no matter what shape, I have become quite fascinated by 21st C positive role models. Current female icons come in with a variety of professions, of creeds, shapes and sizes. Theresa May undoubtedly provides us with the message that as women, we can be powerful whilst maintaining an interest in fashion and still give a damn what shoes we wear (her range of footwear has been a talking point since she took up the role in July). However, did we care what shoes David Cameron wore? I don’t recall this being big news, in fact I just googled ‘David Cameron shoes’ which gave me a picture of Samantha in flip flops. Do you catch my drift? There is still such a long way to go before women can be valued for their professional skills without the fascination of image rearing its competitive and judgemental head.
Whilst compiling a list of ‘body positive’ role-models for my clients I came across some gorgeously outspoken plus sized models, models who speak out against the harmful ‘skinny’ talk of model agencies, and stocky yoga types who love what they do and who they are. There are women who put us back in touch with our SHE power, who deconstruct taboos on female body topics, normalising the language of monthly cycles and mother-nature. There are brilliant actresses such as Kate Winslet who speak out on body image in order to inspire acceptance, she recently spoke these wonderful words,
“I resent that there is an image of perfection that is getting thinner and thinner. I hope that in some small way I’m able to say, ‘I’m a normal person; I’m doing all right. I’ve got a lovely husband and children, and I didn’t lose weight to find those things, and those things are what should be important.’
Then there’s Adele who never fails to say it with a brilliantly blunt edge,
“I love food and hate exercise. I don’t have time to work out… I don’t want to be on the cover of Playboy or Vogue. I want to be on the cover of Rolling Stone or Q. … my aim in life is never to be skinny.”
So there are, I have found, an abundance of awesome female folk to carry us along on our journey to accept who we are and where we are at. Women are pushing forward with this movement using passion and creativity. I wonder where men are with this trend towards self-acceptance. Is it that historically the gender supreme feel no requirement, are they already there? A google search with the words ‘plus sized model’ brings up oodles of proudly born female flesh. But when googling ‘plus sized male model’ we get suit, modesty, no flesh. I cannot find an image of a true plus sized male getting it all out in a gesture of ‘I am who I am’ abandonment.
As females we are bold for change! Perhaps we are ahead of the game.