International Women’s Day 8th March 2018. It marks a time that we can celebrate women from every corner of the globe. Whether that be for their academia, their achievements, philanthropy or talent, regardless of their background, ethnicity, or social platform.
It is a blessing of a day that having originated in 1911 by the overwhelming force of The Suffragettes, marks the start of a year of campaigning and commitment all in respect of ensuring equality between the genders.
This year, this seems to be all the more poignant given the rise of movements including #MeToo and #TimesUp, where women found their voice and their power to speak out about the mistreatment received at the hands of their colleagues, employers and peers.
Largely the focus will be on gender parity, the reduction of the gender pay gap, forging the path for women success and of course the celebration of all things women.
I however, wanted to touch on what we should stop women being celebrated for… and that is their bodies.
The Media. It’s a great thing, it creates opportunity, networks and platforms exactly as this very campaign for IWD. But it can be poisonous; viscous almost.
Let’s start with a few of the hashtags that might not be so positively construed, FitNotThin- created with the best of intentions but has now gone onto fuel the rise of clean eating and an unhealthy obsession with exercise. StrongNotSkinny is just another example of this. The images attached to these hashtags capture just a moment in time, the reality behind the photo may be one of misery, compulsion and distortion but that photo personifies perfection and the pursuit of that ideal becomes exhausting and relentless.
Now I am a self confessed glossy mag addict, and it is my guilty pleasure once a week to indulge. But the fixation on the female form is almost an obsession in itself.
In some of the more trashy and appalling publications , I have read articles that tell me the weights that celebrities are coming in at. Now a few points in relation to this:
- How on earth do the magazines even begin to gather this type of information? I can assure you that my response would be simply to FUCK OFF if someone asked me my weight
- What, and I mean what on earth has the knowledge of their supposed weight added to my life apart from to induce a degree of self comparison and no doubt self loathing.
- And finally, whilst being a celebrity does invite a certain amount of speculation from the public eye, surely the consideration of their weight is intrusive beyond all belief.
The media encourage us to celebrate these women based on their weight- and most probably a incorrect weight at that! Our press dedicate pages of their magazines to a number on the scale that gives no insight into the personal achievements or endeavours of the stars. It tells us nothing of their real worth, because worth and value is far greater than a number on a scale.
When this image was first circulated, the beautiful and talented Jennifer Aniston got absolutely lambasted by the press and of course the endless speculation to an imminent pregnancy announcement increased ten fold. Now what do you see? Because, I see a women who isn’t fat or skinny, round or straight but simply a woman who is on holiday, she is relaxing and content. She looks comfortable and at ease. She isn’t flaunting her body, nor is she hiding it and why should she.
We should celebrate her for simply being, for having to put up with the relentless attention that she receives because of her body. But far more than that, she is a comedienne of incredible heights, gave us the Rachel Hair do and has donated her time and money into a number of charities.
Most of my friends have now gone to achieve the most amazing achievements of their life, and that in my eyes is to have a child. To grow another human, is just one of the most incredible things that the female body can do. The body changes physically, hormonally and emotionally- by the end of those nine precious months women are physically bloody knackered, but alas this is where the fun of a new born and lack of sleep really begins.
The incredible Giovanni Fletcher spoke publicly about the body shaming she received from another woman just 11 days after giving birth to her second child.
This is how she responded:
“Yes, I still have a bump. But that bump kept my little baby boy safe for a whole ninemonths. That bump has filled my world with even more love and light than I knew possible. That bump is a miracle worker…”
How amazing is she to acknowledge this? To say “Yes, I have wobbly belly, but who the hell cares?” And actually who does care? I certainly don’t, she’s right- yes she gained weight, probably a little cellulite, a few stretch marks perhaps but she gave birth to a beautiful baby, she bore a life and has given the world a real blessing. That should be celebrated, surely?
So there we have it folks, Happy International Woman’s Day, here is to a celebration of woman regardless of their size, body shape, weight, appearance, style, hair colour or cup size! Who cares? Celebrate the women within, because we are bloody amazing from the inside out.