Wednesday, 7 March 2018

In Honour Of International Women's Day: Supporting The Movement

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY, GANG! I'm 99% sure your Insta/Twitter/Bloglovin' feeds are totally inundated with IDW posts on this fine Thursday, but I felt it only right to share my own love for this special/needed/historic day and write a lil on overthrowing the patriarchy. Y'know, just some light mid-week reading. In all seriousness, feminism, women's rights and the likes of movements such as #MeToo are taking centre stage right now (about bloody time) and I feel so fortunate to be living through a period in which hopefully serious and notable progress will be made for women in their careers, home lives and society's perception of their place as a whole. Bringing these issues into the limelight is of course a positive, and I'm really excited to see where the media attention for these issues will lead us, however I want to initially begin by saying that we still have such a long way to go when it comes to projecting the voices of WOC, those from minority backgrounds and less privileged females who don't confirm to media ideals. HOPEFULLY this will be a change we see occurring in years to come.

I recently read an email from a political party who's newsletter I began receiving during the last general election, and it pointed out the gender divide of men vs women in parliament which left me feeling so. very. angry. In the past 100 years, there have been 2 women named Charlotte in parliament. 2. To put that into perspective, in the past 100 years also, there have also been 403 Johns, 233 William’s and 156 George's. It's clear that so much change needs to happen before an equal society is reached and women are able to pursue the same opportunities and roles as men in the work place, but I think feeling empowered in oneself is one of the most powerful weapons we have in using our privileges to challenge everyday sexism. 

On this International Women's Day, I want to talk about feeling empowered, inspired and 100% bad ass' when it comes to saying 'yes' to things we previously felt we weren't good enough for. Whether that be feeling confident in applying for the job you've always wanted, going outside your comfort zone into a male dominated sphere (aka every sphere) or just generally surrounding yourself with females who make you feel 10/10 and support you every step of the way. Social media is one of the most accessible means by which I personally do this, and over the years feel confident and happy that the ladies I follow online share empowering, positive and motivational messages that help me in so many aspects of my life. Whether that's learning about sex education with Hannah Witton, opening my eyes to issues of race and inequality through Kristabel's blog, or discovering more about mental health and therapy with Grace Victory, there are so many bad ass' women on the internet, slaying their way through life and being their own bosses in the most inspirational ways. Extending this to my IRL friendships, I again feel so content with the supportive network of females I'm surrounded by on a day-to-day basis, and knowing I always have these ladies to fall back on when I'm struggling is 100% what has got me through so many hard times. Female friendships are empowering, they're unique and they're special, and I'd like to take this moment to shoutout to the amaze women in my life who make me feel great on the daily. 

With the power of social media, there are so many ways in which you can find other incredible, likeminded females, so even if your real life network isn't as supportive as you would like, I hope the internet and thousands of inspiring ladies out there who are working towards the same goals can provide some comfort and love! My Twitter DMs are always open!

Since we're talking about the power of social media, there are tonnes of charities, projects and individuals out there creating incredible social change and paving the way for the women in the future and we can all help to build these platforms and make more of this already incredible community.  Some of my favourite Instagram accounts include The Pink Protest- home of the #FreePeriods movement which calls up Theresa May to provide free menstrual products to all girls receiving free school meals. Thousands of teen girls are missing school because they cannot afford the 'luxury' that is sanitary towels and tampons and this is something that so desperately needs to change. Menstruating is no luxury, and the taxes and often high costs (menstrual products cost more than £18,000 in a women’s life, £13 every month) of period products means those already living in poverty or as part of low income families simply have no choice but to miss school during their time of the month. I'm so grateful for the work the women behind The Pink Protest do, and it's absolutely a movement I'll be following closely over time in the hopes of seeing real change for young females from low income families. Other notable online movements which are important to become engaged in include #TimesUp and #MeToo- the movements tackling sexual harassment in the entertainment industries and bringing the idea of consent to the forefront of the media today). #WomensMarch- an amazing online movement that aims to harness the political power of women from ALL backgrounds to create transformative social change, inter-sectionally, and SadGirlsCluba community within the world of mental health aiming to ignite conversations amongst millennials. Following feminist accounts online can seem like such a small action that has little impact, but becoming more educated on issues that affect women of all backgrounds and adding fuel and momentum to these movements all contributes to spreading their wider messages and creating a society which is more progressive in its stance towards issues faced by women. 
And finally, after growing and learning and recognising privileges, I think it's paramount as part of International Women's Day to look inward and realise how much of a QUEEN you are. I spend so much of my time beating myself up, telling myself I'm not good enough and generally taking a rather negative attitude. This IWD, I'm going to be kind to myself, I'm going to take time out to do things for me, and I'm going to start some self love that I hope to continue from now on! Struggling with an eating disorder and body dysmorphia has trained my brain to think very negatively and harshly about not only appearance, but also my capabilities, talents and personality. I think deep down I know I'm not a terrible person, but I desperately want to make more of an effort to actively think good thoughts about myself and channel this mindset every, single day. I know I wouldn't think so cruelly about other women, so it makes no sense to be so negative towards myself! I totally encourage you to also channel this outlook because I think so often it's ingrained in us as women that we're not good enough or that there's always more we could be doing to improve, grow and simply be 'better'. Sometimes just being yourself is absolutely enough!!! 

I really hope this post has provided you with some food for thought this International Women's Day and inspired you to feel empowered in yourself, but also simply as a women with integrity and dreams. Here's to a world where we feel can be as inspired for change everyday as we do on IWD. Cheers to girl power!
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