To All The Women In The World

To All The Women In The World

It was in 2011 that I became a feminist. I was watching an episode of Disney’s ‘Ant Farm’ when one of the main characters said she was a feminist, intrigued by the word I decided to google it and when I found out what it meant, I immediately knew that was where I aligned myself politically. In the years following, I learned more about the world. I learned the history of the suffragettes and fights for women’s rights; I learned about the alarming amount of rapes, sexual assaults, harassment, and domestic abuse that women (and often men) face daily. When I started to use social media more I found out about the Black Lives Matter movement, I learned about the racism people face for just walking into a store; how people are shown differently in the media based on their gender identity, sexuality, race and religion and how punishments often don’t meet the crime because of judge’s racial bias and classism. I learned about the world and that it truly wasn’t the fairy-tale that was sold to us as children.

 

I learned about the world because people taught me, because women told their stories and fought for their rights so fiercely that society couldn’t silence us. Last year, I learned the definition of intersectional feminism because of ‘Green Box Shop’, an online company started by a young woman in America who promotes ‘authenticity, inclusivity and awareness’. If you’ve heard of the store it’s because it went viral last year when artists such as Frank Ocean and Zendaya started wearing her clothes.

 

The people who inspire me in this world are the women who constantly speak up and speak out about their struggles, issues in society and inequality. Women who educated me either directly or through a BuzzFeed article or Instagram post. The women who won’t let you use privilege to opt out of a discussion because you find it ‘upsetting’ or ‘uncomfortable’, because the very fact that we have that privilege means that it doesn’t happen to us, so while it may be uncomfortable and upsetting for us to hear, its worse for those who live with it, are victims of it, and become survivors by fighting through it.

 

So here are some of the women who changed my life, who opened my eyes and made me me, because they wouldn’t take ‘no’ from society for an answer.

 

#1. Emma Watson

We grew up watching her play Hermione Granger in Harry Potter but now she’s a social activist. Whether she’s telling off Ron and Harry for being idiots when there’s a war going on or standing in front of the UN giving a speech on equality, Emma Watson refuses to sit by silently. When Emma Watson first launched ‘He For She’ in front of the UN she said ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’, while she wasn’t the first person to say this, she was the first person I heard say it. This quote stayed with me for days, if not weeks after I first heard it. As a white, cis, hetero woman, it’s safe to say that I have a lot of privilege, even if I may not be the most privileged person in the world, I’m certainly not the least either. This quote gave me something to think about, while it would be easy for me to scroll past the countless posts on my feed about rape, mass shootings, and racism among so many other key issues right now, to do that is the equivalent, to me at least, of condoning the problem. Of saying ‘well yes, the shooting was wrong, but we don’t need to change gun laws’, to scroll past and ignore the problem did not make me a good person, just an ignorant one. So, to this day I have lived by those words, while I may not be able to change the problems the world currently faces (I am just one person after all), lending my voice or helping others to speak up can help, sharing an article could educate others. Emma Watson inspires me because she refuses to be silenced or let others be, she knows the power one voice can have, so now I know the power of mine.

Watch Emma Watsons speech here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkjW9PZBRfk

 

#2. Jameela Jamil

Do you know what a ‘Double Agent of the Patriarchy’ is? Because I didn’t until two months ago when Jameela Jamil popped up on my Facebook feed, and of course since I knew her and loved her from ‘The Good Place’ I had to click and watch. For those of you who don’t know a ‘Double Agent for the Patriarchy’ is a woman who promotes the patriarchal narrative (sometimes unknowingly), she is someone who benefits off, profits off and is selling the patriarchal narrative to women. Jamil gave a prime example that comes in the form of the Kardashians. The Kardashians often get themselves into controversy by selling weight loss products, having become so wrapped up in the ‘ideal body type’ that Kim recorded her sisters calling her anorexic as a compliment and posted it online. Selling the narrative of the patriarchy is bad enough in itself, let alone promoting an eating disorder. Jamil further emphasised how a lot of companies that sell these weight loss, anti-aging, etc products use young, slim wonder to advertise them. Encouraging the idea that no matter how slim you are or young you look there’s always room for improvement, women are not sold self-love, we are sold unattainable beauty. Why? I imagine because it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, and greed outweighs mental health in the corporate world. A point which Jamil confidently points out is not a good enough reason any more.

Jamil has also been incredibly open in the past over her struggles with anorexia when she was younger and also created an Instagram account to promote self-love called ‘i_weigh’ where people send in their picture as well as how they weigh themselves. Instead of weighing themselves by weight though, it’s by their achievements and what they like about themselves. Proving to the world that women weigh more than a number on a scale.

 

Follow ‘I weigh’ at:  https://www.instagram.com/i_weigh/?hl=en

Double Agents of the Patriarchy:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNuwaUUSZMM

Or for the full interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXzO0z6fmhI

 

#3. All the women who told their stories ‘Times Up’ and ‘Me too’

AKA, the women who opened the worlds eyes and refused to let them be shut. While ‘Me Too’ was originally started by Tarana Burke (an African American civil rights activist) it became popularised in 2017 by Alyssa Milano and has since spread across the internet and opened society’s eyes to just how many women are victims of sexual harassment, assault, rape, and domestic abuse. While we’ve always knows that there were a lot of women who had faced these struggles, hearing a statistic on the news, and hearing/reading a women’s personal story is different, not to mention powerful when combined with millions of others. A statistic can easily be forgotten, but a story can stick with you, and since the birth of this movement, the women who spoke out won’t let us forget, and wont stop fighting. When I first started seeing posts about the abuse that not only women, but also men and non-binary people had faced it was like walking into a brick wall. I was shocked. When sitting in modern studies class in school and being told that 1 in four women were victims of domestic abuse, not to mention the countless statistic on rape and sexual assault, could never have prepared me for the harsh reality of their stories. 

Following the ‘Me Too’ movement came the ‘Times Up’ movement that took off at the beginning of the year (or at least that’s when it was founded) following the accusations of assault against Harvey Weinstein women all over Hollywood spoke out about the abuse that they had faced in auditions and on set, an industry that was believed to be corrupt was finally being forced to change, once again proving that strength isn’t in just one voice, but in many. When we stand together we are a force to be reckoned with, no matter who tries to silence women or threatens us, when women support women, we are stronger.

Read more here:  http://time.com/5189945/whats-the-difference-between-the-metoo-and-times-up-movements/

 

#4. Terry Crews

I know that this article is meant to be about how women inspire me, but I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t include Terry Crews. He may not be a woman, but he is indeed an inspiration and an ally that I would like to acknowledge. Whether you know him from that iconic scene in white girls or from his hilarious work in Brooklynn 99, or from any of his amazing shows and films, you should know Terry Crews. Appearing as a masculine, strong man, I never would have guessed that when ‘Me Too’ was making its way round the internet, that Terry Crews would be one of the voices saying it. At the end of the day people tend to not believe men can be raped, there are so many scenes in film and media where men speak out about rape and their friends laugh and say how they’d love for a woman to do that to them, and while its portrayed as fiction, it happens in real life too. For Terry Crews however, he wasn’t assaulted by a woman, but by a man, a man that he knew and worked with. Terry Crews spoke out about what happened to them and since then he has continued to speak out about the abuse in Hollywood, he has continued to speak out about what happened when he was assaulted, how it affected his career and how it continues to. Not only that, he also speaks out about toxic masculinity, how men perceive women and how men need to support women. Terry Crews may not be a woman, but he inspires me, he spoke out about an issue that people don’t think happens to men especially when they look like him. And has continued to speak out against predators in Hollywood and supporting women ever since. It is important not only that women support women, but that humans support each other, and Terry Crews is a brilliant example of that.

Terry Cruz speaking about his assault: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MhS0D8FRCU

 

#5. Ariana Grande

There is no way I was getting through this list without mentioning this queen. Over the past couple of years Grande has been dealing with a lot. First there was the Manchester Bombing, then she was diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety, her break up with Mac Miller (and the hate she received for it), the death of Mac Miller (and the blame she received for his death), then the break up with Pete Davidson. Ariana Grandes past couple of years have been far from perfect, and yet somehow, she managed to survive it with her most recent album being emotionally vulnerable regarding her anxiety and her most recent song topping all the charts and breaking records left, right and centre. Grande is nothing less than iconic and I continue to be reminded of that every time I see her post on Instagram. She has spoken out countless times about how her mental health was affected following Manchester and her continued struggles with it, raising awareness for these conditions and helping to normalise them. Furthermore, she has called people out for blaming women for men’s actions by minimizing ‘female self-respect and self-worth’. Grande refuses to let herself or other women be walked on and isn’t afraid to be shady when its required.

 

More on her latest album: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-album-reviews/review-ariana-grande-finds-serenity-and-has-some-fun-on-sweetener-713404/

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/ariana-grande-breathin-thank-u-next-pop-charts-754240/

‘Thank u, Next’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OeR5XBEahU

 

#6. Demi Lovato

The Popstar, the Myth, the Legend, the woman I google daily because I am invested in her recovery. Demi Lovato is a goddess, there I said it, I love her. Ever since her Disney downfall when she went to rehab to deal with her drug addiction, depression and eating disorder Lovato has been nothing but honest about her life. Speaking openly and honestly about her struggles and continuing to support the centre that helped her through her recovery, Demi Lovato is someone that should be a role model. Following her recent relapse, I saw a lot online about how she wasn’t fit to be a good role model for kids and I have to say I disagree. While I would never argue in support of illegal drugs, and while I can understand a parent sudden need to hide their children from Lovato’s relapse, I don’t think shunning a woman for making a mistake is the right solution.

Lovato has been nothing but honest about her struggles and her addiction, and the truth about addicts is sometimes they relapse. Some of those who relapse never make it to recovery, but Lovato did, and she went to rehab and worked for her recovery. She continues to be an honest representation of what addiction is, it’s a constant struggle. When you become sober the urge doesn’t suddenly go away but it fades, and when times are tough the temptation remains to go back. Lovato apologised to her friends, family and fans for her relapse through her song ‘Sober’ and always has promoted positive mental health, body confidence/positivity, and recovery. Showing our children, the truth of the world isn’t a bad thing, it lets people know that struggles are normal, it’s how we deal with them that counts. I am happy to report that a few months after her overdose Lovato is doing well, while I imagine that life may continue to not be easy for her, Lovato proves herself to be a fighter and offers something unique to the world.

How Demi faces her demons: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jul/25/how-demi-lovato-faces-her-demons-addiction-mental-illness

Demi Lovato ‘Sober’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vORIohoI4m0

 

#7. Women

This article is about the women who inspire me, and that is every woman who refuses to be silent. Even if we don’t agree on issues or don’t have everything in common, so long as your values do not harm anyone, then I’d say I’m inspired by you. Strong minded women are exactly what this world needs right now. Whether all you do is get out of bed in the morning or you’re leading a political storm to change the world for the better, you are an inspiration.

 

Well if you’ve made it this far then I think congratulations are in order (seriously, well done, I didn’t not expect to write this much). To all the women in the world, keep fighting, keep speaking out, and don’t let this world get you down. The world needs you right now.

So, the next time someone tells you that you’re sharing an article on Facebook doesn’t matter, or that one voice won’t change the world, remind them that we aren’t just one voice, but were half a world of women. And as my mum always says, the reason men try to keep women down is because they’re scared of what well do.

There’s nothing that creates more fear in the patriarchy than a bunch of angry women who want change.

 

If you’ve been affected by any of the issues in this post here are some links that may help:

Domestic Abuse:

https://www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/helpline/

Suicide Hotline:

https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us?gclid=CjwKCAiA_ZTfBRBjEiwAN6YG4dbrGUnQBgyrvE_E0FG8sDWmpHIIqSWdA0YXi9Kl5cb8SAHYwYsnvxoCxdMQAvD_BwE

Sexual Assault:

https://www.safeline.org.uk/

Drug Abuse:

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/drug-addiction-getting-help/

Any of the above and mental illness:

https://www.nightline.ac.uk/

 

All photos are sourced from Google.