My 'day late' blog for #IWD2021 and the tendency and societal normalcy of comparing women.
Anyone who knows a thing about blogging would know that you probably aren't supposed to wait until eleven at night on the day to even start writing your International Womens Day blog. This is what I did last night, didn't finish it and then slept in this morning, so here I am almost 24 hours later trying to finish what I've started. "I am a finisher. I am a finisher"...affirmations game is strong! I don't really plan my writing, which let's face is hardly going to be a shocking revelation to anyone. I just see if the inspiration comes and if I feel compelled to write. If I don't then I, or no one will lose any sleep about it. Actually I clearly gained A LOT of sleep about it since I woke up at 09:57 this morning for a 10 o'clock start. I am taking it as a HUGE achievement that after a year of working from home this is the one and only time that I've done any work in my jammies and I'm taking that as a win.
I also had a packed schedule last night with tweeting complaints to an excruciatingly frustrating broadband provider...still ongoing, the hotly anticipated Harry & Meghan interview and my usual, fairly newly adopted "Monday self-care" routine. Thinking I probably offset the desired effects of the 'Moisture Bomb" facemask by staying up late but imagine what I'd have looked like to absolutely no one, other than my bubble today if I hadn't...not even worth thinking about. Nevertheless, I have been trying to make Monday nights a bit of a "self-care night" and last night's routine, despite the customer service or lack there of, was even better as me and two of my best girls put our face masks on 'together'. Well, I mean we sat in our own homes, separated by 223 miles of land and sea and sent snaps to each other on Whatsapp. That's the same, right? We felt connected and that's all that matters. Now more than ever!
International Womens Day is quickly becoming one of my favourite days of the year. I used to think it was a bit of a cliché or something thought up on social media but in recent years, and this year more than ever, I loved it and really embraced and committed to it! SO much commitment that I'm releasing my blog on it the day after it. I guess we should celebrate women everyday and I can use this as a valid excuse for my tardiness. Before I, myself would post on social media about the day, I've always loved being tagged in peoples' posts about it and humbled that they think of me as an International (and dare I say inspirational) Woman. I know we all are, but it's so nice to be told that and especially by someone you really admire too. There's a day dedicated to that? How great is that? So, it is not a cliché. It is not pointless. It is important to reflect, take stock, see how far we've come and where we're going next. This year's theme of #ChooseToChallenge really struck a chord with me big time. It encompasses so many meanings and interpretations. The privelege of choosing. The power of change. The adversity you will undoubtedly face but you'll do it anyway. What a beautiful thing- having the choice to use your power and influence to change the world. Is there a greater gift?
So as I've mentioned in this blog before that I am an absolute "Tribeswoman"! See another blog piece on this linked below (wink wink!) I have girl tribes in so many areas of my life and they can only ever have successful outcomes. There are nearly 4 billion women (well really 3,710,295,643, according to Google) and no two women are the same, even if they look the same, for any smart a***es out there! The number of women that you can connect with, champion, cheer on and 'back' is infinite. To quote Mean Girls "the limit does not exist!"- such a millennial! You can have girl tribes in every area of your life and it will only enhance your life and increase your possibilities and potential. There is no competition. Their success is your success and yours theirs. The things you #ChooseToChallenge won't always be easy but with the right cheerleading squad you can only win.
This isn't a blog particularly about the Harry and Meghan documentary but as I've just watched it last night it is still floating about in my mind. Don't worry, I'm not a spoiler if you haven't seen it yet. But really if you haven't, where were you? Listening to Meghan speak just confirmed some of the beliefs I have had for a long time about the comparisons that are automatically made between women. Why can't both women be beautiful? Why can't both be smart? Why can't both be deserving of love and praise and acceptance? We live in a world of abundance and diversity and as cheesy as some people may find this statement there really is enough love to go around. Meghan summed it up perfectly with her statement, "you don't need to hate her to love me" or vice versa. Why do we live in a world where women can't even be equal to each other? How can we expect true, real and meaningful equality and equity when we can't find it amongst ourselves or when it has just become the natural order of things to compare.
This made me reflect on something that really got on my nerves (a lot does) many years ago when I watched Kate Middleton award Jessica Ennis (without the -Hill at this point) a Sports Personality of The Year (or similar) award. This was not long after London 2012 and Ennis had had a record breaking Olympics, on home soil. It was a beautiful moment. Of course both women looked simply stunning, (they both would in bin bags) but surely that wouldn't be the main talking point, right? WRONG. Every newspaper the following day was asking the nation who was better dressed. Sorry, but YAWN!!! I am glad to say things have ever so slightly improved and the "best and worst dressed" and "circle of shame" magazine segments, pointing out the 'flaws' in people seem to be increasingly rare nowadays but have things seriously got better? I'm ashamed to say I used to read these types of magazines but I certainly wouldn't now. I've grown in years and as a person and why would I want to fill my mind with that? I feel relieved that many people would challenge blatant bullying and body shaming but what about the underhand, manipulative, 'under the radar' stuff. It's sadly likely far more dangerous.
The comparison of women is not a new phenomenon of course- think Diana and Fergie too! I honestly think it has become so embedded in society that people likely don't always consciously realise that they're doing it or even think anything wrong with it. This is where #ChooseToChallenge comes in, it's the only way to make change and a lot of the challenging starts with inner work on yourself. This isn't me preaching here as there will be SO many times I've kept my mouth shut or even taken part. A personal anecdote which sticks in my mind from when I was younger was when a young male (probably a friend at the time) when discussing two sisters' appearance came up with the genius solution; "if you just put her head on her body, she'd be amazing." That was at least half my life ago but I still remember it so clearly. Admittedly, I didn't challenge at the time and I must confess I do find the anatomical impossibility a tiny bit amusing. It's funny I can't remember who the male was but I remember the two sisters. I'm hoping it's because I felt sorry for them walking around totally oblivious to someone wanting to decapitate them than the fact I just let him off 'scot free' but I'm not 100% confident on that. For the record, these two sisters were, and still are very amazing in their own right and fully in tact. I guess my point is I've not always made the right choices either and haven't always been the best ally to my sisters.
I'm starting to know who who I AM...at 32! Yay! Someone once told me that "I AM" are the two most powerful words that you can ever say to yourself. I listen to the same recording every morning by Samuel L Jackson and others (link below) in which he asks, "What kind of I AMs are coming out of your mouth?" It may be a little unconventional to round up a piece about International Womens Day with a video with male voices but men are equally important in the fight for equality and so many are joining in- yay to these men! Also, it's just a brilliant video! So I'll end on some of my own I AMs! I AM that woman who isn't perfect...I AM that woman who can look far different to how she feels...I AM that woman who purchases a subscription for a newspaper in the Outer Hebrides just because her bestie works there (it's brill by the way)...I AM that woman whose 2020 Spotify round up was shockingly about 80% white male...I AM that woman who has since made playlists dedicated to only female and BAME artists so that 2021 sounds more diverse (hit me up with recommendations)...I AM that woman who aims to educate herself on the struggles of others, whilst knowing I'll only ever scratch the surface if I'm lucky...I AM a woman whose aware of her privelege but is also entitled to complain...I AM that woman who will listen and learn from others...I AM that woman who will still get p***ed off but will find solace in the sisterhoods that I have created. I AM a human. I AM a woman. I am an International Woman...and I am choosing to challenge!
My blog on the Netflix film Strip Down, Rise Up- https://www.auntielainey.com/post/strip-down-rise-up-a-tribeswoman-s-response
MORNING MOTIVATION- What successful People Do In the First 8 Minutes of Their Morning- https://youtu.be/3WYYUROpgbs
Acknowledgements: Unearth Your Power