Photo by Radomir Jordanovic
Culture Empowerment

How We See Women

I have recently seen a TEDx talk given by Jean Kilbourne on the dangerous ways ads see women and even though I was very aware of this, some of the ads completely blew my mind. There was one particular vintage ad that stated that you will never have great or satisfying breasts, but at least you could have great hair. This was an ad in a magazine for teenagers. And I realized that things really haven’t changed…

If you type in on YouTube “How we see women”, you get comedy sketches on “Women can make anything an insult”, “What every man needs to know about women”, “Men don’t see women all the way human” – wait, what?, even videos created by women about seduction and how to get a man and very few videos about empowerment and about how women actually feel. So, even if there are so many amazing voices out there, I feel that the narrative is still going against us.

We need more brave, fierce and daring girls!

What do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a small town in Romania and talked with a couple of young girls. I asked them what they want to be when they grow up. They all replied: hair-dresser. While there is nothing wrong with being a hair-dresser and it can actually be a very well paid profession, I was so surprised that they ALL shared the same dream. What happened with “I want to be an actress”, “I want to travel the world”, “I want to be a billionaire”, “I want to be a doctor”. While the girls shared the same dream, the boys in their group wanted to be rich, football players, inventors and so on. Why is that? Why do we teach our girls to be pretty and not at all courageous and we teach our boys to be brave and dream big?

When I was a kid, in middle school, the girls were usually top of the class. Smart, hard working, intuitive and skilled. Then, high school comes and we become less confident. And the media doesn’t help us at all. The media tells you that you have to look in a certain way, to act in a certain way, to be polite, to smile, to ask for help. Well, fuck that! Nice girls don’t change the world! We need more brave, fierce and daring girls!

The Stereotypes

Women in film have also been portrayed in the same way for decades. We have the same stereotypes: the hot seductive blonde, the nice girl next door, the bride, the virgin, the nerd, the dream girl, the bitch, the gold digger, the fashionista – and when a girl has balls, she is definitely a psycho.

Yes, we came a long way when you think that 100 years ago we didn’t have the right to vote, but there is still a lot to fight for and a lot to conquer. Women are vulnerable but men are vulnerable too. We are all the same, we have the same emotions, the same desires. This is the equality that I want. We don’t need to dominate one another, we need to collaborate, to win together, to respect each other.

The Muses and The Thinkers

Women have always been muses, the ones who inspired men, who brought beauty and sex, but who were not allowed to think. Who cared about their opinions? Their power, intuition and smarts? We do have numerous examples of women who changed the world from Cleopatra to Marie Curie and Ada Lovelace. Did you know that Lovelace is thought to be the first computer programmer? She was a brilliant mathematician, but we do not learn about her as the pages of history are written by the less courageous.

Women are still seen as the ones who need to satisfy the world, to heal the world and to nurture. They need to be beautiful, following the standards, forever young and simply lovely. They are seen as crazy if they fight, hysterical sometimes. They struggle to look in a certain way all the time. If somehow they don’t meet the standards, they are banned. Not accepted by the world. Who says who is beautiful? Who determines what is beautiful? The big companies, the ads? Those marketing campaigns that make you doubt yourself to buy their product? Do we really need all those skin products? Do we really need to use surgery to please the eye? Do we really need all of this to feel confident?

The Body Ideal

The body ideal changes all the time. 60 years ago, there were ads that told you how to gain weight, to not be so skinny. Curvy was in trend. Then, the fitness madness came followed by the super skinny heroin chic models. Now, there is finally a mixture between these and we embrace the beauty of our bodies no matter the shape and size. Yet, still, my social media feed is full of ads that tell me how to lose weight.

Confidence is a State of Mind

Confidence comes from within and it has nothing to do with the way you look. There are models who lack confidence and curvy middle aged women who are on fire and brighten up the room. Confidence is a state of mind. It’s the experience that you project. When you will be at the end of your life, you will not remember those extra pounds, but the incredible taste of that cake on the Amalfi coast, the ocean in Portugal, that day on the beach, the love you made with your partner who absolutely adored your body and all its curves – the memories.

We need to see women brave, daring, confident, beautiful within, edgy, rebels with a cause, powerful, intuitive, skilled, brilliant and with the strong ability of changing the world.

We have to start to SEE women…

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