Friday 16 October 2015

Poor Female Role Models?

Hello to everyone! Sorry I have been such an absent blogger recently!

So last week I was selected to attend the “Women of the World” conference in LONDON, as part of Dove’s “Change makers of tomorrow” team – which was an absolute privilege. The conference was incredible and it gave a platform for so many inspiring women from all over the world to speak about their life experiences and all the amazing things they have been doing! However ever since I have been pondering why we have so few women in powerful positions in our society when women are doing such amazing things. Following that, why do we never hear about all the amazing things that women have been doing all around the world?
A few of the team beside the stage!! 

I have entitled this blog “poor female role models?” because in terms of media representation of female role models in our society, the outlook is grim. Just take a look at the front page of a magazine or tabloid and you’ll find awful role models for young women. Our politicians wearing some horrendous skirt and shoes that don’t match, our celebrities who are “gaining 10lbs” or who are looking “less than glamorous with a make-up free face” So do we have poor female role models?

I completely disagree that we have poor female role models. There are so many amazingly incredible female role models in the world today, however we just don’t hear about them, or they simply get silenced behind the medias blaring horn of judgment.

Last week I attended the Women in the World conference in London, a conference that gave these amazing women a platform to tell their stories, seemingly away from the media judgment horn. Let me share some of the stories of these amazing women, to prove that we have a multitude of great female role models.

Dr Von der Leyen speaking to Tina Brown

Firstly my personal inspiration, Dr Ursula Von der Leyen – ever heard of her?
She is Germany’s Minister of Defence, and mother of 7 and a medically trained doctor, this women is definitely a positive role model to all young women,  who are constantly told by the media and society that you can’t be a mother and be successful; you have to choose. If you get a chance, I would recommend a look at her political policies on the German army, as she is definitely very switched on in terms of her thinking. She also made amazing reforms in Germany in her past positions as minister, introducing 2 months of paid paternal leave that only the father can take, encouraging men to have a more active role as a dad and allowing mothers to engage more with their career or other aspirations. She is also fighting hard for a culture shift in society, where more women are involved in politics, she said “We want diversity. Women are not better than men, they are different” eluding to the fact that we need a balance of men and women in high power positions to achieve a diverse society.
As you can tell I was completely inspired by her, but then I sat back and wondered why I’d never heard of her?

Cara onstage, with her shoes off!

Next someone who is particularily famous with the youth of today, Cara Delevinge. Cara started out in the media eye as a Model for Burberry, then moved into acting and recently singing.
As a Dove generation girl delegate I got the opportunity to meet this wonderful woman, and discovered she was a normal 23 year old female, just like me! When I first saw her, I actually became quite starstruck, shocked by the fact she was a normal human being, not some robot that the media has created.
Later when she spoke, she revealed she struggled with mental health issues, and some self confidence issues when she started out in her career. To have the strength to speak out and tell her story to a crowd of 900 people is immense, and I respect her massively for doing so. Some things that she said really stuck with me, “Flaws are the things that make us special. The cracks within us make us great and they need light shone into them”. In our idealistic society, where the media reports on every silly little flaw of every women in the limelight, it is hard to be able to accept ourselves as the wonderful women that we are. We need more role models like Cara Delevinge to remind us that our flaws make us not only beautiful, but they make us who we are.

However, if you google search “Cara Delevingne at the Women of the World conference” the first option that comes up is a daily mail article talking about what Kendall Jenner is wearing to support her friend at the event, rather than the amazing things that were said or the incredibly brave women who stood up and told their story to the masses.

My horrifying Google search after the conference had finished

This is the media and their portrayal of a woman in our society. A woman who could have such a positive influence in the world and be an amazing role model to young women but instead she is locked out of her potential by the media’s coverage of her.

Living with a media where our politicians are judged more on what they are wearing than what they are saying, and celebrities with an opinion are getting them dimmed down by the media criticism of their weight and makeup is not a media that I want to engage in. It is not only damaging to society as a whole, but it degrades the amazing role models that we do have that should be promoted. So do we have poor female role models?

So in conclusion, we don’t have poor role models at all, we simply have poor media coverage of amazing role models.

 Me promoting Dove's new campaign #NoLikesNeeded, to promote self-esteem in young people when posting "selfies" on social media! Check it out! 

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