This is as offensive as it gets.
And politely ditched the advice like the goddess she is.
“It is really funny how even cool chicks are sort of like: ‘Our mums covered that feminism thing and now we’re living in a post-that world’ when that just isn’t true.” – US actor, author, screenwriter, producer and director Lena Dunham, 29.
I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among younger women I’ve met of late – some of whom are powerful businesswomen in their early 30s – they don’t want to call themselves “feminists”. In fact, the F-word makes them positively aghast and nervous – they don’t understand what feminism is, nor do they care to learn.
Well, I’m here to tell you: feminism is powerful and important and women owe it to themselves and their forebears to educate themselves on what it means and why it’s so vital for both ourselves and future generations.
Now, there are many different forms of feminism and you only have to witness the ugly in-fighting that sometimes occurs on social media between popular feminist leaders in the Australian media to see there’s no “one size fits all category” on what constitutes a feminist. However, most feminists would surely agree that the basis of the movement is as simple as this: “people who believe in equality”.
Do you believe in equal pay for men and women? Do you think women should have equal political, social, sexual and property rights and opportunities to men? Well, sorry to tell you lady: you’re – gasp – a feminist.
That’s right: being a feminist doesn’t equate to humourless, bra-burning anarchists or man-hating satanists – far from it. Look at popular feminist icons of today, the multi-talented, accomplished and gorgeous: Queen Bey aka Beyonce (pictured); actor and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson; US comedians Ellen DeGeneres, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler; US musicians Taylor Swift and Madonna; US fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg; former US first lady and US Secretary of State, now US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton; US talk show queen Oprah Winfrey and US actor/producer/author Lena Dunham.
Closer to home, there’s actor Cate Blanchett; former Prime Minister turned author Julia Gillard; journalist, businesswoman, television personality and author Ita Buttrose; author and commentator, Dr Germaine Greer; model-turned-best-selling novelist Tara Moss and former Governor-General of Australia, Dame Quentin Bryce, who’s just released the Not Now Not Ever report, which looks at how soaring rates of domestic violence in Queensland should be tackled.
Still too timid or afraid to call yourself a feminist? Here’s another damn good reason why you should join the movement: In Queensland alone this year, 20 women have died and countless more have suffered violence at the hands of a partner or former partner. In addition, one woman is killed every week in Australia by her partner or former partner and the national figure of domestic violence fatalities currently sits at 62 women.
What’s more, 0ften these murdered women are mothers and at times their children are murdered too. Among this horrifying national statistic were mothers Tara Brown, 24, and Karina Lock, 49, who allegedly died last week at the hands of their ex-partners and Sidney Playford, 6, who was allegedly murdered by her father, Stephen.
Australia’s domestic violence scourge sees many women and children living in constant trauma and fear. It’s real, it’s happening now and – even worse – according to research, domestic and family violence perpetrators are more likely to also commit acts of child sexual assault. Domestic and family violence and child sexual assault are inextricably linked: it’s about an abuse of power and perpetrators maintaining control.
So, you can try to turn a blind eye to the fact that women do not have equal footing in our country, or you can do something about it – and feminism is a bloody good place to start.
Recently, I witnessed an older boy purposefully push my then three-year-old daughter over in his bid to sit on the swing she was on at a public playground. I rushed over in her defence, but there was no need: she’d sprung back up in fury and defended herself very nicely without my help, telling him he had no right to treat her so. And I’m proud of that: I am very consciously trying to raise two strong-willed, brave daughters who will stand up for what they believe in and never let anyone – man or woman – push them around. They deserve equality and respect and to live in safety, just as their male peers do. Have I borne two little proud feminists? God, I hope so.
And my own amazing feminist mother helped steer me in the right director: banning me, as a naive and easily-influenced teen, from joining a cheerleader squad and attending a debutante ball. “No daughter of mine!” said she on both counts, putting me at odds with my peers at a private school. And thank God she did: now, I look back and thank her for it and will repeat this history with my own daughters.
Another proud feminist is the uber talented, smart and beautiful fashion designer Juli Grbac, 36, (pictured) who was the inaugural winner of international TV show Project Runway Australia. Juli, whose recent successes include re-designing Virgin Australia’s crew uniforms in 2010. The glamorous and elegant uniforms were unveiled in 2011, with a catwalk show featuring Elle Macpherson and 60 Virgin Australia crew members. In addition, she’s just finished re-designing Suncorp Bank’s uniforms.
Here, she puts the case for feminism beautifully: “I am all for powerful women, I think now more than ever we have examples of powerful women all over the world today. I was raised by a strong Macedonian woman, mum came to Australia when she was just 21. Within a few years, she was running her own business in the rag-trade. I was brought up to believe that I could do anything that I put my mind to, and with my mum as my mentor, I have picked up where she left off.
“After running my own business for 14 years I wouldn’t have it any other way. In the last few years girl power has become stronger than ever, women are empowering and inspiring one another more than ever before, especially through social media. Beyonce is the Queen, but at the same time relatable, she is a true example of feminism.
“It doesn’t really surprise me when other young women say they aren’t feminists, as everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however I do feel that more of the younger generation are increasingly becoming feminists.”
Amen to that, I say.
What do you think? Why are some women still reluctant to call themselves feminists?
Image via www.theloop.ca
It’s one of the biggest trends of the past year and it’s still as relevant as ever: The single earring. From the runways in Paris to the red carpets of pretty much every award show, the single earring is making appearances everywhere at the moment, but how do you pull off this rather unusual look without people constantly telling you that you have lost one of your earrings?
RELATED: How To Style Ear Cuffs
It can be a bit tricky to wear one big statement ear piece only, but if you get it right, you are very likely to be the best accessorised person in the room wherever you are. Here are a few tips on how to style the single earring trend:
1. Find the right balance
Wearing a single earring should not be taken too literally. You shouldn’t leave your other ear un-accessorised, but instead choose a small earring like a simple stud or pearl depending on what your statement earring looks like. This is the key thing to remember in order to avoid comments by others about your “lost earring.”
2. Opt for a cuff
If you’re new to the single-earring-game and you want to play it safe, opt for a cuff earring on one of your ears. Whether it’s a studded cuff or a simple chain adorning your ear, it will give you that edgy but chic look you’re after.
3. Stay focused
Don’t make wearing one statement earring more confusing by combining it with a sparkly necklace. Instead, leave your neck bare and draw all the attention to your bold ear piece choice. Make sure you wear your hair up or at least styled to the opposite side of your bejeweled ear and let your single earring shine.
Image via thefashionspot.com
Finding accessories which are understated to match your wedding dress are often few and far between. For most brides, delicate earrings, minimal bracelets, and fine jewellery are the best options since they don’t take the focus away from the main piece, which is of course the wedding dress.
We have picked out a few favourite styles which are perfect for the bride who wants to add a finishing touch to her entire look.
Take your hair to the next level with some amazing hair accessories for your wedding day. Clips are perfect if you choose to style your hair up or down, and bring a classic look to any ensemble.
Stick to basic pearls if you want to keep your look fairly minimal, and can only choose one piece of jewellery to wear. Not only are pearls an investment, but you can also wear them after your wedding has passed. They never go out of style!
For a statement piece of jewellery, you can’t go past a pair of tear-drop earrings. These are almost an essential if you choose to wear your hair in a classic updo. They became the main focus of your accessories, and can even be worn by women without pierced ears.
An embellished headband is one of the easiest ways to transform your look, and keep hair neat and tidy throughout the wedding! This is also an amazing option for women with a front fringe, since it will keep it in place – regardless of windy weather.
If your wedding dress is strapless, then a dainty necklace or choker is the best way to accentuate your décolletage. Stick to something simple such as an infinity sign or your initials, since it’s a nice way to tie everything together.
Although sterling silver is most popular, rose gold and gold pieces are also trendy at the moment, and available at almost every single budget.
Another popular option of the last few years are classic ear cuffs. Australian designer Ryan Storer creates a number of bespoke pieces which are suitable for both brides and the maid of honour. To highlight this look, keep hair parted onto one side, and clip back to emphasise the ear cuff at all times.
What are some of your favourite jewellery options?
Images via Lullia, Bridal Brid, Catherine Nicole, Style Me Pretty, Wedding Chicks, Tuula Vintage, Pinterest
As we approach the end of the year it’s important to reflect on the progress of the sisterhood. Despite 1 in 3 women suffer physical or sexual violence and a continued struggle against the glass ceiling – I do believe we are making progress. In celebration of a landmark year for feminism, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite moments for famous women in 2014.
Women absolutely DOMINATED the charts this year! Taylor Swift‘s 1989 became the highest selling album of the year, making her the only artist in history to sell more than a million albums in the first week – for three albums in a row! T-Swift’s BFF Lorde also proved her talents, receiving multiple Grammy awards (including song of the year) and becoming the youngest solo artist since 1987 to have a US #1 hit. Similarly, Iggy Azalea became the first artist since the Beatles to have consecutive US #1 and #2 spots on the top 100 charts. Oh and let’s not forget Beyonce‘s VMAs message that could be heard around the world…
Thanks to Scandal, Orange is the New Black, Girls and How to Get Away with Murder, the world celebrated powerful, complex female characters on the small screen on a scale that has never been achieved before. We also celebrated a diversity in our actresses, with Lupita Nyong’o becoming the first Kenyan and Mexican to win an Oscar, and Laverne Cox becoming the first transgender woman to cover TIME magazine. In other news, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler brought some serious girl power to the Academy Awards hosting spot and Emma Watson made a few small steps for mankind toward gender equality.
Apple and Facebook introduced a groundbreaking policy that meant it would pay for its female employees to freeze their eggs – a move that allows women to focus on their career and remain in the workforce without the ever-present threat of the “ticking biological clock”. The International Monetary Fund appointed its first female CEO, Christine Lagarde, as did General Motors – making Mary Barra the first woman in charge of a global automaker.
Nobel Peace Prizes
The world has not been able to stop talking about Malala Yousafzai – the young Pakistani girl who was shot in the head for speaking out against the Taliban in favor of educating young girls in her home country. Malala has continued to work on international efforts to improve the education of young women – an effort which earned her a Nobel Peace Prize. Malala is the youngest ever recipient of the prize. Another woman was also given a Nobel Prize… in Mathematics! Maryam Mirzkhani became the first woman to be awarded the Fields Medal for her work in geometry and dynamical systems.
In 2014, Becky Hammon became the NBA’s first full-time, paid female member of a coaching team with the San Antonio Spurrs. However, the biggest name in sport was that of 14 year-old Mo’ne Davis. Young Mo’ne was one of two girls to compete in this year’s Little League World Series and the first female to ever pitch a shutout game. Who said throwing like a girl was an insult?
Images via MTV, boingboing.net, Daily Mail, Mashable
These famous women prove that your age and gender doesn’t stop you from achieving success and making an impact. All under the age of 30, our top 5 young female role models have contributed significantly to the arts and culture, politics, and humanitarian movements, and are extremely worthy of our attention, respect and admiration. These are the kind of women we love to see in the limelight, setting a great example for this generation.
In the past few years alone, Lena has accomplished writing a critically acclaimed autobiography, a TV show (which she writes, produces, directs and stars in), a film, two Golden Globe Awards, and was the first woman to win a Director’s Guild Award for Best Director in a Comedy Series. She actively supports pro-choice, feminist and gay rights campaigns, and also has a Q&A YouTube series. If you have read her book, you will also know that Lena has achieved all this while battling crippling anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. Oh, and she’s 28 years old.
This 17 year-old recently became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. She has been advocating education for girls in her home country of Pakistan since the age of 11, but rose to international notoriety when Taliban members shot her on a school bus in 2012. She survived the shooting and continues to speak out against Taliban oppression in her hometown, despite an ongoing warrant for her assassination. Brave, intelligent, kind: Malala is exactly the kind of young woman you want your children to know about.
Emma has been in the limelight since the age of nine, after gaining a lead role in the Harry Potter film series. This year she was appointed a United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador and advocates gender equality all over the world, most recently launching the UN HeForShe Campaign. In between filming one of the most popular film franchises in history, and being an accomplished humanitarian, Watson also graduated from Brown University with a degree in English Literature, and became a certified yoga instructor.
Since the age of nine, Palmer has been either on the stage, in front of the camera, or behind the mic. Once, one of the highest paid child actors on TV (as the lead in Nickelodeon‘s True Jackson, VP), Keke continues to conquer as the host of her own talk show, Just Keke, an album set for release, an ambassador for several charities, and an upcoming role on the tv show, Masters of Sex. Most notably, the 21 year-old recently became the first African-American woman to portray Cinderella in the Broadway musical.
The world is an oyster for this small town teenager… and we mean small town – her hometown in New Zealand has a population of just over 5,000. Lorde took home two Grammy’s earlier this year for her number one single Royals, including song of the year. She is a woman of the people, acclaimed for her lyrical critique of wealth, excess and celebrity. She featured in Forbes 30 under 30 list, as well as Time’s Most Influential Teenagers. This year, she was also appointed to oversee the Hunger Games Mockingjay soundtrack, and has another solo album in the works. She is a self-identified feminist, and advocates for people to enrol to vote in her home country. She is turning 18 in November.
Images via Shutterstock, Daily Mail UK, and Lollapalooza.
Kristen Stewart is the latest in a string of celebrities keen to claim the title of “feminist“. In her recent interview with The Daily Beast, Stewart says that it is “ridiculous thing to say you’re not a feminist”.
While the Twilight actress almost makes a good point, her argument falls short when referring to the “overly-aggressive types” that are “discrediting” other feminists.
While she doesn’t go into who these aggressive types are, it would appear K-Stew’s brand of feminism is just the opposite: passive. If we are to subscribe to her logic, the only reason to call yourself a feminist is because it would be “strange” not to (because equality – duh!).
As a celebrity, Stewart has achieved something positive just by calling herself a feminist. But it appears she is the advocate of a kind of responsibility-free feminism: where you can stand for something, without actually participating in it.
Furthermore, Kristen is buying into the precise stereotypes – of the “angry” and “aggressive” woman – that feminism struggles against.
This begs the question, is it enough to just call yourself a feminist?
Prior to 2014, we feminists were used to being rejected by our celeb sisters who stuck to a rather patriarchy-friendly approach to gender issues.
However, things started to pick up earlier this year around Beyonce’s “FEMINIST”-emblazoned VMAs performance. Shortly after that, notorious “non-feminist” Taylor Swift came out with new political priorities, citing her friendship with Lena Dunham as the catalyst for her feminist rebirth. (Previously, a young Ms Swift had said she wouldn’t call herself a feminist because she didn’t think of things as “boys versus girls” – a common misconception about what feminism actually is.)
In an era where women continue to turn their backs on gender equality, I would argue that openly identifying yourself as a feminist is a triumph.
When it is popular to assign feminists labels like “man-hater”, “angry”, or “bitch”, it does take guts to claim such an “unattractive” title. It is this precise ownership of the label, specifically by people like Swift – a decidedly man-loving, feminine, amiable woman – that overwrites this misunderstanding of feminism.
However, this still doesn’t determine whether or not feminism in this context is a role, or just an honorary title.
While many people will buy into whatever their favorite celeb is endorsing, will they actually commit to a movement toward gender equality?
Are they going to challenge their friends in conversations of political, economic and social equality? Will they stand idly by while largely white, male governments legislate issues pertaining exclusively to women, their bodies and their health?
While we aren’t at a stage where we can confirm if feminism is merely the flavour of the month, we can confirm that conversation is rampant – largely thanks to the likes of Kristen, Taylor, Beyonce and Emma.
Swift nailed the relevance of celebrity feminists when speaking of Emma Watson’s UN speech:
“I wish when I was 12-years-old I had been able to watch a video of my favorite actress explaining, in such an intellectual, beautiful, poignant way, the definition of feminism. Because I would have understood it. And then earlier on in my life I would have proudly claimed I was a feminist because I would have understood what the word means.”
It is not so much the label, but about bringing gender equality to the forefront of public conversation so that men, women and children can begin to engage in this crucial issue.
Wikipedia: Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women.
The Macquarie Concise Dictionary: feminism n. advocacy of equal rights and opportunities for women, especially the extension of their activities in social and political life.
Whenever I hear a woman, young or old, declare they are most definitely not a feminist, with the same distaste as if you’d just called them a serial killer, I feel white, hot rage. Why aren’t you a feminist?
For feminism is most definitely not a dirty word. It does not mean – see definitions above – that you hate men, or the institution of marriage, or you have lesbian leanings (not that there’s anything wrong with that), or you’re a bra-burning, angry and unattractive freak or any of the other wildly ridiculous, grossly untrue and negative meanings associated with the term.
Feminism is not an ugly label. I am proud to call myself one.
When I hear women balk at being called a feminist, I want to rage at them: “Do you believe in equality? Do you believe in equal rights and equal pay for men and women?!” If you answered, yes, that makes you a feminist, sweetheart.
As British journalist/author and comedian Caitlin Moran once quipped: “Do you have a vagina? And do you want to be in charge of it? If you said ‘yes’ to both, then congratulations – you’re a feminist!”
I feel particularly sad and disappointed when I hear a young woman in her 20s say feminism means nothing to her or that she “doesn’t need feminism”. I’m sorry, what?!
I want to admonish them with: Are you OK with the ever-growing gender pay gap? Why aren’t you alarmed that Australian women are earning less (in relation to men) today than ever before, with the gender pay gap soaring above 18 per cent, to reach a record high of 18.2 per cent? Do you think it’s OK for women to still be seen as inferior? And judged solely by their appearance? Have you ever worked in a male-dominated industry, as I have, and been bullied when pregnant?
Then there’s the unequal distribution of household labour to consider, anti-feminists: a new study suggests that men and women could be doing an equal share of the housework – drum roll – by 2050?! How is this OK?
And, there’s the ugly issue of the high incidence of sexual violence against women and children and domestic violence in Australia, whereby women are routinely murdered by current or former partners. Still think you don’t need feminism?!
And while I concede that old-school feminists like Dr Germaine Greer – a major feminist voice of the mid-20th century and the author of groundbreaking book, The Female Eunuch – can be a little, well, batshit crazy at times, it’s completely ridiculous to write off the whole feminist movement lest you be associated with her.
Last year, I found Greer’s comments on ex-PM Julia Gillard to be completely abhorrent and disappointing to say the least. Dr Greer, as a guest on the ABC’s Q and A program derided Gillard’s wardrobe, and said: “You’ve got a big arse, Julia, just get on with it.”
But hope is very much on the horizon for there’s a whole new breed of young women, who are positive role models for females, young and old, who proudly – gasp – call themselves feminists. If you’re scared of identifying yourself as a feminist, think again. If super-successful, talented and gorgeous young women like singer Beyonce (main picture) and actor Emma Watson (pictured above) can proudly stand up for feminism, and declare women are equal to men in front of international audiences, then there’s no reason why you can’t too.
I was particularly chuffed to read of Harry Potter star Watson’s first big speech as a newly appointed United Nations Women’s Goodwill Ambassador. Emulating her brave, heroic and strong Harry Potter character, Hermione (pictured below), Watson, 24, launched the UN’s HeForShe gender equality campaign in NY last Sunday, calling on men to stand up for women’s rights and equality too.
She said: I was appointed six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realised that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating.
“If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop. Feminism, by definition, is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”
Bravo! And amen, sister.
What do you think?
Main image of Beyonce via www.thebackofmyhead.com, Emma Watson image via www.cosmopolitan.com.au, Hermione image via www.ign.com and feminism cartoon via dancingdrafts.wordpress.com
Earlier this year, Emma Watson was made a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and yesterday she launched the “HeForShe” campaign, extending a formal invitation to men and boys to get onboard the movement toward gender equality.
In her speech to the United Nations, Watson called for an end to the idea that feminism is synonymous with man-hating.
“I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminist. Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive,” Watson considered.
“I am from Britain and think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision making that affect my life. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights.”
Watson’s speech serves as a reminder, not only of her continuing awesomeness, but that feminism is not a dirty word that denotes a belief that women are better than men. She reminds us that gender equality is not about women versus men. Gender equality involves everyone.
She states that the ideas associated with traditional masculinity – as those with femininity – are extremely disabling. That, due to ideas of what constitutes a “man”, men also suffer at the hands of a society infected with gender-based discriminations.
Watson explains that the current notion of gender needs to be overhauled, for the sake of men and women:
“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum instead two opposing sets of ideals. If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we just are – we can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.”
I hope we can all consider our position and what we can do to help our communities move away from gender biases and discrimination, and remind each other that we are worthy of equal treatment in the home, in the media, on the streets and in the workplace.
Image via Hollywood Life.
Overalls will be a great item to carry into fall. But how do you wear them without looking like a farmer? With overalls, many will preach the baggier, the better! However, it all depends on your body shape. If you look like a Victoria’s Secret model, it’s likely you’ll look stylish no matter what you wear.
However, most of us do not look like Heidi Klum and, for this reason, overalls are not the kind of item you want to buy online. A common issue with overalls is that they can be too tight on your bum and legs, but hang off you everywhere else. Therefore, it is important to find the right fit before you buy.
So, now you have your overalls, what do you wear under them? In the final days of summer, you might still be able to get away with just a cami or crop top, but you can never go wrong with a classic T-shirt. If you opt for a button-up shirt or sweater, keep it fitted to avoid looking too top heavy.
If you’re tired of old blue denim, try the monochrome look like Emma Watson.
As for footwear: dress up your overalls with heels, or hit the streets with sneakers, flats or sandals.
Images via Huffington Post/Seventeen/Just the design/Harper’s Bazaar
Emma Watson blew us away at the Golden Globes, not only because of that incredible tangerine Christian Dior backless dress (and pants!), but because her hair and makeup were perfection. We think her chic bun, with deep side part and soft wispy pieces, will be one of the best hair up styles we’ll see all year.
Here’s how celebrity hairstylist Shelley Brien created this classic updo.
1. First spray Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Heat Protect & Shine Spray to damp hair. Take a medium-sized boar bristle round brush and blow dry hair so that it’s straight and smooth.
2. Once hair is dry, create a side part and then spray Vidal Sassoon Pro Series ColorFinity Dry Shampoo in Rich Darks to the roots to create extra volume.
3. Backcomb the hair near the front of your face to create texture and then brush all the hair back until it’s smooth. Maintaining the side part, pull hair back into a low ponytail and then wrap hair loosely into a chignon. Wrap hair similar to a bun and then pin in place.
4. Pull a few pieces of hair in the front and tuck behind the ear to create a more modern, tousled look.
5. To finish, spray hair with Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Flexible Hold Hairspray to leave it with a sleek, finished look.
What did you think of Emma Watson’s Golden Globes hair? Tell us in the comments!