In our life as human beings we are subject to three forces.
Parents. Society at large. Our true nature (how we see ourselves including desires and aspirations).
It is very likely that the first two will prevail and the last one will suffer. But what does this mean for us, as women?
That we are affected by many customs established by a world ruled by men (and religion), that influence our true selves.
Is the way we are depicted in media, cinema, fashion, what we are looking for now? Does it really embody who we are and what we want and need?
I have serious doubts we are represented as we are, many of us have serious doubts. And in an ever evolving globe, things are changing...
Recently the very powerful luxury fashion house Céline had a change of direction, and from the beloved Phoebe Philo, the conglomerate that owns the brand, replaced her with another man, Hedi Slimane.
The decision stirred an emotional response, as never seen before, from the audience. Philo for the last 10 years had delivered a style that really took into account women's needs. It was: in with fashionable comfort, out with sexiness and nonsense. In with a grown up style, out with an impossible teen style.
Hedi Slimane brought back what Phoebe Philo had removed...
Some could argue: who cares, we can't afford them anyway.
But if this is your angle, you might reconsider your opinion.
It is an argument shallow only on the surface. Because even if we don't buy those kind of clothes, products or brands, we are affected by designers vision. It happens when we look around us (advertising), when we read news (articles), when we join social media (posts), when we watch tv or go to the cinema (costumes). And especially when we buy cheaper brands that are inspired by luxury labels.
Also, we need to stop to justify ourselves because we like fashion and beauty, to conform to what a male dominated society has told us for decades, that looking after ourselves is superficial. If you like something, you don't have to explain yourself!
The exceptionally good journalist Robin Givhan from the Washington Post wrote an article about it that I highly recommend you to read (and follow her on social media).
She argued with good reasons, that what we want now more than ever, is fashion designers who truly respect women! Because it goes beyond fashion and enter into the sphere of power, women's empowerment, work, and a men world who defines us (in terms of age, body, role, attitude).
As you can see, the topic embraces a much broader spectrum.
In an unbalanced society like ours, where men still hold the most leadership positions (no matter the industry), how we are depicted, matters, because it has an impact on our lives. It shapes how we are perceived, and how we perceive ourselves. And if only men decide, the result is what we have experienced so far. A world where women are portrayed in a certain way and have a certain age, shape, race and are not taken seriously. Unless they want to be taken seriously, then they have to dress the part, and work harder to get less than men, and have to make no mistakes and show no weakness.
It means we have to hide our true selves. Because we have to conform to a men world...
I am a strong believer that we need more women designers that celebrate the modern woman who works and has responsibilities and wants simplicity in her life and peace of mind; and more women in senior executive positions that support that image, and fund women businesses.
We should never underestimate the power of images, I could extend the analysis to many other industries. But not all is lost. Now after years neglecting our needs, we are speaking out. In the last couple of years we have seen changes including the rise of the female blockbuster heroine in big-budget movies and a new desire to see female protagonists in tv series.
Ladies, we are in charge of our own wellness. Of our own fate. We need to remind ourselves about it. And never compromise our values for someone else. Never let anyone walk over us (again).
Sending you big love
✒ BY MARGHERITA ANTINORI