IWD 2017: #BeBoldForChange.

IWD 2017: #BeBoldForChange.


Right now, I can hear the groans of people thinking ‘ugh, she’s a feminist’ and you are absolutely correct. Feminist is not a bad word. I do not hate men, in fact many people can vouch that I love men. Feminism means equality of the sexes not  (those that believe one category of people’s rights should be superior are NOT feminists!) Feminists aren’t psycho.

Another bunch of you are reading this like ‘women already have rights, why are you making such a fuss?’ I will be making a fuss until everyone has equal rights and we battle together to solve the problems facing us all. It’s not just women’s pay gap, equality in the work place and available to job progression. It’s reproductive health rights and access to the correct health care and options; it’s access to education for every in the world regardless of who they are; it’s fighting the prejudice that POC, LGBTQ+, and other minorities face; it’s facing issues men go through: belittling male rape victims and bringing down the male suicide rate; it’s ending slut-shaming and victim blaming in sexual assault cases; it’s all this and so much more. If your feminism isn’t intersectional, it isn’t feminism.

There are still a few stragglers wondering why, if the issues face so many people of various genders and backgrounds, we need an International Women’s Day. Where’s the International Men’s Day? This year it’s 19th November. We have this day to celebrate women worldwide. And not just cis-women, all women.

We are only in the 3rd month of the year but there are already so many women to celebrate for how they have handled this year. Just look at the Women’s March – incredible. So much girl power that it swelled my heart and gave me hope. Here are a few examples of the women that have inspired me this year so far. Brace yourself for a whole load of love.

Viola Davies: wow, this woman. She is the first black actor to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony Award. What a way to round up the Black History Month with her win. If you haven’t seen her acceptance speech for the Oscars or for her Artist of the Year Award at Harvard University, do it. Right now. Go. Come back later. She is so unapologetically herself and I love it.

Shaliene Woodley: I have admired Shaliene’s lifestyle for a long time now, but the absolute cherry on the top was her involvement in the protests against the DAPL. She is using her privilege and celebrity platform to help voice the issues facing Native Americans and their land. The need for recognition on the treatment of Native Americans had been a long-time coming and is still a sheltered topic. Shailene was arrested for efforts on  Indigenous Peoples’ Day as she stood in solidarity with a group of 200+ people fighting to protect the water. She continues to unabashedly fighting for the rights of the indigenous people of America. I stand with you, Shay.

Rihanna: This beautiful and talented young woman received the Harvard Humanitarian Award for all the amazing work she has done both in Barbados and with the charities she has founded over the years. A loving heart like that is hard not to admire. Thank you so much for giving back when you could have easily turned your back.

Rowan Blanchard: I never considered that a role model could be someone younger than you until Rowan came into my life. I adore Girl Meets World: the life lessons and Rowan’s push for proper representation in the show (yes, adults can like it too!) Not to mention the STEM inspiration for girls in Invisible Sister. She is a style icon and a public activist (even having spoken at the UN) – I mean I wish I was as forward thinking at her age. Her activist is not limited to the social media platforms as she has attended several rallies; speaking at the Women’s March in LA, and rocking up to a Red Carpet event right after a rally. Please just let me be her. Ultimate woman crush.

Emma Watson: In primary school, every World Book Day was a struggle between wanting to be Belle or Hermione (the book lover in me adored both characters). So, you can imagine how thrilled I was when Emma was cast as Belle in this month’s live-action version of Beauty and the Beast. But, despite Emma’s incredible acting talents, it is her work with the United Nations and how outspoken she is about feminism that has me drooling over her. Her first UN speech about HeForShe still resonates with me to this day. Seeing her fighting the backlash of the Vanity Fair cover only strengthens my fierce feminist love for her.

Adele and Beyoncé:If you don’t know about this, have you been living under a rock? Adele beat Beyoncé at the Grammys but in Adele’s acceptance speech she spoke about how Beyoncé deserved the award and how much she inspired all of her black friends. Beyoncé has become an icon for women, especially black women, and helps them feel as fierce as her. She is slaying motherhood and her music career, it is hard to fault with this gorgeous woman. I was so happy to see her celebrating her pregnancy (with twins!), and surprised at the backlash she received for sharing it with her world. Motherhood is a beautiful thing and she has every right to celebrate it. All the best to mum and babies.

Hillary Clinton: The official Nasty Woman. Okay, so she lost the presidential election but won the popular vote. Many of us were heartbroken that Trump (a sexist, racist, privileged, elitist…woah, breathe, Grace) won the US election last November, but we were reassured by Hillary’s refusal to give up fighting. Seriously though, how much good has this woman done for the US and a trumped up (*sniggers*), crooked business gets to run a huge country like a dictatorship? I will forever be #WithHer on this one. #Resist #NotMyPresident

Janelle Monáe: The whole package. Strong black woman who is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. Janelle has clapped back at so many shamers, whether period shamers or racists she tells them exactly what’s what. THANK YOU! We need more people like her in the world. She absolutely rocked at the Women’s March in January, and also left the world in awe with her roles in films this year (Hidden Figures and Moonlight, if you haven’t seen them please check them out). Janelle is a goddess.

Gina Rodriguez: The effervescent Latina star of Jane the Virgin took a very vocal stand for women’s rights at the march in January. She blows me away with her ever flowing kindness and generosity, but stands her ground when it comes to sexist or racist or just mean trolls on Twitter. As Shakespeare aptly said ‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways’: she is smart, hilarious, talented and a total girl boss. I am obsessed with her fabulous style and grace, and love to see her compassionate responses and messages in the Twitter-verse. Definitely my woman crush always. Big love, Gina!

There are so many more but this is as many as my mind could take writing about without spinning off my neck. (Lovely visual there). There are some inspirational women I want to see more of this year like: Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Ellie Robinson, Laverne Cox, Malala Yousafzai, Tavi Gevinson and others.

In honour of IWD ’17, I have collaborated with Meic, the helpline service for children and young people up to the age of 25 in Wales. I have been very outspoken about bullying in the past and they wanted to feature a piece, discussing the types of prejudice and bullying that women face, both in schools and later on in life. Bullying is everyone’s business. So honoured and excited about this collaboration so please check it out and share it with your friends: http://www.promo.cymru/bullying-in-the-workplace/


1 Comment

  1. Toby Martin
    9th March 2017 / 9:06 am

    Really like this – I would have posted something or at least done something for IWD, but unfortunately other devotions got in my way. I feel like I should do something still, as there’s no reason activism should be confined to a single day…
    The fact that you’ve collaborated with MEIC is great. I wish I had the organisational skills to do something like that. Keep up the good work.

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