It was recently the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day and there have been some brilliant essays and discussions going on to commemorate this. Naturally enough some of this discussion touches on the issue of the objectification of women, which is always topical. What is not so often discussed is how often women objectify other women — how often one woman, or a group of women, will judge another woman based simply on her body image or age.
Some recent experiences have really got me thinking about this, so I thought I’d share them with you and see what you think.
Recent Experience Number One
A good friend of mine posted something on Facebook a few weeks ago. This friend is a brilliant off-piste skier, smart, super talented and in short an excellent role model for any woman daunted by the aging process — yup, she does all that and she’s in her mid-sixties (notice I’ve said ‘and’ not ‘even though’ there). Yet when she visited her doctor in the Northern Hemisphere for routine blood tests recently, this is how her conversation with her nurse went:
Nurse: Good to see the end of the winter weather.
Friend: Don’t say that! I just bought a new set of skis and I can’t wait to get on them.
Nurse: Oh! Well at least you are still active dear.
Really?! Why not a ‘Wow! Good on you! You’re awesome’ or anything other than that phrase prefaced by a demeaning ‘at least’ and a patronising ‘dear’.
Recent Experience Number Two
A while ago, a young woman in her mid-twenties came into the little brown house and mentioned she had her wedding dress organised for next January. She told me all about how excited she was but also about how she’d been upset by how many other women had been telling her that her life would be over once she was married.
Now come on! Womenfolk — and yes, this is woman to woman — we can do better than that! If we want liberation, freedom and support, then maybe we have to be support each other to get there.
All this got me thinking …
That it’s time for a change from discussions on whether to eat desert or not, or how bad we are for not exercising, or what dress size the women at a neighbouring table might be. Instead, here are some constructive and interesting discussions we can share with other women.
All of the following links address the issue of women stepping up, taking responsibility for themselves and others on the planet and the opportunities which exist to offer aid and encouragement on a global scale.
We can also do this at a very local level because women who feel encouraged, vital, and secure within themselves have the ability to make great changes in this world.
- Annie Lennox on Reclaiming Feminism
- Marianne Williamson on embracing our femininity
- Mariella Frostrup on Feminism’s Global Challenge
My daughters have often said to me, ‘imagine if women supported each other more, how different the world would be.’ And I couldn’t agree with them more.
Love Cathie XX
‘And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.’
~ Marianne Williamson (if you haven’t already, you should read her whole quote here)