I heard someone say the other day that women were (and I quote verbatim) “Harping on about confidence and sexism all the time because they want something to moan about”.
For some it seems that because we got the right to vote, moved into the workplace and started to voice our own opinions, that we should somehow be content with our lot. What I see however is a society that still seeks to control women, just in different ways.
We can vote, but the right to our own bodies is in question. We can be confident, but that also makes us a bitch. We can wear what we want, but that we also mean that we are “asking for it”. We can have a career, but are judged for not staying home with the children.
One thing we cannot do is be whatever size we want, and dress how we want without the media, trolls on the internet, even total strangers telling us that this is not how we are meant to look. The ideal must be conformed too.
Society in one form or another is constantly telling us how to be, how to look, how to dress, how to behave. The quest to look perfect has never been more prevalent then it is now. It isn’t just men telling us how to look either, the pursuit of the right way to look has gotten so huge that women are doing it to each other. That’s before you even get into the subject of trolls.
What I have noticed however, over the past year especially, is women pushing back against these constrictions and fighting against them. Everything from the celebrities who speak out against being airbrushed in magazines, to the #notbuyingit campaign against the objectification of women in advertising, to bloggers of all sizes and shapes sharing their images online and being confident in who they are and what they look like.
I have seen the start of so many confidence journeys in the past year and to watch as their confidence grows is awe inspiring. Seeing somebody who was previously insecure and under confident blossoming into someone who is sure of herself and happy is a privilege to watch. There is a message that women are sending out which is gathering speed and is getting louder and louder. You cannot tell me how I should look.
The 20th century saw women gain the right to vote and step out from the kitchen. Maybe the 21st century will be remembered for women gaining the right to be able to look how they want and be themselves, not the image of what they are told they should be.