I have written about weight, health and size before on this blog; I'm not going to lie, I'm a little bit ashamed of our growing size as a nation, especially among young women and children. But I was genuinely shocked and tearful watching programmes like The Naked Truth with Gok Wan, covering teenage body issues. It was terrifying to watch the young teenage girls with such disgraceful warped views of what their bodies should look like in their quest to attain (and this horrible word) - thInspiration.
It would seem that Inspiration and Inspiring women have been diluted down to this... Size!
As a young woman who follows fashion and celebrity covered magazines, who-wears-what and what everybody looks like in a bikini, it does make me sad that magazines churn out the ridculous column inches of "Kim Kardashians Bum Implants..." why can't they use their marketing and advertising coverage for positive use?
Shouldn't we be idolising a different type of woman?
I thought about how I would tackle this issue with my own daughter as she grew up. Already she has begun talking about the recognisable faces on tv, from X-Facter's Tulisa to the new Princess Catherine. What female figures can we seek out and really encourage our young teenage girls to aspire to?
The more I thought about this the more I wanted to put together a positive list of women to rival the Angelinas, Kardashians, Britneys, and Hiltons
It would seem that the thinner you are the more column inches you get - and the fatter you are the more negatively sliced and diced you can be by the media... So where is the happy medium?
The focus needs to just shift, completely and utterly away from weight, size and physical attributes to achievements, acomplishments and life goals. Instead of all the magazines having "Spring Diet" splashed across the front covers, we need to be teaching our young women how to sharpen their financial accumen, their business minds and entreprenaurial sides; feature articles on strong successful women, those that have helped, saved or created legacies, battled the sexism race and won, achieved greatness in the boardrooms and the kitchens.... NOT on the scales!
I don't care a JOT if Pauline Quirk or Fern Brittain have had a gastric band, I DO care about banks that are speacialising in mortagages for single women, or DIY tips on how to do basic household maintenence in order to eliminate me hiring in handymen. I AM interested in being educated on worldly forward thinking and environmental issues affecting ours and the next generation. Tell me these things? Not if Cameron Diaz has had facial fillers!!! Do YOU know what Deep Ecology means???
Look it up- fill your head with the things that matter!
I googled "Inspirational Young women".... There were a rather dry musing of luke warm hits but nothing really punchy...
I googled "thinspiration" and I was taken instantly to the largest growing online community for what is commonly referred to as the Pro-Ana movement or for the less-well-versed among us, the Pro-Anorectic (not anorexic but means EXACTLY the same thing)... Pretty Thin.com
It certainly is pretty thin on real issues I'll say that much!!
I was shocked as I scolled through the pages of women desperate to starve themselves for "the thigh gap" and covering their fertile minds with images that would surely leave their bodies INFERTILE if they continue to starve and starve....
Up until about 3 years ago, one of my ambitions was to reach the 35 under 35 list... Have you heard of it? Have our sixth formers? Do the young women of tomorrow only aspire to "be famous" and marry footballers? I really hope not...
"The 35 Under 35"; we should be talking about these women with your daughters.
I found it very hard to put together any kind of list that would speak to teenage girls and encourage them to think outside of fake tan, fake eyelashes and fake personas. I too was openly affected by anorexia around me at ballet school. I have witnessed it first hand with friends, but I don't think parents, carers and teachers are really setting the examples they used to.
Business women of the year- there are many awards and more added each year that are specifically for the accolade of women in their fields of business. I really like this. A growing number of small but notable forums and communities are out there for women. Everywoman.com is one, there are others, but they only seem to appeal to women, not girls.
BUT... There are few projects that specifically address girls as school-girls, by the age of 14 or 15 their characters are well-developed and their minds nubile and impressionable, if many of these girls were inspired to become successful and supported to follow their own paths in life instead of those of girls wearing short dresses and falling out of nightclubs having risen to "fame" on a stupid realtiy tv show, then we would see a surge in female entrepreneurs, female professionals, sexy scientists and gorgeous graduates. Where are they?
I found this- its US based but is beginning to embrace the ideas that we need to cover and focus on MUCH more than who looks 'good' in a bikini!
Click on the above link to take you to the Huffington posts many articles on world women.
We need to be telling our young women this when they are doing their GCSE's to give them direction, focus, drive and something to aspire to achieve....