Updated: Aug 28, 2019
or .. let's sort out our own backyard! ..
Well this week has been rather interesting.
The week started with statistics declaring that 26% of 14-year girls have admitted to some type of self-harm. Here at Bemoore I have written much about the pressure faced by our young women and the difficulties of trying to find a balance of self-care, alongside the Instagram perfect lifestyle we are shown daily. Shocking as those stats were, as a therapist I was unsurprised, as self-harm (which covers many facets) is often present with my clients – a coping mechanism to deal with underlying stresses and trauma.
Whilst diving into this story I then noticed a well known ‘celebrity’ magazine had printed a front cover aimed at a public figure whom I think is rather lovely and a great role model. This cover was, to use her words ‘ the meanest thing ever seen’… Mean is not a word we hear nowadays – everyone goes for the all-out outraged or offended to the max but mean is a powerful word and it summed up the piece totally . It was pointless, and based on views of a very small number of equally mean people – it served purpose but to cause upset at the person written about.
And so, I tweeted my support – not something I often get involved in … but I felt I should and here started a discussion … you see this magazine was written if you can call it writing, by a mainly women team, it is aimed at a female audience, it is not read by men ... it purchased and read and commented on by .... women ... see my problem here.
We live in a world where we are making bold statements in terms of equality – standing our ground against sexism, sexual abuse and in corporate, equal rights for pay and roles. Only a couple of months ago I spoke at the Tower of London celebrating 100 years of votes for women and celebrating and recognising the work of suffragettes of their time.
And yet although I speak to many women who believe they have been treated badly by men because they are a woman … here we have a perfect example of where we, as a gender, are coming in under the bar. Yes, the bar ... the bar I talk of when I say Raise Your Bar – set your standards, respect yourself and respect others...
Here was a case where as women we were setting our bar low and certainly not making any effort to raise it. And the fact that makes this so much sadder is this is not unusual. Magazines are printed every day which are all for a female audience – on the one hand they preach body confidence and on the other they measure up women against women – who wore it well , who looked bigger in their bikini , pointing out whether weight has been gained or lost – finding the very worst photos of women to show and create hideous headlines to make money…. And women read it.
And this issue was quickly followed by a connected organisation who run a TV programme for women watched by women who brought on a ‘guest’ that the producers knew would not cope well and created car crash TV – painful and embarrassing to watch as a group of women verbally punched it out on live TV. – ouch!
Personally, I have only on a couple of occasions felt mistreated by a man – and I don’t think it was due them being male – I believe it was due to them being not nice people. I have more under hand comments and snide comments and perceived competitiveness or threat from other women – in my roles as mum and my choice on how I fed my children and in my role as a business woman when people don’t want collaboration but feel insecure in their own space.
I am not saying we don’t judge – we all judge me included, but as the saying goes if we really want to make progress – let’s as women raise each other up – not actively and publicly pull each other down. Let’s not support these publications through buying and reading this nonsense. Let’s be celebrating our achievements both for ourselves and for others.
We are consumed with wanting to show women can be anything possible – and we can ... many women were overjoyed with the introduction of a female Dr Who , seeing it as a step forward , but we fail to look at what is happening in our own back yard in our own female community …
BTW – just for the record – I am not a fan of a female Dr Who ... Just because we can have one (and of course we can) doesn’t mean we have to ... Dr Who was a fabulous role model for our young boys showing that not every male role model has to be a super hero – that you can be different, eccentric and clever and still be wonderful. Equality is for all, not about changing everything at all cost but understanding that anything is possible.
So, going back to those stats – it is no surprise to me as a therapist and no surprise to me as mum who has raised two daughters, that our young women feel under so much pressure to succeed – but where does a lot of that pressure come from ?…. Raise Each Other Up because only then will we make progress.