Growing up, I have often doubted my future and ability to get to where I want to be. However, I only have to glance at the world to notice that it is full of brilliant women who have achieved great things, getting really far and accomplishing things that were never expected of them. These women inspire me to have faith in myself and never to replace my wildest dreams with an easier alternative. Some women in particular have had a profound effect on me over the years, and I discuss a selection of them below.
If I am going to celebrate inspirational women, an obvious start would be with Queen B herself. A lady who needs no introduction, Beyoncé has accomplished so much whilst maintaining a graceful glow throughout. She taught me the meaning of sass through awe-inspiring dance routines and feisty music. Her inner warmth and outer beauty shines through in every photo, video or recording I see of her and I’m surprised that I didn’t faint when I saw her in concert. I admire her view on life, religion and love but, most of all, I admire her for choosing to amplify Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s definition of a feminist as “a person who believes in the social, economic and political equality of the sexes”. To me, Beyoncé showcases how powerful and confident women can be.
As an aspiring journalist myself, it’s beyond fitting that I look up to the powerhouse that is Anna Wintour. With an impressive CV under her designer belt and an influential position as Editor in Chief of American Vogue, she is the epitome of a woman who knows what she wants and goes for it. Known for her “chilly demeanour”, she brought a fierce, sexy and fresh edge to Vogue and succeeded in bringing it out of its slump. Alongside fashion domination, she married and raised children, which shows the world that women do not have to be restricted to a choice between either career or family success. In a world which ridicules a weak female stereotype, Wintour states that femininity and dominance can coincide. Women everywhere can benefit from the reminder that sexy and womanly does not mean weak, and that women can be, and are, independent and business-savvy.
Ruby Rose is a DJ, actress and media personality. She came out at aged 12 as a lesbian and was taunted and bullied because of it. At the age of 16 the abuse was so bad she required a trip to the hospital. In later life she decided to pull out of some DJ gigs because she was trying to overcome her battle with depression, which she succeeded with. These life events reveal how strong Ruby is, and her acceptance of her sexuality shows self-confidence. In July 2014 she told the world that she is gender fluid after making a thought-provoking film called “Break Free”. This film showed Rose cutting off her long blonde hair, dying it brown, scrubbing her skin to show her tattoos and smearing off her make up. Whilst acting as a rowdy male Rose looks happy, confident and comfortable in her skin. This beautiful woman has overcome so much adversity, mental illness and stigma and come out more self-accepting than so many women I know.
Jennifer Lawrence is a humorous, awkward and talented breath of fresh air. Because I have struggled with self-image and food restriction in my past, it is refreshing to see a woman overtly express her love for food and embrace her charismatic and eccentric personality. She criticised Kate Moss’s famous “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” claiming that many things do, “like potatoes, and bread!”. Lawrence promotes being healthy and strong, not dangerously thin, and is conscious of the responsibility that women in the media have to young girls. I feel it is important to have women like this in the public eye, as something as simple as the things she says could have a profoundly positive effect on a young women.
Lana Del Rey
Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, the birth name of Lana Del Rey, is inspiring to me purely because of her uniqueness. She is more than a singer and songwriter; she is an artist who has always been true to her self-proclaimed “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” identity. She isn’t afraid to bare her soul in her music, showing how vulnerability can be beautiful. Critics have dubbed her “anti-feminist”, but it seems that she merely feels she does not have the expertise to talk about or advocate feminism, rather than being actively against it. This may relieve pressure from women who feel the same way. I admire how she is not ashamed of this, but I especially admire how she defines a true feminist; as someone who “does exactly what she wants”. I feel women should feel able and willing to act and make choices which suit them, not anybody else who tells them how they should be. Concepts of the “ideal woman” are wrong, whether they are from a male or female perspective, and Lana helps to express this. A woman should be exactly what she desires to be.
Alexa Chung is so effortlessly stylish it hurts. Cited as the “modern day Kate Moss”, Alexa Chung is somebody I look up to because she has background of modelling, presenting, writing and acting in her fashionable archive, all whilst maintaining a modest and joyful smile. Her book It is a prized part of my collection, and her love for style, art and life is paramount and seamlessly beautiful. Looking at pictures of her gives me some serious style and life envy and her adorably unique style stimulates my artistic mind. She even makes me feel proud of the pink cowboy boots and pink leopard-print dress that I adored as a child.