International Women’s Day, Feminism What does it mean for us?

September 19, 2020

It’s International Women’s Day!

I am a self professed feminist, and whilst some of you may sneer, and think it’s a dirty word – that I’m a bra burning, head shaving, underarm hair growing anarchist – in fact I just believe in simple equality of the sexes. I don’t seek for women to control men, but so many subconscious social traits still happen on a daily basis, many perpetuated by women, that as a sex we hamper our own progress.

My experience

Too often women judge the actions and appearance of others instead of helping each other. We seem so concerned with offering unsolicited opinions, we miss the damaging effect it has on us as a whole.
Personally, I’ve been told I’m too skinny (after coming back from 6 months in South Sudan, where people were genuinely starving), that I look better with more “meat on my bones”, and also that I’m too fat, that I shouldn’t use Botox or dermal filler – despite them not being able to tell me which areas I’ve had treated. I’ve been told I work too hard, that I’ll definitely have to give up work when I have a child, that I should settle down, that I look tired or ill if I don’t wear makeup.
How many of these comments are frequently directed at men? Why is it people’s business what I do and look like? Many of these come from well meaning women.
Only this month, I walked past a man in whilst at work in A&E who venomously spat the words, “you’re not as fit as you think you are” at me – as if my sole purpose on this earth was to be decorative to him, but also be totally oblivious of it. Never mind being a highly trained, autonomous nurse practitioner who’s role is to see, treat and help people. This was completely unprovoked verbal attack, I hadn’t even looked this man in the eye. Be quiet, be pretty, don’t have self confidence, don’t use methods to look better because some people have gone too far.

Perfection is expected. But woe betide the women who admit to the use of Botox or filler. How dare you use skin boosters to make your skin look flawless? You’re either “cheating” or plastic. Cue the onslaught of “don’t go too close to the radiator, you’ll melt” jokes. They’re unoriginal guys, come on.
Even if you don’t inject any of these hyaluronic acid based products (which is in fact, a naturally occurring molecule) women are met with derision.
“Just grow old gracefully” – right up until you develop dark circles, crows feet, jowls. Then you’re just too far gone, and so many women report turning “invisible”.

What I’m trying to say is, why don’t we just stay in our own lanes? I agree, some practitioners are going too far, filling lips to the point of almost bursting, or changing faces to be unrecognisable. But please, less of the bitching. Less of the unsolicited negative opinions. Our female ancestors fought and gave their lives to give us opportunities and we occupy our time squabbling and tearing each other down.

If you feel self conscious about an aspect of yourself, for which there is an easy and safe fix (in the hands of an expert practitioner) then why not?
Badly done fillers are the only fillers that are visible. I dare you to identify all the treatments I’ve had. I bet you can’t.

A good practitioner will make you look the best version of yourself, not transform you into Kim Kardashian – cookie cutter packages making you unrecognisable. Let’s play nice. If you want to feel good, that is entirely your right to do so. The more women that openly talk about it, the more diluted the taboo becomes. I will strive for choice and options for women – not to perpetuate the subconscious expectation of being decorative ornaments, but to empower them. If a women feels good in her skin, she’s more confident, she cares less what others say, and doors open for those women. If someone doesn’t want hair and ingrown hairs, I’ll laser it off; if they want killer cheekbones or to look less tired I’m there for them. Not for men, or others but for the benefit and confidence of the patient.

Let’s shatter the glass ceiling, not reinforce it with shallow, short sighted, harmful opinions. Women can do whatever they set their mind to, but believe me, when women work together they move mountains…


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