This isn’t a feminist rant. Or maybe it is. Or maybe like feminism, I should let you make up your own mind and your own choices.
I have recently just had the most amazing past month: full to bursting with events, meeting incredible new people and being taken on by the Princes Trust. Brilliant. But there was one observation made.
Whilst sitting watching the Couture show by Oxford Fashion Week, with gorgeous friend Neon Duchess (well worth a Google) we noted that although lots of the designers on the catwalk were female, the ones who had *made it* so to speak, were predominantly men. By made it I mean that they were exhibiting all over the world and this was providing them with a living. (I also understand that success is relative, and success to one person is very different to the next). The main exception that comes to mind is Dame Westwood. An absolute fave, and a woman I have always admired. When I was growing up, embarrassingly I had thought that Elie Saab was in fact Ellie Saab. He is definitely a him.
And then Neon Duchess and I speculated this theory. And it is just a theory, so I would be interested in hearing your thoughts. We as women are rarely encouraged to be competitive. Being competitive as a woman is rarely seen as a desirable quality. Instead our ambition is translated as being too bossy or too forward. We are frightened of coming across as intimidating or comparing ourselves to other individual’s talents as to who is doing something ‘better’. Why? Men do this all of the time.
From as early as my childhood I spent my time being called ‘bossy’ or ‘overpowering’ when I wanted to lead groups or compete with the boys. It wasn’t attractive or ladylike. In my teen years I still didn’t see a reason to change, kindness and compassion is at the heart of all I do, but if I do something I strive to be the best at it. While I worked in my warehouse and retail job after university, I made sure that I did the very best I could at it. In short, I don’t do anything by halves.
As women, and as men, we should be encouraging each other to be better, and not just to outdo our personal bests, but to look at others work and acknowledge that we have room for improvement. This is healthy, it is natural and when done in a way that channels our energy positively it motivates and inspires us. We all need a goal, something to aim for, and at the start we are all beginners.
A huge amount of my favourite designers, most of whom are men, all rightfully deserve to be where they are. They are hugely talented, competition driven and fuelled by the desire to succeed. This is what I strive for. I surround myself with people who, in all areas of my life tell me ‘this bit is doing great, but actually you need to push yourself, you can do better’.
I have been described as ‘a bundle of joy’ and I spend great deals of my time giggling and trying to make others happy. Being ambitious doesn’t make you cold-hearted, the same as being competitive doesn’t make you masculine. I want to be able to motivate others, let’s strive to be the best in whatever we do ❤