To me personally, being a woman is all about expressing, finding and accepting yourself. Obviously this can be expressed and celebrated in a number of ways. For me, it’s through fashion. Combing ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ trends in attempt to create my own unique style.
But unfortunately, I know there’s probably a man or two out there that may think to themselves ‘I don’t like girls who wear this’ or ‘I don’t like girls with their hair up, down, long, short, etc.’ A man out there who drives a van who will beep his horn at a woman who is dressing comfortably for the summer heat. They are not your property – keep your sweaty, vulgar hand away from that horn and drive on, please…
What is even sadder is women often criticise other women too, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s jealousy, maybe it’s low self esteem or maybe they just genuinely don’t like the other woman. Whatever the issue, suffragettes did not sacrifice their lives for females to be petty against each other. We already have men to make ourselves feel dreadful. We already have a billion dollar industry that feeds off low self esteem of young girls.
In my opinion, the world has come pretty far in terms of equality. Women can now vote, the legalisation of gay marriage in America, the impact of the Civil Rights Movement, the list goes on. However, I also feel like we have a long way to go, especially in light of recent changes in America (I’m looking at you, Mr Trump). Plenty of people are still living in the stone age. I recently came across a video on Facebook of a debate within the European Parliament where a Polish MEP claimed that women should earn less, are less intelligent and are generally the weaker sex. This made me so indescribably angry; not only for me personally but for all women. Women should be celebrated, expressed, explored – not put down and objectified. We are not less superior to men, and we are most definitely more powerful when we put the pettiness aside and fight together.
Of course, there have been positive events regarding this, such as the Women’s March in January. It was incredibly refreshing to follow this unity of women, members of the LGBT+ community, men, people from all walks of life to be joining together to fight the patriarchy for their human rights. Not happy about it? Do something about it.
To continue this positivity, I decided to celebrate some women that are the biggest inspirations to me. Whether it be visually, through their activism, their attitudes – they deserve to be applauded. Here are some of my favourite women who inspire me each day as I travel down the difficult path of discovering the young woman that I want to be.
“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.“
For me, Audrey Hepburn is a timeless inspiration. First off visually – the slick, elegant hair, the thick brows way ahead of their time, and the classic eyeliner. A film and fashion icon during the Hollywood Golden Age, criticism was unavoidable. Some had things to say about her acting skills, her appearance, her weight… the list goes on, I’m sure. Hepburn was classed as too skinny by many, when the matter of the fact is this was down to the undernourishment she experienced when living in the Netherlands during the second World War. Here she trained as a ballet dancer and participated in secret productions where she raised money for the Dutch resistance against the Germans. Not only this, she also ran messages for the resistance. Had she been found out, an execution would’ve been inevitable.
In the later years of her life she devoted less of her life to Hollywood and more to theorganisation UNICEF and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom a month before her death. The fact that she used her incredible fame for amazing causes and the benefits she brought to the world results her in being one of my biggest inspirations.
It is safe to say Alexa Chung is one of my biggest fashion inspirations. I had always been a fan of her visually but after reading her book ‘It’, I was hooked. Her easy going personality while exploring the fashion world felt like such a breeze. Many make the assumption that all women in the fashion industry are stuck up, conceited, whatever you want to call it. But Chung seems to have a flair which makes you want to pop down the pub for a pint with her. And I don’t even drink.
“I either want to look like an excellently dressed boy or a kitten in the 1960s”
– Pretty accurate. Once again, another woman who finds the perfect middle ground between feminine and masculine; sticking a middle finger up to gender norms. Women can dress however they damn well please, and Alexa Chung is the clear example of that, because she truly rocks whatever she wears. Plus, she dated Alex Turner… so she must be cool.
Alexa is also the very reason why I don’t fear to wear leopard print. If I throw on any leopard printed garment, I feel like I should be running a market stall and change my name to Kat Slater. But here she is proving that such a pattern can be classy too…
The Haim Sisters
“There needs to be more of us that are ready to do it and take on the dudes, because we’re just as good. More likely we’re better. It shouldn’t be a surprising thing to be a girl band.” – Alana Haim
Haim are probably the coolest girls I’ve ever set my eyes on. The leather jackets, the long, middle parted hair, the sisterly energy they give off just by looking at them. I have two sisters myself, and when looking at Haim I can see us in them. They empower each other and compliment each other visually. Plus, they break down the close minded thought that “girls shouldn’t play guitars.”
Why the hell not? Girls can rock just as hard as boys, sometimes even more. Look at Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks, Laura Jane Grace (I am halfway through her autobiography right now and I would thoroughly recommend it). Women have their own unique flair and expressing that through music is in my eyes truly beautiful.
Lana Del Rey
“Being brave means knowing when you fail, you don’t fail forever.”
Lana Del Rey was one of my biggest inspirations during my teenage years. Just looking at her brings back fresh memories of being fifteen years old, so naive to what I am capable of, allowing silly teenage boys to make me feel awful about myself. If I could turn the clock back, I’d give younger me a stern talking to, to say the least. Lana was the soundtrack to my teenage years, and watching her mature through her music as I mature in life too makes me feel somewhat connected to her. It’s funny how any form of art can cause this sensation.
Her unique vintage style and unmissable vocals in this day and age feels like a breath of fresh air. Her Priscilla Presley-esque eyes are what inspired me to practise my eyeliner to perfection.
Obviously, fictional characters can connect and speak to you on levels just as the same as real idols can. Here are a couple of my inspirations from the TV or big screen…
90s Rachel Green
Rachel Green, played by Jennifer Aniston, during the early seasons of Friends visually captivates me every time I watch it. The effortless styling of the dungarees, the famous Rachel haircut, the layering of strappy dresses over t shirts, and of course my favourite – the Levi jeans. It’s the epitome of the 90s, and although I was only born in 1997, it makes me wish I could time travel, steal all of the clothes from the set, and time travel back…
Not only this, but in my current situation in life I feel as if I connect with her. She’s trying to be independent, she’s serving coffee everyday and although it may be getting her by, fashion is her true love. The fact that she gets there in the end gives me a speckle of hope that maybe my fate will be the same.
Thelma and Louise
“Where do you get off behaving that way with women you don’t even know, huh? How’d you feel if someone did that to your mother or your sister or your wife?”
This film is one of my all time favourites. The whole aesthetic of it pleases me to no end – the fashion, the convertible, that Grand Canyon scene, the Polaroid… it’s all so dreamy. This film gives off such an essence of girl power. When I first watched it, the urge to throw on some vintage Levi jeans and jump in a convertible with my best friend was almost too strong to resist.
My favourite thing about this film is that these two ladies most definitely don’t take any shit from any man. The scene where they blow up the old guys truck for making obscene, disgusting gestures at them on the road is truly iconic. It’s pretty much what I feel like doing to every man who honks his horn at me thinking that I should take it as a compliment.
And last but not least…
Since I am mentioning female inspirations to me, I can’t miss out the biggest one of all – my mother. This is my favourite photo of her; it was taken on my Dad’s 18th birthday in his bedroom. The smug smile on her face, the classic 80s hairstyle and jumper, I just love it. The fact that she is a similar age to me here makes me love it even more. Here she is, just like me, in the middle of her youth so unaware of the wonderful woman she would blossom and become, so oblivious to the fact that she would be the best friend of my sisters and I, and the person we look up to the most.
So that’s a wrap…
If you’ve made it to the end of this post, I am truly grateful. This is something that is very important to me, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the women that I idolise. Remember to celebrate your female empowerment, don’t let anyone, regardless of gender, dictate your worth.
Thank you | Lucy Violet x