As the #MeToo movement continues to push the cultural dialogue forward around sexual harassment and gender equality, women are more confident and empowered than ever.
We are living through a long-needed reckoning that could help change our society for the better. However research shows girls experience a significant drop in confidence when they hit puberty. They are also quite a bit less confident than boys.
Recently I was told that I lack confidence by someone in power. That piece of advice, however well-intentioned it was really hurt.
While I thought about hiding this non-aesthetically pleasing stuff from my blog and social media channels (because in the virtual world, life is good, we are happy and everything is going well), it’s a reminder that we all have bad days!
So after a few hugs from H this weekend, we flopped down on the sofa to watch ‘I Feel Pretty’. It was just Netflix, me and Amy Schumer heart-to-heart on this journey – together!
For anyone who hasn’t seen this yarn, it’s a Hollywood movie about female body image. Amy Schumer (Renee) stars as a woman, who, after a bump on the head believes she’s a world-class hottie. This leads to some funny dancing and striking thoughtfulness.
Renee looks at herself in the mirror. She doesn’t say anything, but it is clear what she is thinking. It’s a scene we all know — facing your reflection, having no confidence.
I know it so well that lately, as I head through my early forties, I avoid looking at my reflection at all. That’s not easy to admit either. I know I have many valuable qualities than just my looks. I am a successful PR Manager and full-time midlife mum.
Yet I worry that when people look at me, all they see is my teeth. I’m scared of the dentist after having a bad experience.
The message behind “I Feel Pretty” is important. Renee wants women to feel “empowered to live up to their full potential”. She doesn’t want them to be held back by the fear of being perceived as fat or ugly.
I’d like to believe that my life experience has armed me with the tools to survive in this world. I certainly won’t be carrying a white flag around with me or surrendering any time soon. I am confident of that.
It’s essential to raise girls to be confident enough to speak up when things don’t feel or seem right. We need to remind them it’s not their job to please people.
A book that’s worth a read is The Confidence Code for Girls. Published by HarperCollins, it focuses on renewed dedication to raising strong girls.
It’s a book from journalists and New York Times Bestselling authors Claire Shipman (former correspondent for ABC, NBC, and CNN) and Katty Kay (anchor of BBC World News America, based in Washington DC and host of Beyond 100 Days on PBS/BBC).
The entertaining guide is filled with quizzes, challenges and true stories from real girls. The tales teach the essential yet elusive code to becoming bold, brave, and fearless.
- EMBRACE RISK – Risk more; put yourself out there.
- DEAL WITH FAILURE – Accept and deal with failure.
- KNOW YOUR BRAIN – Curb rumination, over-thinking and perfectionism.
- TAKE ACTION – Become a “girl of action” to unleash your confidence and do amazing things.