Brilliant, confident, passionate, courageous: These are just a handful of complimentary words to describe someone. Oftentimes, a word like “pretty” is the go-to adjective when it comes to praising women. We’ve spent our whole lives with that “P” word chipping away at us. It starts when we’re girls and is an ideal that follows us throughout life. I’ll admit I’ve been guilty of this too, calling little girls “cute,” “adorable” or “pretty” before anything else. The truth is girls are brave and curious and creative and strong. Let’s not forget to acknowledge and encourage those attributes in the females around us, no matter their age. Today, let’s hand out positivity beyond pretty.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 83 Percent
It’s a better time than ever to be a woman. In my experience, even just 10 years ago, women were a little more than hesitant to identify themselves as feminists. But today, according to a national survey conducted by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, six out of 10 women identify as feminists or strong feminists, with 83 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 34 saying they find feminism empowering.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Amanda de Cadenet, Founder and CEO of Girlgaze
In an On The Dot from way back in May 2016, I mentioned how fond I am of today’s Woman to Watch, Amanda de Cadenet, and her women-focused interview series, The Conversation, which she often closed by asking her subjects the poignant question, “What would you say to your 14-year-old self?” The series was unapologetically candid about topics important to women, and Amanda never shied away from challenging subject matter.
Since then, this trailblazer has continued down the female-empowerment path, encouraging girls and women to embrace self-compassion and boldness. Amanda recently penned a collection of deeply personal essays called It’s Messy, in which she details her own complex, occasionally unpleasant journey through life and career while also honestly addressing the issues, concerns and experiences relevant to the modern woman.
Amanda was practically famous the moment she was born. Her mother was a fashion model and her father was a successful race-car driver. Her connections and talent led to Amanda launching her TV career by the age of 15, with her hosting two successful shows in the United Kingdom. But fame can be a double-edged sword, as Amanda knows all too well, and she’s faced her share of gossip-tabloid troubles. By 19, Amanda had married a rock star (Duran Duran bassist John Taylor), was pregnant with her first child and was commonly referred to in the press as a “wild child.”
A move to Los Angeles settled her down and Amanda spent the next decade and a half honing her artistic skills, becoming a well-respected photographer, author and eventually, one of the best dang interviewers in the world, with a penchant for discussing taboo topics with aplomb.
Never one to rest on her laurels, Amanda is doing her part to keep the patriarchy at bay and ensure women and girls feel empowered. As such, she recently launched her newest venture, Girlgaze, a social-media movement that grew into the first multimedia platform committed to supporting girls behind the camera. With the mission of closing the gender gap by creating visibility and jobs for female photographers, the Girlgaze movement includes a new book that features a powerful collection of images from young women across the globe. From harrowing photos of war-torn countries to thoughtful moments at home, Amanda’s inspiring Girlgaze book provides readers with a glimpse of the striking ways in which young, creative women view the world.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Let’s end today’s On The Dot with a powerful quote from author G.D. Anderson, who said:
“Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.
Head shot by Amanda de Cadenet. Background image by Amber Zeekaf.