In the light of International Women's Day, we feel called to share a message devoted to the mothers and daughters, to the entrepreneurs and friends, to the dreamers, the teachers, the leaders and each and every radiant woman of our community.
The theme this IWD is #choosetochange. Any woman who has been conditioned to minimise themselves, I challenge you, to choose to change who and what you allow to dictate how you present in the world. Your light does not need to dim for your value to be seen. We had a huge chat about this recently.
We’ve seen women walk in the shoes of men, striving to have the same jobs, equal pay and mutual respect. I see this sacrifice as an act of selflessness, for the future of all women. To these women, I applaud you. This determination and fierce power has played a significant role in creating a brighter world for all women.
That being said, we still have a few more mountains to climb however having conversations and shedding light on key issues of female oppression, such as over-sexualisation of fuller busts is a great start. We recently shared an IGTV discussing the busty experience of feeling like you’re ‘too much’, because of the way society responds to women who have large busts. Hollie and Rachael discuss the messages that are reinforced by unconscious behaviours from ourselves, men and other women.
In response, many women shared experiences from childhood, where mothers planted seeds of shame that came from a place of fear for the world’s negative perception of their developing daughter. Of course it is completely reasonable for a worried mother to feel fearful of men getting the ‘wrong idea’ of their daughter. That’s the world we’ve been living in, female bodies, particularly full busts have been completely over-sexualised and this conditioning is one of the many negative consequences. Our belief is that a big part of the female journey to equality is becoming aware of, and challenging internal thought patterns of fear that we subconsciously allow to have influence over how we interact with the world.
Our words mean so much. The statement ‘you’ll give the wrong impression’ in itself needs some unpacking. You, my beautiful fuller busted friend, are doing nothing wrong, you are existing as you are, and you have every darn right to do so. The person who is getting the ‘wrong impression’, has the inability to see the value and humanness of a person. They are unable to see past physical appearance and previously learnt messages of female sexualisation. That’s their baggage, it's heavy and it’s not yours to carry.
Fear based statements are also teaching young women that their natural body isn’t okay, what this is subconsciously imbedding, is that on some level she isn’t okay and that there is something wrong with her. This begins what Tara Brach calls ‘the trance of unworthiness’. Which refers to the way we passively take ownership for faults that may not be our own. It is dangerous and subconscious patterning that many young women become a victim of. This patterning then stays with them and is only reinforced with maturity. So what do we do? Choose to change. Choose to trust in the power of change.
Tell your daughters that they are valuable beyond comprehension. That they are a miracle, an artwork of nature. That they are rare and raw and a special kind of joy. That there is no need for them to alter themselves to merge into a mould.
The burning question inside my heart is saying.. is walking in the shoes of men the only way? What if I want to walk in my own shoes? What if I don’t want to shift and shape myself as a method of growth. What would that look like? Do we have to walk the path of another to appear similar and equally capable as our male colleagues, leaders, partners and friends? I have no desire to live in fear and suppress the feminine attributes of my being. This masculine strive has been seen as the road to female evolution and recognition, becoming what are not innately born to be. Where is the seat for "womanness" at this table? Where is the place for feminine wisdom, intuition and creativity?
Audre Lorde has said “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.” Women are not men, we are wild and wonderful creatures. I don’t believe that playing the game of the patriarchy is the only way to see change. What happens if we stop and start rewriting our own narrative? Owning who we are and what we have to offer without moulding ourselves to fit into the square that someone else created.
I would also like to point out there is an abundance of pretty fantastic men out there that do support and empower women to step into their worth without compromising their womanness, but there is always more to be done.
Rachael, the founder of MARVELL LANE has stepped into her womanness by advocating for busty women, who like herself have felt a legitimate style of oppression due to the size of their bust. By leaning into the challenges that she herself has faced, she’s created from a place of compassion. She is not wearing anyone else's shoes, she is walking her own path, in her own shoes and it’s a beautifully busty experience!
When we are conditioned to diminish, to make ourselves smaller, we neglect the idea of individualism, conforming to the rules and expectations of others. To fit into a cookie cutter, we’ve followed the steps of the former and forgotten the importance of self-expression, of knowing oneself and owning it. If we were to surrender the grasp of the patriarchy, perhaps we would be better poised to listen to the experiences of other women and use that wisdom as the foundation to re-writing our own narrative.
*** I would like to recognise that my experience is different from someone of another race, sexual orientation, nationality, religion or physical/mental ability. I acknowledge that I write this article as a white, cis female and with that comes a level of privilege but also a limited level of lived experiences. We value all voices and experiences.***
Artwork by @lovelyboydesigns