The proposal for a special day to celebrate the value, struggles and rights of women across the world was made by Luise Zietz and Clara Zetkin in 1910. Inequality of pay, conditions and the status of women at work runs parallel to the sexual exploitation of women, especially through the media.
On an individual level, legal, social and political issues challenge us as women daily in our lives still.
My grandmother, who died in 1972, lived as a supporter of women’s rights. “I remember when people only had aeroplanes as a mad idea in their minds”, she told me one day when I was thinking of dropping History and she was talking me out of it.
“All these thin women these days look as though they’ve agreed to only be half alive,” she told me in the mid-sixties when Twiggy was hugely influential in moulding the thin body as the best shape for women. In 2012, fashions are still very much created for this thin ideal.
Of course nothing at all is wrong with being a thin woman, but there is an issue when this shape is treated as if it ought to fit all. All our battles for equality with men and a humane world are sabotaged if our body image and femaleness are exploited, packaged and sold back to us as something we are not. Our femaleness is ours to celebrate uniquely for each of us as individual women!
In the 1950’s, various sizes of women ruled. You might be thin but did not have to be and the media reflected this with voluptuous women like Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren.
Nowadays shops don’t even seem to stock clothes that would fit those women!
I also worry that my beloved Miss Piggy is not exactly a positive role model these days, now that she has sold out her intrinsic pinkness and gone orange. She might be mega famous now, but as Kermit accepts his place in her shadow I’m sure that he knows she’s a fake!
I also think that the perspective of time can lessen apathy and impatience. Women of the world are not united until each of us grows stronger, the longer we live.