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Who are the REAL Feminist Role Models?

October 03, 2016

Who are the REAL Feminist Role Models?

I have often wondered what it is I am missing that other women seem to have.  Why do I find it so hard to keep looking like I've just walked out of the hairdresser, with a perfect face of make-up and uncreased clothes, for more than 2 minutes?  Why can't I set a good example and at least appear to be in control? 

Laddered tights!

I mentioned this to another woman at a business networking meeting - she thought she knew me reasonably well until this point.  Her reaction was a revelation "You always seem so in control" she said "I had no idea you felt in the least bit insecure!  In fact I always thought of you as a great feminist role model".  I was momentarily speechless, for quite a long moment.

Now I hate labels.  The idea that everything can be categorised, tagged and put in neat little boxes has never appealed to me.  So to be labelled a feminist was a bit of a shock.  Not just because I think of "feminist" as another label, which is all too often used as a negative.  So I got to wondering "What does feminism really mean"?

This is what a feminist looks like!

A definition I found useful (thanks to the excellent blog by Cathy Reisenwitz) is:

"Feminism is the belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes."

Nowhere in that definition does it say you have to be a woman to be a feminist.  In fact I think it would help some men to understand that when women talk about feminism they are really talking about equality as human beings.  Yet feminism is often presented negatively as women wanting to get the better of men.  And feminists are portrayed as bra-burning harridans with no sense of taste or style.

Man hating ball breaking hairy legged feminist

The feminist movement, whilst lead by women, was supported by forward thinking men.  It helped women get the vote, obtain equal rights for jobs, made laws to control domestic violence, help women obtain the rights to own property, to divorce, to have access to birth control and to have possession of their own bodies.  All of this is empowering and positive.  But the message has got a bit lost.

 

The trouble with all this equality is that some of the bad things women have had to put up with are now affecting men (and I don't mean period pains!)  Every day women AND men are bombarded with imagery which taps into their body image insecurities and reminds them of their imperfections. While it's great to have men finally taking better care of their personal grooming, there is the daily assault showing men with perfect abs and lean toned legs as the aspirational "norm".  

Sheryl Sandberg points out in her book "Lean In" - Perfection is the enemy.  And it's not just a female thing. There is no such thing as "having it all" regardless of what gender you are. There is always some compromise.  And once you figure out that being yourself, in whatever form that takes, is mentally a much better place to be then life starts to appear a whole lot easier.  Albeit that I realise this is a complete simplification of a very complex issue.

Perfect legs in black tights 

So I am going to take being called a feminist role model as a compliment. Some of the many other men and women who I admire for their positive gender attitudes can bear the same label.  There are many people who cross my daily path (either in person or in the busy hustle of social media) who show great bravery by standing up for who they are.  And they are great role models for those, who like me, sometimes feel a little less than perfect.

 

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Size Guide

20d and 50d Tights and Stay-ups

Beauty Tights

70d Tights

Dress Size

Dress Size

Dress Size

Small

8-10

8-10

10-12

Medium

12-14

12-14

14-16

Large

16-18

16-18

18-20

Large +

20-22

20-22

22-24

Leg Length

For over 5’9” choose a size up

L1 up to 5’6” and L2 for 5’7” and over

For over 5’9” choose the size up

Seamless Tights

Heights

Weight

Average dress size

Up to height 5'4"

55kg / 8st 10lb

8-10

Up to height 5'4"

68kg / 10st 10lb

12-14

5'5" - 5'9"

61kg / 9st 8lb

10-12

5'5" - 5'9"

74kg / 11st 9lb

14-16

5'10" - 6'0"

63kg / 10st

10-12

Seamless tights are very stretchy and soft and will suit the leg length typical of the sizes above