Tonight’s Oscars broadcast has me thinking quite a bit about what it must feel like to walk the red carpet as a woman in Hollywood: millions of eyes and cameras trained on your decision of dress, hairstyle, jewelry, shoes, etc. Everything you say and do is up for grabs as professional media stand in their positions along the way, ready to smile and greet you, then play judge and jury. The rest of us mere mortals will watch your appearance and make swift judgments on social media. The pressure has to be enormous, and you have to think that somewhere, deep inside, knowing their physical looks are being dissected on a narrow strip of crimson carpet on their way into the biggest night of their lives has to be a harrowing experience. Somewhere, within their own minds, they have to block out the noise to avoid that wave of criticism from crushing their spirit.
I cannot imagine how they do it. I applaud those who make it through the gauntlet to enjoy an In and Out Burger before they head off to some island where there are no phones, internet or critical judgments of any kind.
Dealing with that critical court of opinion is something I deal with every single day, albeit on a much smaller scale. I throw items up for publication on the Internet, on this site and others, and commenters can do whatever they want with what I’ve worked on. Sometimes, the statements are kind, but more often than not they’re extremely cruel and withering. The internet is kind of like going to a party in a bad neighborhood: no matter how good of a time you think you’re having, there’s always someone looking for a fight. Writing for some bigger clients has given people the opportunity to email me directly with the sole intent of tearing me to pieces. I’ve been told my writing ability is “piss poor,” that I “suck at this,” that I need to shut up, and any number of things per my opinions. The thing that shocks me the most about the people who take the time to say these things, as their email addresses pop up and they reveal more about their identities: it’s mostly other women who send these sentiments my way.
When these things are said, I have to find that place within my own mind to block out the noise and remember the reason I write in the first place: I wish to create things that inspire people to action. Sometimes those actions aren’t what I’d wish hoped for (positive,) but if they’ve taken some action, my words were at least heard, and that’s saying something.
As Fashion.Style.Beauty turns five years old this month (!!), I’ve thought long and hard about the direction in which I wish to take this site in the future. We live in a different world now, one with information streams that feel like drinking from a fire hose. What, if anything, should I be talking about, and what actions would I like to inspire in others? What actions do I wish to inspire in myself?
I want to help change the dialogue we have as women.
I want to inspire us to speak to each other and ourselves in a better way. The power of what we say to each other, the tone in which we speak, the verbiage we use, the intent behind our actions, the magnitude of what we’re putting out there — it’s quite immeasurable. See also: a younger generation is watching us, listening to every single word, mimicking every action. We can pretend that we don’t want to be role models, that we’re only responsible for ourselves. But we are responsible as women for shaping the world in which we will grow older and in which others will hopefully thrive in the future. What we say —and more important, sometimes, what we don’t say — have great effects. In order for us to live well, we have to shift the words: we need to inspire, encourage, and more gently correct. And the nature of those words, the change that is so needed, must start if the dialogue within us changes. What we say to ourselves, inside ourselves, with no one looking, is the genesis of this new beginning that is so sorely needed.
This week, let’s be mindful about how we think and speak. Then, one word at a time, encourage another woman to do the same. Something as simple as “You look nice today,” has the power to change the course of the day for just one person. Try it: be kind to yourself, speak words of loving joy within your mind, then send them forth across your lips to help one woman rise to her feet.
The power of what we say as women can change the world, ladies. Let’s start tonight.
Speak words of love and joy, gals. That’s this week’s work.