I am woman, hear me roar

I am woman, hear me roar

This is a photograph that was taken on 8 March 1975 at the first International Women's Day rally held in Australia. The rally was held to campaign for women's rights.

We have come a long way since this photo was taken, however, there is still a very long way to go before the world treats us as equals.

Being a woman in Australia is a distinctive journey marked by triumphs and challenges, particularly in the realms of self-acceptance and societal expectations. From the early days of childhood, Aussie girls are immersed in the standards set by a society with a strong male presence, a landscape that can sometimes feel like a complex tapestry of contradictions.

We are in a lucky country, where opportunities are abundant, and girls today are told they can conquer any horizon they set their sights on. The call to embrace education, excel in any chosen path, and forge independence echoes across the messaging. However, harmonising this empowering narrative, there is also an immense pressures to conform to predefined roles that contradict all other messaging. The concept of "having it all" is painted as the ultimate aspiration, yet it paints a picture that seems endlessly elusive. 

We are inundated with messages dictating our appearance, behaviour, and demeanour. These pervasive expectations contribute to diminished self-esteem, heightened anxiety, and often depression. Women are often pressured to be something they are not. 

Women still face resistance and skepticism when they strive for leadership positions or enter male-dominated fields.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think as an adult (or child for that matter) I'd be watching a movie titled "Barbie". It took a long time before I did get to see the film, and as much as it shocks to me to have watched it, what shocked me even more was to find myself welling up with tears during  America Ferrera's speech:

"It is literally impossible to be a woman. You are so beautiful, and so smart, and it kills me that you don't think you're good enough. Like, we have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we're always doing it wrong.

You have to be thin, but not too thin. And you can never say you want to be thin. You have to say you want to be healthy, but also you have to be thin. You have to have money, but you can't ask for money because that's crass. You have to be a boss, but you can't be mean. You have to lead, but you can't squash other people's ideas. You're supposed to love being a mother, but don't talk about your kids all the damn time. You have to be a career woman but also always be looking out for other people. You have to answer for men's bad behaviour, which is insane, but if you point that out, you're accused of complaining. You're supposed to stay pretty for men, but not so pretty that you tempt them too much or that you threaten other women because you're supposed to be a part of the sisterhood.

But always stand out and always be grateful. But never forget that the system is rigged. So find a way to acknowledge that but also always be grateful. You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line. It's too hard! It's too contradictory and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you! And it turns out in fact that not only are you doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault.

I'm just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us. And if all of that is also true for a doll just representing women, then I don't even know."

At Broth or Life we are proud to be a female founded company, female owned and managed. 

Written by Alison Bell

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