What Girl Power Really Means

Maybe it’s the powerful mixture of following the news in the last year and recently having a daughter of my own, but I have come to the conclusion that the topic of female empowerment is more important than it has ever been before. It’s relevant to any industry. To any race, any country, any age group. Sadly, almost all of us have probably been in some kind of unfair or uncomfortable situation – whether it’s a comment in the work place, something happening at school, or maybe just living our daily lives. Whether it’s witnessing or being a victim of inappropriate behavior, or having someone tell us our dreams are much too big, we as women are constantly faced with cultural obstacles that sometimes seem impossible to leap over.

I’ll never forget shooting a hair commercial, when the stylist – on camera – totally belittled me. Looking in the mirror at how he’d done my hair, I said, ‘I feel powerful. I feel like I could walk into a boardroom with my pitch and nail the meeting.’ He paused, laughed, and said, ‘As if you’ve ever been in a boardroom!’ The cameras rolled and my mouth went dry. I couldn’t quite believe what I’d heard. There haven’t been many moments in my career when I was genuinely lost for words, but this was one. I could feel my face blushing, and I hoped the makeup on my skin was masking it. I carried on the rest of filming, not wanting to be unprofessional – even though inside I felt like telling him what a prize twat he was. I waited until we broke for lunch, and then told his boss exactly how I felt. She was female, and had heard it too. She was furious with him, but nobody actually said anything to him – which was a shame. But I will say, there was a silver lining. The male director sent me an email that very night, saying how disgusted and disappointed he was at the incident. He told me his mother was a feminist, and he was raised to be a feminist himself. He was more angry about it than me! So in a way, the balance was redressed a little, by his views and kindness.

Back to the now: It’s easy to look back at the last year or so and feel sad, disappointed, or just plain pissed off when it comes to how women were treated. However, I think it’s important that we take a step back and recognize all that we have accomplished in light of what has happened to us. The Women’s March held all over the United States became the largest single day protest in US history; women in film and media reached new heights and were recognized for their work (think the female director and cast members of Wonder Woman, and the bad ass ladies who created Big Little Lies), and Time named the women who so bravely spoke out about sexual assault as its ‘people of the year’.

But behind every strong woman is – a pack of women just as strong ready to support, encourage and back her up when she needs it. I have been lucky enough to find a tribe of women who I learn from, look up to, and have fun with in just about every aspect of my life. I have friends near and far who all mean so much to me, and never fail to pick me up when I am down. Working in media and entertainment in Los Angeles can be difficult for women, and not just in the horrendous, sexually abusive ways that have been spoken to so bravely recently. The idea of competition can get the best of you. One serious issue that women face is thought of “your success is my failure”. That if another woman booked the job, nailed the meeting, or aced the test, it means that you failed to do so. Women often have to work harder than men to be presented with the same opportunities (hello wage gap), and we have no choice but to stick together to change that. But I’ve really noticed a shift in the blogger community, with my peers cheering each other on – whether it’s advice, creating groups of Mums or entrepreneurs who regularly meet up, helping support each other’s product launches and products. It feels good! And I’m very proud of my girls! Support your sisters when they achieve their goals, and let it inspire you to achieve your own.

In the age of social media and curated content, it is easy for us to forget that at the end of the day, we are all human. We are all women, unique, strong, important in our own right. I challenge you all to focus closely on the ways in which we interact with one another, and aim to inspire those around you with hard work, kindness, and being unapologetically you. One of my favorite moments in pop culture happened last year at the 2017 Grammy Awards. Adele won album of the year and dedicated it to Beyonce (she literally broke the Grammy – remember that?!), a woman who she believed deserved it just as much, if not more. During her acceptance speech she called Beyonce’s album “monumental and soul baring”, and describing it as the “album of her life”. Not that I didn’t look up to these inspiring women before, but this moment of respect, friendship, and solidarity is a great example of what empowerment and support truly means. Another huge moment for women came during the recent Royal wedding. The new Duchess of Sussex broke with Royal (and British) tradition, to give a speech at the reception, where apparently, she talked about being a feminist. As a Brit, that’s a big deal – hardly any brides give speeches at their weddings let alone in front of the whole world. Oh and I can’t finish this missive without mentioning one of my favorite role models, Amal Clooney. The media jokes about her stealing her husband’s spotlight, and for good reason. For many years, I struggled with the kinds of ‘role models’ young girls were presented with these days. Finally a woman with an enormous brain, who fights for justice around the world, isn’t afraid to risk her own personal safety doing it, and she still loves fashion and is clearly having fun with it? That’s a package deal if ever I saw one.

Not all female role models are famous – far from it. I actually loved the General Electric ad, asking what if we treated female scientists like the celebrities we obsess over on social media? It features the late Millie Dresselhaus, who died last year aged 86, the first woman to win the National Medal of Science in Engineering. When Honor was born, one of my dearest friends Tom brought her a book entitled Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls (it’s here, along with other girl power kids titles). The book features 100 short stories about strong women in different cultures and times, and I thought it was the coolest gift. I’ve since bought it for my God-daughter, and discovered this ‘Role Models’ section of ‘A Mighty Girl’ book store online. For any mums, dads, aunties, and uncles out there – check it out for the little girls in your life! I hope to share these powerful, inspiring messages with Honor in all aspects of her life, teaching her not only to chase her dreams but to help others follow theirs, and to learn and read about as many powerful women in history too.

To me, girl power ultimately means surrounding yourself with other women who uplift you, and doing the same for them. Girl power means defending each other, not participating in gossip or bullying, however easy it may feel in the moment. It means not only praising each other’s accomplishments, but helping each other in any way we can – whether it’s connecting someone to the right person for an interview, bringing someone along to a networking event, or even setting someone up on a blind date… There is enough success and happiness to go around. If you have the opportunity to help another woman, do it! Even if there is no obvious benefit to you. If one of us rises, we all rise. What are some ways that you guys think we can help and support each other? Tell me below!

xx,

17 responses to “What Girl Power Really Means”

  1. Lisa says:

    Thank you for this! ♥♥♥♥

  2. Siri says:

    Thank you for this. My husband bought Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls in London last year. The cashier looked at him and said: oh, you are going to make a little girl so happy, this book is great! My husband replied: this is for my two sons. I’m raising feminists.

    For us, mothers of sons, it is important that we remember that we do not only have to empower women, but also to change the mentality of men. My boys are proud to call themselves feminists?

  3. Angelica says:

    Yes, you are right! This is an article worth reading. I am very proud of you, distant, unknown friend. I am a woman and I am Greek. I really hope to meet you some day, you and your little Honour. Love and Respect.

  4. Núria says:

    Hi Louise,
    I think what you said is absolutely right. Any of us should have to deal with anything like what you had to and I hope we will manage to make it right in the next years so that Honor herself lives in a fair and equal world. We have to teach those who still don’t know this and welcome them into the feminist cause.
    As women, we have to support, listen and advise each other.
    Thank you so much for bringing this into the spotlight, this is just the perfect way to help each other, to share and make others know that they are not alone.

    P.S; Adele’s gesture was as touching as any song of her’s

    From Barcelona

  5. Isabel says:

    What a lovely text! This made my day…! I think you’re right, women should stick together and gain the rights we deserve. We’ve come a huge way by doing this so keep it up! All women in the world have built a beautiful relationship together ❤️ However, I think we will reach so much more if women AND men get together and gain the equal rights we BOTH deserve because I hate it when people only focus on women being “the rulers of the world”, that’s not what Feminism is about. Feminism is about equal rights to everyone. I personally think that we should have more men and women equality campaigns because I think men might feel a bit insecure with all this women empowerment and feel as if they have to treat us like queens and that’s not what this is about. For example, I absolutely hate it when men hold my bags because they feel as if “they should treat women like queens”. Men and women are EQUAL and together we are better and stronger!!! Or maybe we should educate people a bit more into realising that Feminism is about men and women… hmm but yeah, I loved your post!!! Lots of love xxxxxx

  6. Gill says:

    Stunning Louise. Thanks for sharing that. It really made me think. I have been put down & belittled by my sisters, mother, & lots of other people in my life, more times than I can count and ashamed that I have really battled to stand up for myself. Instead I just took the abuse and could never feel good about myself. So heartbreaking really. Am much stronger now but at times the fear of certain people and situations can literally make me feel so bad I can’t cope.
    Thanks for the inspiration. Love Gill xxx

  7. Cheryl says:

    This is great! I will be sharing!

  8. Javey says:

    What a beautiful read! I love your words and can’t wait to pick up the book. Thank you for sharing. X Jacey

  9. Patricia says:

    If I weren’t already a huge admirer, this article tipped the cup. Brilliant! Oh the hearts you will reach with this marvelous and dynamic post. (You did mine!) What an uplifting and joyous sharing of sentiment. Bravo and thank you.

  10. Zain Haitham says:

    Hey louise,
    My name is Zain, I am 23 year old , mother for a wonderful 3 month old daughter and I’m from Amman, Jordan. I was inspired by what I have read. Hopefully, you can write about how working moms(I am a teacher) are under estimated and how that effects us negatively, since am going back to work under one month and I feel little blue when I think how am going to leave her for long hours. Thank you 🙂

  11. Marga says:

    I agree with every word you have posted up above but I do think we should talk more about male feminist. Though I do think it is time to ALSO thank and applaud these brave male feminist who want to change the world with small/big daily acts/gestures in support for a more gender just society (for example your male director contacting you after your incident??) I feel we should write about them too otherwise it just looks like a gender competition instead of a human right equality.

  12. Carolina says:

    Louise, you definitely wrote what many women and mums are thinking about these days. Thank you for been so inspiring!

  13. Laura Lily says:

    So well written, Louise. Thank you for reminding us to cheer each other on no matter and for being such a powerful role model for so many women out there, including myself.
    xoxo,
    Laura Lily

  14. Claudia says:

    This is awesome! It would be great to spotlight bloggers, specifically women of color!

  15. Good article!
    Girl power really means a lot. Girls should be given full independence as boys.
    These days it is also going on properly and jutifiably. And women are gaining advantage and now their desired products are also being used a lot as http://www.luckonluck.com/cakes/girls-power and son on.

    This is an era of women empowerment. Girl power to be there around.

  16. Allison C says:

    Great post! So thoughtful and well-written. I think about this all the time, especially lately. Thank you!

  17. Louise this is such a beautiful and inspiring blog post! I found myself nodding along the whole way through.

    I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said, here’s to ALL of us rising!

    Monica x

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