2015 sees International Women’s Day coinciding with GirlCrew’s 1st birthday. IWD was first recognised in the early 1900s and is observed globally, with it even being a public holiday in some countries, and is more vital than ever. GirlCrew was conceived a year ago, is spreading internationally and is bringing awesome women together. But you know that.
For the past few years on social media when March 8th rolls around, smart arses will say “yeah, but when’s International Men’s Day?” with the response en masse being “er, I think you’ll find that’s every day”. While a small part of me is slightly incredulous that we have to pinpoint one day to recognise the talents and struggles of women, a bigger part of me thinks “hell yeah, let’s drawn attention to and celebrate the inspirational ladies in our lives”. Not only famous people but a relative of yours, your amazing friends who know how to make you laugh, that woman who encouraged you to do something when you didn’t believe in yourself and you’ve never looked back. In the words of my friend, “I’ve never met a woman who didn’t inspire me in one way or another. Sometimes to raise my game, sometimes to raise cudgel”.
Beyonce, Mary Robinson, Katie Taylor, Julianne Moore. All truly brilliant women in their fields but we know about them. I’ve decided to focus on the women you might not know so much about and who have certainly inspired me.
A good person to start with is the woman who started it all officially. She was a German activist and an advocate for women’s rights and she organised the first ever International Women’s Day in March 1911. She even ended up with her face on money (the East German mark to be precise).
If you haven’t heard of her, you need to check out the documentary about her called The Punk Singer which details her life and career (and her ongoing battle with Lyme disease). She was part of the hugely influential band Bikini Kill (as well as Le Tigre and The Julie Ruin) which in turn helped to rejuvenate feminism for the 90s and beyond and create the Riot Grrrl movement. Part of her onstage schtick was to bring the girls in the audience to the front of sometimes male-heavy crowds to make them feel safer and more a part of things. Pop trivia: she was the one who accidentally came up with the name for Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit and she’s married to a Beastie Boy.
Advanced Style/Fabulous Fashionistas
Advanced Style started off as a blog and was turned into a cinema-released documentary. Fabulous Fashionistas was a one-off made for TV show. They both have the same message: you can still be visible and happy at 50, 60, 70 and beyond. You don’t have to become invisible and grey and you can still 100% enjoy life. Although they both predominantly focus on clothes in the first instance, there are other messages here about being comfortable in yourself (focussing on something other than the negative aspects of ageing usually portrayed in the media) and not giving a damn about what others think. Valuable lessons for any age when you think about it.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
After stumbling across a video of her on the net a few years ago, I thought “who is this legend of a woman and why on earth have I never heard of her before?” She’s the “original soul sister” and influenced some guys you’ve definitely heard of including Elvis, Little Richard and Johnny Cash. She had an incredible voice, could play kickass guitar and became gospel music’s first crossover star. (Stop reading and check out Didn’t it Rain? on YouTube right now.)
I find it fascinating to hear people’s stories of how they built their empire especially when it sounds like even I can do it. I saw Shawna do a presentation about her business, Sex Siopa, and found her instantly relatable. She’s the person who friends turned to about her chosen specialist subject, she had zero budget for her start-up and she admits to being shy yet still promotes the hell out of her business anyway. She saw a gap in the market for body-safe sex toys, in a market that can be unregulated, and plugged it successfully. (Sorry.)
Who has influenced you or you think should be given a mention? Let’s start a discussion in the comments below and on Facebook.
Discotekken & GirlCrew present International Mott’s Day Party this Saturday 7th March at the Sugar Club 10pm – 4am. Girl DJs, girl bands, cardboard cut-outs of Beyonce & Mary Robinson to get your photo with. We’re putting International Women’s Day on the party calendar!
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