Originally published 28 February 2016.
My most memorable International Women’s Day to date was the year I saw Florence + the Machine at Ally Pally. Granted, I didn’t buy the tickets in celebration of womankind, but it was a nice coincidence all the same.
I went there with a secret hope that she would acknowledge the day, and Florence being Florence, she did. In the best way ever.
After howling her way through hundreds of hits, she asked the men in the audience to lift the women nearest to them onto their shoulders. My brother is 6ft2 and frequents the gym daily, but I assumed he’d still tell me and my thunder thighs to jog on. Much to my surprise however, I felt myself being lifted into the air, along with hundreds of other women, desperately clinging onto my pint of wine and high-fiving everyone within reach.
I felt like a rock star.
And that’s how I think women should be made to feel every day.
“Chuck us in the air, challenge us, swear at us (we’ll swear back) and let us be wild and free and live like the creatures we were made to be.”
Asking the men to lift women onto their shoulders in celebration was so symbolic of our fight for equal rights, because without men lending us a helping hand, we’re fighting a losing battle. You, dear gentleman, are crucial. Despite this, there are still so many who will do anything to avoid being deemed a feminist, mainly because they’re unsure of what the word even means. So if Emma (Goddess) Watson wasn’t clear enough, then I’ll try to be: a feminist is someone who wants equal rights and opportunities for both men and women. That’s it. No frills, no fancies, no shouting, no screaming; just a world where you, your mum, your niece and your brother, all have the same chance to be the best human they can be.Forget the princess crap – although a tiara would be nice – we would instead simply love to live on the edge with you, to be believed in like you, to be as bold and brave as you’ve been allowed to be, to run across stages barefoot; screaming and howling like Florence herself because it makes us feel good. Chuck us in the air, challenge us, swear at us (we’ll swear back) and let us be wild and free and live like the creatures we were made to be. We’re resilient you know, all it takes is for you to give us a chance to be.
So although we are a long way from our end goal, I think it’s important to acknowledge the advances that we have made so far because, well, glass half full and all that. We now live in a time where the Oscars are less about manicures and more about Lopez, Streep and Arquette coming together in raptures for equal pay. A place where Amal Alamuddin is no longer referred to as George Clooney’s wife. And a world where being called a slut on the street is being challenged (finally).
Believe it or not people, times, although slowly, are a-changing. And I’m excited.
So lift up the women in your life, high onto your shoulders and celebrate them this International Women’s Day. I don’t need to list the reasons why you should.
Have a good one.
Olivia Red | @londonladybird
Loyal Londoner and writer of lifestyle blog The London Ladybird, Olivia Red loves nothing more than to drink coffee and talk.
This piece was originally published on https://Users/seanwilkinson/Local Sites/deardamsels/app/public.thelondonladybird.co.uk.
Photo credit: Bronson Farr