Yesterday was International Women’s Day and let’s be honest, we always love an excuse to celebrate women.
Talking about gender can be difficult, no matter who you are, so in celebration of International Women’s Day we wanted to spotlight some of our favourite videos featuring women talking about their experiences and chatting about everything from periods to feminism. So pause that episode of Broad City, turn down your Beyoncé mix, and let’s get to it! Here they are, Five of the Best: Women About Women!
GIRLS: EXPECTATIONS VS. REALITY!!! – JanaVlogs
Let’s start with Jana Dam and a good ol’ fashioned expectations vs reality video! We have to love how Jana creatively challenges our expectations of what it means to be female. Jana’s totally right, we love our sweatpants and we love our pizza. It takes a lot of effort to be cute! We’d much rather be in our comfortable beds watching Friends. (Although we still look pretty cute then tbh.)
If we look at this video more closely, we realise that Jana is actually challenging some real expectations and stereotypes about women, and the pressures therein. Of course women appreciate looking good (we mean, doesn’t everyone?), but it’s often not a top priority. In fact, here at TenEighty HQ we’d often rather think about anything else, like how we’re going to beat everyone at the next round of Mario Kart. We’re working on our Rainbow Road strategy right now (it’s mostly “don’t fall off so damn much”).
Let’s Talk PERIODS – Tyrannosauruslexxx
Let’s talk periods? Alright, Lex Croucher and Sanne Vliegenthart, let’s do this! Like Lex mentions at the end of the video, we really appreciate sharing period stories and experiences, especially with other women, so of course we’re going to love this open dialogue.
Notably, Sanne brings up a point about the general education you receive about your body growing up. If Orange is the New Black has taught us anything, it’s that we’re often under-educated about our bodies, which can frequently reinforce the shame and fear we feel about ourselves physically. Tying in perfectly, Lex also mentions the embarrassment she feels about people knowing when she has her period. We agree, tampons are pretty weird, but we shouldn’t have to be afraid of people knowing that they’re being used!
Society’s relationship with periods is complex to say the least. We’re not accustomed to talking about them and we feel embarrassed when we do. We have certainly come a long way since biblical menstruation tents, however periods still feel shameful. But just like Lex says, the more women talk about their periods the more normalised they become, and the more noise you can make with that tampon wrapping!
#YesAllWomen – OpheliaDagger
So we’re moving into more serious territory with Chelsea Fisher‘s reaction video to the 2014 hashtag #YesAllWomen. As Chelsea mentions, the hashtag arose from a shooting that left seven people dead in Santa Barbara, California in May of 2014, and the response to that shooting. This video explores both the difficult relationship society has with female sexuality and the generally institutionalised fear women have for their physical safety.
Chelsea makes the poignant statement that her compulsion to hold her keys between her fingers when she walks home at night may feel like overreaction to viewers. When contextualised with the idea that men have followed her home in such an aggressive and threatening way, she helps to highlight the concerning social power dynamic between men and women. But just like periods, the more we talk about the relationship between “male” and “female” (as well as how it impacts on those outside of this binary), the less alone we feel and the more understanding we have of damaging social constructs. We have to love you Chelsea for not being afraid to share your experiences, the world is undoubtedly a better place because of it!
Motherhood is MY Choice | BeckieJBrown – Beckie J. Brown
In the often one-dimensional characterisations of women, (the Madonna-Whore complex, if we want to get technical… and Freudian) we are typically placed into three categories: the innocent, the sexually promiscuous, and the maternal. When you don’t fit into one of these categories at the right time society gets confused, freaks out, and leaves everyone feeling kind of weird. Which brings us to the wonderful Beckie Brown, taking that weirdness head-on.
Motherhood is another complex ingredient that can be added to the yet more complex soufflé recipe that is womanhood, and is often conflated with the notion of giving birth in doing so. It is always worth remembering that not all mothers necessarily gave birth, and also that not all women are physically able to (that recipe should always be as inclusive as possible!). But for those able to conceive children, they are often expected to, and this expectation challenges their right to body autonomy, which (as Chelsea’s video touched on) can be harmful both physically and mentally. And as Beckie explains, it can be damaging to determine a woman’s self-worth by her viability as a mother. The desire to become a mother, and options available to do so, may change from woman to woman, but those choices should always be kept as numerous as possible and be made. You keep your autonomy, Beckie. You do you, girl!
“i’m not like other girls” – Savannah Brown
We adore this last video because Savannah Brown takes the conversation another step further, looking at women’s relationships with, well, themselves. She asks the important question, why is it so common to not want to be like “other girls”? Why do some women want to distinguish or separate themselves from femininity? To tie this list together perfectly, Savannah addresses the aversion we can have to femininity, internalised through social discourse and stereotypes. Naturally, we want to be viewed as complex individuals, anomalies to the one-dimensional archetypes that frequently frame our perception of women.
In her articulate discussion, Savannah also explains that by separating yourself from other women, you are doing yourselves and your gender a disservice. When we classify an entire gender as undesirable, we contribute to the idea that our femininity is something that should not be embraced. Viewing yourself and your gender as complex, as opposed to simply “strong” or “girly”, you can not only better relate to each other, but you can better relate to yourself.
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