Classy and fabulous..?
Welcome to issue 17. It’s Sunday morning and it’s a Womanthology week. This means that there’s a new Womanthology edition going out in the early hours of Wednesday morning and I’m a woman on a bit of a mission.
There’s stories of empowered women entrepreneurs and enlightened corporates supporting women that I need to be wrangling. And believe me, there hasn’t been a single edition yet that hasn’t tested me in one way or another. But if you’re not being challenged, you’re not growing… Or so I tell myself. Every single Womanthology issue is a mini test of endurance, but one that I’ve come to love and I’d miss if I wasn’t doing it. It’s become part of me.
However, today is one of those rare days where I’m juggling Womanthology and having a life. It is my friend’s daughter’s christening today, so I can’t just lock myself in the house and edit, tempting as this may be. This occasion is of course a wonderful thing, but it brings a dilemma.
What do you give the baby girl who has everything?
Today, I’m going to be sat in a church. In all honesty, a novel experience for me. (Babies aren’t really an area where I have much expertise either at the moment..!)
Yesterday brought the need to find a suitable gift for the little lady, but what do you give the baby girl who has everything? There’s only so many silver money boxes one baby can use and shoving a voucher in an envelope didn’t feel right either. OK, in the end I did buy something silvery with a teddy on, a christening keepsake box. But it was OK because it wasn’t silver, it was brushed silver so not your regular run of the mill silver item. Much more contemporary for a stylish Millennial woman of the future.
But I needed to buy something else too. I hunted high and low, on a scavenger hunt around my local shopping mall, being jostled and barged around by truculent teens and obstreperous OAPs. Then all of a sudden, there it was in Debenhams. A mirror. Yes, a mirror. Now I know what you’re thinking. You can’t give a baby a mirror! It could break and she may well try to eat it and then it’s not good to be too into your looks… Yes, I know all that, and it’s probably true. So it’s for when she’s a bit older. But I’ve not lost my senses completely, I assure you.
Coco Chanel: Classy and fabulous
It is a Coco Chanel mirror with a quote on. “A girl should be two things: Classy and fabulous”. Good advice to empower and inspire the little thing in future years. So actually, it’s almost a feminist mirror, so it’s OK..! Coco Chanel is the only fashion designer listed on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. She was never a stranger to controversy throughout her life, but isn’t that the way the best women make their impact on the world?
This got me thinking that someone is missing a trick here. Let’s look at all the times we have the opportunity to positively influence girls’ future lives. I’m almost minded to set up a mail order service for girls’ birthdays and special occasions where you have a catalogue of inspirational and empowering gifts to choose from.
I’m thinking it would sell mini radio telescopes and Raspberry Pis for girls who want to code, or maybe a dinky Formula One car for the Susie Wolff wanabee. It could have microscopes for the next Marie Curie or planes for the next Amy Johnson. Or she might be the new Annie Leibovitz and need a camera or the next female Prime Minister and need her own mini dispatch box. The possibilities are truly endless..!
I grew up in the 80s and Margaret Thatcher was a very divisive figure for good reason, but actually, with a woman Prime Minister and a Queen on the throne, I didn’t know anything other than strong, powerful women, so the concept wasn’t strange to me. It only occurred to me the other week that girls today don’t have the same political role models, even if we still have the Queen.
The fact is, we’ve come such a long way in my lifetime, so what will happen during my friend’s daughter’s lifetime? There is still a long way to go from the Mad Men era that my Mum used to work in, but things are getting better.
If I had to give my friend’s baby daughter one piece of advice, it would definitely have to be to be herself and be herself confidently, no matter what. As the late, great Judy Garland said, “Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.”