Thoughts from Abbey Stimpson
This International Women’s Day I can’t help but think about the satisfaction I feel in the progress I’ve seen, especially in the fashion industry. I revel in what my 10-year-old daughter gets to see; bodies of all shapes and sizes in the front windows of big name brands that wouldn’t have set foot in that arena – not even 3 years ago! Satisfaction. We’re getting there. Finally, we’re getting there.
The other evening I was driving home with my daughter in the backseat, chatting about our figures in an inclusive, loving way and I had that “I’ve nailed it” parenting moment. She gets it. She’s beautiful exactly as she is. But I still slip up sometimes.
When I get home that same night I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I start thinking about my busy week… the run I didn’t have time for or those few extra servings of noodles… After baby number 2 I had started getting caught in the “this body ain’t what it used to be” way of thinking. I let my guard down, and the inner critic stuck back. I glance up to see my daughter in the doorway of my bedroom. She’s caught me red-handed. Toothbrush hanging from the side of her mouth I know she is questioning the dissatisfied look on my face. I have more work to do.
For the first time, I’m seeing the media start to play a part in the body/age democracy game. However, this feels distant from my day to day life. The blame on media bombardment seems minuscule in comparison to the interactions I have with myself and the women that surround me on a daily basis.
Over the next few days, I try to take notice of the mindless, habitual criticism we all take part in. Sarcastic jokes over the phone with my mom, off-the-cuff remarks with my sister and girlfriends. It seems the not-quite-there-but-trying conversation is a point of comradery among all women. The problem is, these women that I interact with are beyond spectacular! I would hate for them to have those moments in the mirror as I do. They are better than that. I’m better than that.
We deserve more.
There is still work to do, and we are so much closer to the problem than we think. The ripple effect of our words, even the ones we say to ourselves, are judgements of all women. The good and the bad. And the scary thing is, we are all listening.
So why do we do it? Why are we talking the very same talk we all agree holds us back? Why is this daunting, striving-for-perfection mentality always in the back of our minds?
At a local coffee shop, a familiar young girl pours me an Americano. I thank her, and as I quickly catch her eye at the register I think to myself; man, those eyes get me every time. As I’m heading towards the door I hesitate and turn to her. “Your eyes are crazy beautiful” and I tell her of a conversation that my partner and I randomly had the week before about how striking her eyes were. She laughs and blushes shyly. At that moment we’re connected. Together, as women, we get it.
An exhilarating feeling washes over us when we connect with women this way. We know how good it feels to give and receive these compliments, and it’s possible to commit to doing this every day! Maybe this could be the biggest shift of all.
When we give beauty back to women, we get it in return. Together, we have a chance to make beauty something every woman can celebrate. Can you imagine what that world would be like?
Abbey Stimpson is the daughter of Jan Stimpson, founder of the Sympli brand. Abbey works alongside all departments within the company to ensure that Sympli stays true to its original mission: to make all women feel confident.