I’m training for a half-marathon. I’m often training for a half-marathon. Until our ‘major lifestyle change’, training was not very interesting, but at least quite easy. I ran out the front door, up (or down, depending on your perspective, I suppose) the A-10 into glorious London.
Now, my natural surroundings are much more spectacular than north London. Running, however, is a bit more of a challenge. Long runs now involve a drive (done by the man, thankfully) to ‘somewhere’.
Current location of choice is Llandudno.
Now, if you’re familiar with north Wales, you’ll know that Llandudno is a rather lovely Victorian seaside resort. And you’ll know that Llandudno is bookended by two really rather large hills: The Great Orme and The Little Orme.
My challenge today was to run over the big one, along the seafront, and over the little one.
It wasn’t easy. (Not for me, anyway. I might be a regular runner – I’m not a natural runner.)
So, what do I want to do now?
I want to curl up and read my People StyleWatch.
But you’re a feminist! You’re a (former) businesswoman! You’re intelligent!
Yes. Yes. And, yes.
And, dammit, I want to read my People StyleWatch without guilt. (Ideally, I’d like to read my People StyleWatch without having to pay the ridiculous import cost too, but I suppose that’s a note for another day. . . .)
You see, I believe that it is entirely possible for smart, successful women who demand equality to also be interested in fashion. And make-up. And appearance.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that I have actually used all of these things to ensure I was noticed in a room. To make my mark. And, importantly, to ensure women younger than I am don’t feel sidelined because they too care about these ‘silly’, ‘girly’ things.
Marian Keyes, my hero, the woman I would most like to have a cup of tea with (and cake! one of her cakes!), recently commented on the use of the phrase ‘chick lit’:
“. . . it’s a simple fact that one way of keeping women shut up is to call the things they love ‘fluff’. It’s a device. And I think people probably aren’t even aware that’s what’s going on, but it’s absolutely innate in our society that anything pertaining to women will be treated with less respect and given disrespectful names.”
I am not, mind you, using the brilliant Marian Keyes to suggest that reading People StyleWatch is a feminist act.
What I am saying is that there is here a real and serious point: things that appeal to women are often undermined and women are often belittled for liking these things.
And I’m saying – don’t let that happen.
An important aspect of being a feminist is learning to be a confident, unapologetic woman. Learning to be a woman on your terms.
So, do it.
Be the woman you want to be.
I’m going to read People StyleWatch.