That awkward moment on the London underground when you're reading your kindle and you nod off to sleep, whilst attempting to find the right spot for a comfortable rush hour dose; all the junk you've been storing in your lovely well put together tote bag comes falling out all over the floor. Commuters helpfully begin to assist you in picking up your keys, purse, phone charger, empty chocolate wrappers, dirty tissues, half eaten biscuits and gradually you become increasingly aware that now everyone in your carriage now knows that your well put together tote bag is full of rubbish. I share this awkward moment because it made me think of the social need for women to always look her best, put on her game face despite how she may be feeling on any given day.
That invisible, intangible, yet deeply entrenched line of perfection that is hovering above the lives of most women. A constant reminder that we ought to have the perfect job, partner, house, kids, by a certain age and create an Instagram perfect life worthy of the like button and the goal post keeps moving. For example, upon giving birth, apparently it is now not enough to evolve into the role of mother, one must also seek to be a 'mumprenuer', and if possible this standard of perfection must also be attained without stretch marks or cellulite. The sad thing is, most of us know that perfection is relative yet too many of us still measure ourselves by the filtered images we see in the mainstream media and on our news feed, striving to present ourselves as a nicely put together tote bag with each compartment filled with perfection.
We have fashion competitions and memes like 'who wore it better' to further emphasise that there is a more celebrated female figure and acceptable standard of beauty. With popular culture providing the narrative of a successful woman; which is usually after hours of make- up, airbrushing etc it is no wonder that we as women may feel slightly inadequate at times. It is one of the reasons that I started the W TALK Network to create stories that represent real women and a community where we can have honest conversations. The truth is we all have off days; days where we are just trying to figure it all out. Perhaps with campaigns like 'This Girl Can', we are entering a new renaissance, living authentic lives via choices made without a perfection filter. A new consciousness that allows us to get into shape without the need to look pretty whilst we do; where we choose to celebrate our curves and stretch marks, understanding that we may not be aesthetically perfect but we are most certainly beautiful, where being a stay at home mother is enough or remaining single and childless is ok.
After my awkward London underground moment, I picked up my tote bag, stepped off the train and actually felt more confident than before. Yes, I have a lovely bag and yes, my bag was (is) partly filled with junk. That's life, I'm evolving, ever-changing and on my own individual process of perfection; whatever that is.