Inspiring women scare the hell out of me

23 Feb

I recently attended an event which was aimed at inspiring its audience. I was immensely looking forward to it, especially since previous speakers at this event had all been men and now, would you believe it (?!), it was to be a woman! I was expecting someone like Camila Batmanghelidjh or Shami Chakrabarti, or indeed any number of women who are making this world better, fighting for change.

I didn’t expect a woman who works in the sex industry, and no, not to combat its prevelance. Our inspirational speaker was Sam Roddick who founded the erotic emporium, Coco de Mer, which is ‘dedicated to the celebration of…. (wait for it!!) empowerment, [and] dignity’. Now, you might not find that obscenely comical until you hear what it is that she sells. Her instruments of empowerment and dignity include riding crops, spanking paddles, horse hair whops, leather reins, ankle cuffs, wrist cuffs, leather bits, scarf restraints. Now on what planet are ankle and wrist cuffs tools which restrain and inhibit movement, tools of empowerment? Maybe I’m reading from the wrong dictionary, but empowerment means ‘To invest with power…’. I don’t believe you can be in a position of much power when your legs and hands are tied and you are silenced with a bit in your mouth and are having a whip applied to your behind.

With one in three women and girls globally suffering domestic violence (UN Commission on the Status of Women, 2000), I’m not entirely convinced of the merits of selling goods which exist to restrict a women’s movements and indeed to hit her with. And call me frigid but I don’t think that in any context a women should be subjected to a whip. Interestingly, whilst I have been told that these products are for use on both men and women, absolutely all the products on her website are modeled by women.

Recently, for ‘inspiration [and] to keep you motivated’ in the new year the Daily Telegraph newspaper ran an article about inspiring women. Here they are, in all their (nude) glory.

Inspired much?

Seemingly, the better you flaunt it the more inspiring you are. How many of our secret heroes like those mentioned in Kristof’s and Wudunn’s ‘Half the Sky: how to change the world’ do we really know and hear about? Perhaps if they draped a Burberry coat over their naked torso, they might just become a little more known and a lot more “inspiring”.

Our mainstream ‘inspiring’ women terrify me, because they are not inspiring me in the right ways, but the wrong ways, and when they are the ones holding the torch of inspiration the writing on the wall ain’t pretty.


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