Happy International Women’s Day! Women and people of all genders in the world, let’s keep fighting the good fight for feminism, anti-racism, LGTBQ+ rights, and all things intersectional and good. I’ll keep it brief and refer you onto a short #girlpower list which I’ve written, featuring a few of my favourite artist-slash-activists to follow on Instagram (in no particular order!). Let me know whom else I should follow!
1. Naomi Shimada (model/storyteller)
Firstly, we share the same name – which obviously means that I love her. Secondly, Naomi often speaks about really important social issues like body image/sizeism in both the UK and Japan. As a self-identified storyteller, she clearly has a zest for life and expresses this by tossing all of the Insta rules out of the window (expect nine posts per day when she’s travelling and up to fun adventures). Her fashion style and Insta feed are brighter than Blue Ivy Carter’s future and she certainly brings sunshine to my day, which is why I love following her.
2. Rina Sawayama (singer)
I absolutely adore Rina’s music – her new poppy/R&B single, ‘Valentine’ (an anti-Valentine’s Day song) is spine-tinglingly good and a great dance track. In interviews she talks about her experiences growing up as an immigrant and related identity issues. Her bold Harajuku-esque fashion style is one-of-a-kind and she manages to make Asian cough-masks actually look amazingly cool. (How does she do it?!)
3. Lupita Nyong’o (actor)
Lupita is an amazingly talented actor and she seems so funny and down-to-earth in real life. On Instagram she just generally oozes coolness, and starring in Black Panther has only magnified that, a film which places people of colour’s rights centre-stage. She also spreads awareness about social issues such as young women’s illiteracy. If you haven’t seen her latest film, what are you waiting for?! You should get out there and watch Black Panther asap! You have to give this video below a watch (or ten): if that’s not #powerposegoals then I don’t know what is.
4. Reni Eddo-Lodge (writer)
Reni Eddo-Lodge rose to fame recently because of the publication of her book, Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race. Her placard from the women’s march in the picture here explains it all! Inspirational. As she says herself in the audio clip below, her words sparked a national conversation in the UK.
5. Ruby Tandoh (chef/writer)
I loved following Ruby on Insta as she often posted really inspiring messages about ED and eating for the joy of loving food. She also has really interesting things to say about the challenges of being queer and working in a commercialised world centred around a heteronormative, gendered, domestic space: the kitchen. However, it seems like this week she’s taken herself offline so I can’t link you to her account. If/when she returns to the social media world, look her up!
6. Emma Watson (actor)
Emma is a long-established philanthropist and is passionate about women’s rights. Recently, for her book club, Our Shared Shelf, which is part of her work for UN Women, she chose Reni’s book, and I think that this is a pretty exciting move. I like following Emma to see where she’s leaving books for random people to collect on the tube, and also seeing all of the #TimesUp posts which she makes. It’s great to see change happening so visibly in one of the most commercial of all the creative industries. Here’s to a future of diversity and equality in Hollywood!
7. Frances Cannon (artist)
Frances is an artist based in Melbourne, Australia. She promotes self-love, self-care, and mental-health awareness on her Instagram and her feed is filled with the most uplifting illustrations. I’d recommend giving her a follow, too!
As Oscar Wilde says,
In fact, the art does not reflect life, but the viewers.
The more diverse representation there is in art, the more it will reflect and inspire our world. I’ll end with this just for a bit of fun!
I love it. Have a great International Women’s Day!