By ALI CUDBY
2016 has been a big year — personally, politically and otherwise. And it’s been a big year for women. We’ve covered a lot of ground here at She Buzz: World of Women.
Back in January, we waltzed down the glamorous Red Carpet at the Golden Globes. Beyond the fabulous dresses and resplendent ladies, we examined the foundation of award show fashion. Standards for women – and the way Hollywood sets impossible standards for both celebrities and mere mortals – can impact the way women see themselves, and it’s not always pretty.
When we looked at the power of self-image in March it was a matter of life and death – literally. One lingerie boutique owner’s engagement with a customer was so positive and powerful, it changed the course of that customer’s life. It was a great reminder of the magic that occurs when people feel connected and valued.
In May, it became clear that creating a business that empowers women goes deeper than your customers. Employee engagement are another vital part of success. To truly create a business that celebrates women – and builds your bottom line – it’s important to ensure that every member of your team feels valued and appreciated.
Fast forward to August, and we were deep into Olympic fever. Men and women were setting amazing records on the track, in the pool and across Brazil. Unfortunately, the media wasn’t covering those achievements equally. Seeing coverage of women be defined and overshadowed by men was a disappointment. Women still suffer from bias, even in their moments of triumph.
The question of bias in sports got personal. As I started thinking about my own life, I saw ways external factors impacted my own self-image. In September, I looked at the relationship with my body and my curves – and how other peoples’ opinions used to derail my self-image. Happily, for the younger generation, it seems like times may be a-changin’. A wider array of women’s bodies are seen as beautiful today, and “thick” is no longer an insult. Women actually want to have a little “junk in the trunk.”
Just when we were optimistic this trend toward inclusiveness might continue, the political climate shattered the illusion. It was hard to see the positive spin for women as we rounded into the Fall. The political became personal. Many women shared stories of sexual assault and aggression. Owning a story I had hidden away since my teenage years was a personal act of empowerment, and one of the most incredible moments of my life. Telling my story on She Buzz changed how I felt about being assaulted. For once, I took charge of that moment. I could see it differently, and all the shame I carried with me disappeared. I’m grateful for the She Buzz readers who reached out personally – some with stories, some with kindness, some with appreciation. Even after getting an unkind note from a family member, I felt seen, heard and valued by you and I’ll never forget it.
And now, here we are – at the end of a dramatic year of change. And the biggest change is yet to come! Joe and I are relocating from my hometown, where I know everyone (and their mother) to Indianapolis, a town where I know nobody.
It feels like an amazing metaphor. After the roller coaster of 2016, I’m excited to begin 2017 with a fresh chapter and a new adventure.
To all of you, may you have a fantastic holiday season. Come January, I’ll be sharing more She Buzz from the new HQ.
Happy New Year!