In the midst of the global feminist empowerment speech, we interviewed a journalist and plus size model that is beyond empowered!
The term “Women’s Empowerment” has gained prominence worldwide, giving space to what has been the struggle of women for centuries. Aiming at gender equity, empowerment aims at acquiring the responsibility of developing our own power, and so we are ready to take it upon ourselves, and then, from there, be able to reach out to women so that they can also start their path. It’s a union, a sisterhood, where the power of the other is our power, and vice versa. It’s to see other woman as a sister and companion and no longer as a rival. In this journey, UN Women and the United Nations Global Compact created the Women’s Empowerment Principles. They are a set of considerations that help the corporate community incorporate into their business values and practices that aim at gender equity and women’s empowerment. All we want is to exert our capacity without having to fit into the prefabricated limitations and patterns of society, right?
To illustrate this scenario of women who overturn patterns, we interview with great affection the Brazilian Ana Bastos. Ana, 29, currently lives in Dublin, Ireland, and works as a plus size fashion journalist. Empowered ever since a child, she recognizes a few moments when she let herself get carried away by society and saw the need of psychological support for women of all styles and the opportunity to create her profile on Instagram. “I’ve always been very sure and secure of myself and when I was younger, I was different as I used lots of colours and prints, had a different hairstyle and all that but, as I grew up, around the age of 17, the crisis of the ‘I’m fat and my hair is not straight’ came around and I went into that ‘I’m ugly. I’m fat’ at collage. Then I hid myself, I became a hard Ana, a very closed up person’. In Brazil, an episode that struck me a lot, during a party in a private college in São Paulo, because I was fat, a guy called me a mammoth. I always knew those guys were kinda stupid, just because they had money they thought they were the kings of the world. That was one of the reasons that made me want to leave Brazil.
“That day, just as the guy passed by me, he said ‘Such a beautiful face, but you look like a mammoth!’. It was the first time I punched someone and I punched him right in the nose!” Says the journalist. After this verbal aggression, Ana says she became even more closed up.
In Ireland, another case of aggression and prejudice occurred with the journalist, at the time an employer did not want to hire her because she was black.
“I went to the interview and as soon as she saw me, she said ‘Wow, your colour!’, She wasn’t even discreet, you know? Then I said ‘Yes, my colour’, and she replied, ‘Wow, I was not imagining…’. I wasn’t even understanding what was happening. I didn’t want to believe it, I thought she was saying that I was tanned or something like that. And she kept on talking about my colour in the middle of the interview, so then I realized that it was prejudice because of her tone and also because she hugged and kissed my friend and did not hug me, and that was something that struck me a lot.
“However, I was more secure with myself and it didn’t upset me psychologically the way the guy from collage did. My friends are the ones who are always shocked and they even hurt for me, in any case, when someone says that I’m fat and black, it’s fine because those are my characteristics and it doesn’t hurt me as I am very secure and sure of myself. It’s very clear to me who I am, so these things don’t shatter me,” she says.
However, Ana knows that many women and people in general, regardless of gender and age, really need to love and respect themselves.
“Love yourself and screw what they say about you. No matter what other people think of you, what matters is what God knows and what you know. Are you proud of who you are? If you look at yourself from another angle and you say ‘Dude, is that person you want to be?’, then you’re on the right path. Love yourself! Do not feel inferior, do not let anyone make you feel inferior and don’t forget that life is way more than an organized feed, than a body without curves or with curves too. Life is way way more than that,” she points out.
In the midst of a speech on women’s empowerment and people’s opinions, Ana greatly emphasizes the question of confidence and how important it is to be well with yourself.
“I always complained a lot about myself, I always thought I could be better as I was always told that I was pretty from the waist up and from the face up. As much as I didn’t care about everything they said to me, in a certain way, my heart took those things and it ended up creating a barrier inside of me, like a wall. Not that I didn’t love myself, but I knew I could love myself more and I could do so much more for myself. And all that changed when I began to put my faith into practice and to pray. I thought ‘if God gave me this crown, which is my wonderful hair – that I really think is my crown – if He gave me this skin tone that people spend millions on products to reach the same color – if He gave me these fleshy lips, the nose, I’m perfect the way he made me and nothing else matters“, the journalist points out. According to her, from the moment you have a purpose in your life, you don’t care what people think and what really matters is if you are happy and healthy to chase your goals. In the most direct Brazilian accent, she reports – “Girl, you can! We can do everything, we are everything we want to be” she says.
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