There is a lack of elegance, sexiness and mystery missing in photographs of women today, especially celebrities and the overexposed, blasé way they brand themselves and how they are portrayed through the lens.
Social media and fashion have made women seem like untouchable objects, loud, fake and even desperate at times.
The “look at me” culture screaming for more and more attention.
I have always had a more hate than love relationship with modeling and fame.
Yes, I realize that sounds trite.
I was a model, white and privileged.
But I was a young, impressionable girl, who today is a woman with decades away from the spotlight by choice and a fresh perspective.
I wonder when future generations look back at images of women will they be curious, or exhausted by the sheer volume?
I can only appreciate now the mystique of a three am shoot in Milan,
a lost era and the simple gesture of adjusting a dress, caught and frozen in time by the keen eye of a sharp photographer.
Women are magical creatures, real and raw and the most beautiful when unaware of themselves.
They do not need a movement to define their power; they have been beautiful, raw, strong, passionate warriors for centuries and centuries birthing ideals, children, and nurturing souls.
Less is more, so do not ever undervalue or compare yourself to someone else’s million followers.
Find your own unique way, and remember true beauty is forever more.
Someone recently said to me, “you’re vain,” and I was shocked. I never, ever thought of myself in that way. When I wrote an essay, “You’re Skinny You Don’t Have Any Problems” with Feminine Collective which was taken out of context about how challenging and horrific my life would become, I was criticized and blasted for the title. Duh, did the troll read the piece?
I mulled it over in my head, and guess what I am vain, women need to be more vain. When I was younger I should’ve been proud and more confident with my skinny body and face instead of constantly apologizing for the way I looked. Just the other day, a woman (of course), made a snide comment when I joked about ‘getting older and fat.’ Fat was a poor choice of words, I work hard in the gym and always have. I eat healthy, don’t drink, and don’t smoke. I live clean and quiet.
So, fuck-off I’m done apologizing. And to my twenty-year-old self, I’m sorry I didn’t appreciate your privileged supermodel beauty and all the chaos to come. I wish I’d been happier and grateful with the woman I was trying to keep up with, a fantastical, unrealistic image I suppose.
Today, I’m shooting for vainglorious, and not apologizing for taking care of the fifty-year-old me, free from the critics, naysayers and judges. To be proud of sane mind and body.
When activism is no longer a fad, fashion statement or whim that’s when I’ll say cautiously optimistic we’re winning. I love the conversation that is happening around the globe, at the forefront thanks to some fierce, brave Hollywood power women speaking out and banding together, Oprah, women in entertainment, and a few good men but we must be careful not to lose momentum, or become complacent. Bullies, poverty, LGTBQ rights, injustice, inequality, racism, sexual harassment, basic human needs, inhumanity and social imbalances are the all too prevalent reality. Perhaps the next big, fancy award show or event, or any social platform where women have to stand up we should all wear red. Even in auditoriums and schools across the nation.
“Red, is the color of blood and fire, associated with meanings of love, joy, strength, leadership, courage, vigor, willpower, vibrance, radiance, and determination.”
When our young girls no longer feel the need to cower, hide their bodies under layers of bulky protection but feel empowered enough to express themselves and not overexposed, or embarrassed we’ll be winning. To stand up for our sisters and brothers that is beautiful truth, and activism in the making. Be bold enough to stand up, be brave enough even when it hurts, and be kind enough to stick up for the less fortunate. Let’s face it Hollywood is setting the stage, but we the ‘common, everyday people’ need to be the A-listers. Because our freedom, our little girl’s and boy’s innocence and equality has absolutely nothing to do with fame, and everything to do with harsh REALity. We too are the dreamers, the born activists of a lifetime who stand for harmony, safety, peace, equality and positive change.
A Bag is a Bag, or Not
When your fifteen-year-old knock off ‘Balenziaga’ bites the dust, you cry a little. (Canal Street, NYC score, I had two of them. One orange, and the green). I love, love, loved them. When the bag’s ‘leather’ literally starts peeling at the START of your fancy vacation, and your friends relentlessly make fun of you…what they didn’t understand is how loyal and practical that bag had been. How many gazillion trips it got you through, and how it was the PERFECT travel accessory for years, literally irreplaceable. I didn’t care that it was an imitation at all, un phased by their giggles, and teasing. I am mostly non-materialistic, but when your bff delivers a gorgeous black leather replacement to your hotel room (her hotel), you’re grateful for the stunning, kind gesture and surprise. She has in fact gifted you with many, many irreplaceable, gorgeous designer bags over the years that you will never, ever part with. So, green ‘Balenziaga’ knock-off reluctantly it was time to go, bye-bye, see ya for good.
Our international travels, memories, trains, planes, buses, automobile, subway rides and adventures together will remain fondly forever in my heart.
I was NEVER embarrassed by you, okay slightly annoyed when you were literally loosing your pleather skin.
I don’t need fancy, material stuff…but all the cherished fond memories, those I’ll keep. And the friendships, well they are priceless and irreplaceable.
Women Who Shape Us
She won’t hesitate to call out a bully, misanthrope or liar
She will stand tall, pull her shoulders back while sobbing, heaving hysterical for the plight of another
She’ll dance crazed and belt out a tune just to hear the stereo beat and guitar riffs and drum solo
She will love a man or a woman on a whim from a sweet smile and soft whispers
She’s unafraid to get broken
Her brokenness owned by the cracks she boldly dared step upon walking chin up towards the sun
Pride, she’ll swallow it every time for a cause
And a saving grace melody
She wears leather or lace
And loves to play dress up
She needs to look pretty not for others
For her glorious, unique, mysterious self
Because she is all woman, all day
And one of a kind
Clever, neat, messy and soulful
She’s not a feminist
She’s a humanist who happens to be a girl
In love even when it hurts with this one life – Jacqueline Cioffa