I’m proud to have partnered with Dove for the Dove Self-Esteem Project #HourWithHer workshop. This is my reflection on participating as a mentor and the time I got to spend with a woman that I have been inspired by for a long time, Jess Weiner.
Recall a situation or instance that negatively impacted the way you feel about your own beauty.
How did you feel in that moment? Did you feel your body physically react? Did your voice change?
These uncomfortable questions usually have even more uncomfortable answers. But something powerful happens when we talk about it.
When you say it out loud, you own it, instead of it owning you, like it does when it rolls around in your head over and over and over again. Whether you’re hashing it out one-on-one with a friend or you’re sharing it in a workshop setting, the support you receive right away helps those words lose their power over you.
Part of that might be because you hear what you need to hear the most – “yeah, something that like happened to me before, I know how you feel.”
And just like that, you see that it’s not just you, that you are not alone, and you start to feel a little bit better in that “we’re in this together” kind of way.
Going back to that situation, what would you change about the situation if you could? Would you switch up anything about what you said or did?
These are the things that keep you up at night. Replaying a situation over and over with different outcomes. “I should have said this or that,” “I should have said something instead of looking surprised and turning away.” In that moment, though, when you’re caught off guard by a hurtful comment, it’s hard to know what the right thing to do is. The truth is, in that moment, you’re not really thinking at all, right? I know that feeling.
Talking through how you could rewrite that moment gives you even more ownership, but more than that, it gives you power because you start making that list of all the things that you could have or should have said. When you say them out loud and they are met with a supportive “YES!”, you know that if there’s a next time, you’ll be ready.
This is part of what I experienced when I had the opportunity to travel to NYC to participate as a mentor in my first Dove Self-Esteem Project #HourWithHer workshop. This new workshop is based on the belief that one hour talking to a girl about beauty, confidence and self-esteem can change the way that she sees herself. Looking at some of the statistics, like this one, it’s important to recognize that there is an issue:
8 in 10 girls with low body confidence will opt out of activities such as raising their hands in class or voicing their opinion.
Now, perhaps more than ever before, our voices matter. More than anything in the world, I believe that all of our voices matter and that we need to be empowered to stand up and speak up anywhere and everywhere. We need to be confident that we can speak to the issues that matter to us whether that is in a classroom or online. I believe that we are getting there and there are examples of strong, confident and outspoken leaders among us that show us what is possible.
When I discover those people, I am drawn to them. I discovered Jess Weiner online a few years ago. Jess is Dove’s Global Self-Esteem Ambassador and for the last 13 years, she has crafted and distributed educational curriculum surrounding self-esteem that has reached over 20 million girls worldwide. I was so excited to learn that Jess would be facilitating the #HourWithHer workshop in NYC and was even more excited to sit down and spend some time with her after.
Jess has made empowerment her life’s work (she even says in her social media bio that she’s in the “Business of Empowerment”) and is really passionate about helping young people remember their power and their purpose. She understands that the media and social media have a huge impact on us. We agree that social media is one of the most powerful tools that my generation has.
“I think young people have the power in their hands for social media. And that’s also a mighty power to wield. And sometimes, if you’re not using it purposefully, you can do it to destroy people.”
The truth is, social media can be used to destroy people – I’ve seen it. We all have. But I believe that the there is a major shift happening and that I’m seeing more and more young people using social media for social good. Jess nailed it with this: “you’re the CEOs of your own media empires. You don’t have to wait for a magazine to tell you what to cover. You cover the stories you care about. You write about the things that you care about. That is the power of social media.”
We talked about shifts and movements and one of the most important new terms that has become the center of so many conversations – intersectionality. I asked Jess what it means to her.
“So, intersectionality for me means all different groups from all different walks of life, and all different privilege backgrounds, and all different experiences coming together and recognizing that everything we talk about, with race and class and gender and sexual orientation, all of that is intersectional. Everything kind of overlaps with each other. So, we can’t have women’s rights without having rights for people of colour. And we can’t have rights for people of colour without acknowledging people with different sexual orientations. Like we have to work intersectionally with all of these communities, and know that equal rights are human rights, and that everybody has fair game and fair opportunity in this. And right now, the world’s not set up for that and we know that. When you’re intersectional you’re also recognizing people outside of your own privilege. Because sometimes I think, we have privilege that we know of and we have privilege that we don’t recognize yet. And so, it’s important that people recognize where they stand in that place, and always help pass the mic.”
Understanding what intersectionality means is an important piece to understanding where we are right now. I think that it also has a place in our conversations about self-esteem. It’s about everyone having a place. It’s about everyone having worth. It’s about everyone having an opportunity.
I love what Jess says about passing the mic. There’s a lot of personal power in the phrase “drop the mic” [or “mic drop”], but there’s a lot more community power in the idea of “pass the mic.”
Let’s keep passing the mic.
Visit Dove.ca to get all of the tools and resources so that you can spend an #HourWithHer, whoever that special “her” in your life is.