“This opportunity allowed me the chance to share the voices of many, and learn along the way. I hope it encourages you to raise your voice with us.”
As a human who self- identifies as a woman I’ve struggled to understand what the word ‘woman’ means to me.
I knew I held secret powers, regardless of how I defined it, but some of my experiences growing up showed me differently. For example, in the entertainment industry, women are still fighting for equal pay, or to be equally heard creatively with our male peers. And that’s not even getting into the racial, disability, non-binary, sexual orientation and other stigmas that add more unnecessary suppression.
Through powerful conversations with my women-of-colour peers, I’ve learned more about racial segregation on set and within our press days. I’ve learned how people with disabilities feel left out of the conversation. Or just left out, period.
I’ve learned from the LGBTQIA+ community how many colours brilliantly shine on the rainbow. And overall, how little representation we see featured proudly in the media. We all long to be seen through the lens of those who have an experience that matches our own.
As I’ve travelled to other countries and outside my own industry I see people of all kinds across the globe searching for this same thing: to unhook from the generic norms put in place before our inception. We are now linking together to learn from our experiences to find a new way of being that is authentic to us.
Guest editing this issue was my opportunity to reflect on the spaces that can exist when folk with power (in this case, me) use their platform to grab the hands of others and pull them up. Inclusion is not happening organically yet – it requires thought and pointed action.
The people featured in these pages of my special issue are just the beginning of the conversation. They are runners and chefs, trans folk and drag queens. Business owners, of many skin colours and anatomies. We are not one-size-fits-all, we are not for the fetishisation of the outside, but for the safe space inside ourselves. Feminism and visibility will undergo expansions for as long as we grow and stay curious.
This opportunity allowed me the chance to share the voices of many, and learn along the way. I hope it encourages you to raise your voice with us. We need you in this chorus. Let’s hold tight the parts of ourselves deemed unworthy and make them the most potent, powerful, undeniably radiant aspects of who we are. That is how I define myself, and that ownership is in itself a revolution.
Your pal to scream into the void with,
Lisa Smosarski, Editor-in-Chief:
This year, Stylist celebrates its 10th birthday (it’s true what they say about time flying). To mark this auspicious anniversary, throughout 2019 we’ll be asking 10 inspiring women to create their very own issue.
Hollywood actor, activist, star of the upcoming Captain Marvel and all-round strong woman, Brie Larson was the perfect fit for our first takeover, and she could not have done more. She has written, commissioned, edited or approved every single page, and the result is remarkable. We hope you enjoy it… Look out for our next (very exciting) guest editor in early April.
Images: Carly Palmour
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