Stella Creasy on why ‘yet’ should be the most important word in our vocabulary

Posted by for People

If you think you can’t achieve something, worry not. Stella Creasy MP has some wise words of encouragement…

Stella Creasy MP is a modern day hero. Currently Labour and Co-operative MP for Walthamstow, she has been vocal about her wish to have misogyny classed as a hate crime. Plus, since becoming pregnant earlier in 2019, she has been hard at work campaigning for MP’s maternity rights

And now, she has some wise words to share with anyone who feels they can’t achieve something. Speaking at Stylist Live LUXE, Creasy outlined the importance of adding the word ‘yet’ to the end of any sentence in which we’re telling ourselves we can’t do something.

“You might think you’re never going to be able to do something, but I want you to add the word ‘yet’ to that sentence,” she said.

stella creasy mp
Stella Creasy MP wants to encourage us all to use the word 'yet'

Creasy used herself as an example to illustrate the power of the word ‘yet’, talking about how she motivates herself to stand up and speak in parliament.

“I used to think to myself, ‘I’ll never be able to get up there and deliver a great speech’. But now, I add ‘yet’ to that sentence: ‘I might not be able to get up there and deliver a great speech yet, but one day I will be able to do so’.”

Essentially, it’s all about knowing that even if we can’t do something now, we will be able to do it one day in the future.

“Some day, you will be able to do it,” Creasy added. “You need to give yourself something to aim for, rather than believing you will never be able to achieve that goal.”

One goal that Creasy is keen to achieve is equality for women. 

“It’s not for women to solve the problem [of the patriarchy],” she said. “49% of the population will also benefit from us gaining equality. But we need to give ourselves the space to start.”

Creasy has also written an essay for Stylist’s new book, Beauty Reimagined, which is packed full of inspiring women who give social expectations the middle finger. You can read the full essay below:

“All too often for female politicians, it’s our appearance, not our arguments, that gets the primary attention. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but, in our unequal world, it is also in the eye of the electorate. 

For those women who want to change the world, the expectations about what they must look like in order to be ‘taken seriously’ can be crippling – in the case of footwear, literally. For a real revolution, we need to rip up the old rules and champion the beauty that diversity can bring to all our lives.

I’ve never enjoyed being told how I should look. When I was 11, my mother and I had a furious row about a pink bolero jacket which she felt would be perfect for me, and which I was ready to seek adoption if she made me wear. Even then, I knew the fight wasn’t really about the outfit – it was about being able to tell me what to do. How I chose to present myself – and, as a teenager, it involved, at points, blue lipstick and pink hair dye – wasn’t about style so much as the substance of my attempts at rebellion against the mainstream. I didn’t want to be silent or conventional in any way. My choices, like my opinions, were about being different. I didn’t want to fit into a world that didn’t fit the world I wanted to live in.

In adult life, that pressure to look a certain way in order to meet someone else’s assumptions has been non-stop. The temp agency boss with the shocking-pink lipstick who demanded I buy a blazer and lose weight when I was 18 so she could comfortably send me to make cups of tea for bankers. The Labour Party staffer who told me when I was picked as a candidate that I needed to have my ‘colours’ done – apparently, I was a ‘sludge’ – for people to find me appealing. I had already spent a month’s salary on a frumpy pillar-box red suit, heavy foundation and bouffant hair for the selection process because I was told to look ‘older’ – again, to be ‘taken seriously’. I’m not sure the Dolly Parton effect it produced swung any vote. Each of these moments was a reminder that, as a woman, your value lies in what others see of you and find attractive in you, not in what you say. 

That hasn’t stopped, even after having won elections. As a female MP, I receive comments about my appearance almost daily, from the man who wrote asking for video footage of me pulling off the knee-high boots I’d worn on TV to the commentators who suggest I’m wearing make-up for them rather than because I’m on screen. When I cut my hair short, several male colleagues spent a week debating whether this meant I was now a lesbian. Because, still, when it comes to women, how you look is used to judge who you are, whatever words you say.” 

Don’t miss out: sign up to the Stylist Daily email for a curated edit of brilliant content every day

beauty book

Our second book is a collection of essays by 11 women, including Caitlin Moran, Chidera Eggerue and Jess Glynne. Beauty Reimagined: Life Lessons On Loving Yourself Inside And Out (Penguin, £9.99) is available on Amazon now

Stella Creasy was speaking at Stylist Live Luxe

Main image: Getty

Share this article

Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Commissioning Editor at Stylist. Follow her on Twitter

Recommended by Sarah Biddlecombe