By: Twitter Buttons

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

You're Beautiful, Woman - and you're smart too!

A couple of Saturdays ago, I attended 'You're Beautiful, Woman', an annual event that aims to motivate and inspire women to recognise their beauty and self worth in every avenue of their lives. There was definitely a lot going on from makeovers in the beauty room, cosmic energy coaching, hypnotherapy, massage therapists and seminars on a range of topics including The Secret Life of Hair (advising attendees about where that Beyonce lace front actually comes from) and Radical Leap Coaching (encouraging women to equip themselves with 'good baggage' - the skills needed to fulfil all of those ambitions).
Good Influence Therapy

Kemi Bespoke Artistry - bridal makeup, fashion, editorial, makeup classes

Rosebudden aka Crystal Ogbogo - freelance make-up artist. Worked at the Matthew Williamson show at London Fashion Week 2008.

What really excited me about this event was the marketplace. This was a room full of stands exhibiting a range of products and services:
The Marketplace

Soutarri - online jewellery store. They also offer jewellery making classes and will be going into secondary schools from September to work with children who are experiencing difficulties, possibly inspiring them to be creative, sociable and develop a hobby.

Alexandra Galleries - online art gallery, event listing and source for African American prints, posters and original art.

The Salad Master - a healthy eating cooking system. By the way, that delicious chocolate cake you see on the right was made using all the vegetables you see in the Salad Master. No word of a lie - healthy chocolate cake! And it tasted great!

Pebbles Wearable Art - made to measure authentic clothing maintaining the uniqueness of African fashion.

What excited me was the entrepreneurship of the women in the room. Ethnic minorities in the UK are increasingly stepping out on their own to be their own boss and it is promising to see so many women identifying gaps and opportunities to make money instead of waiting on that monthly paycheck. In the media, you rarely see examples of entrepreneurial females and if you do, it is usually one example alongside a line-up of middle aged men. Deborah Meaden, Michelle Mone, Karren Brady, Elisabeth Murdoch - all examples of females who have achieved recognised success in the world of entrepreneurship but I struggle to name a well-known woman of colour in the UK (let me know if you can name any). But my point here is that the culture of black female entrepreneurship does exist and this event was an inspiration to me. Seeing confident women doing what I want to do with my life - spend my days working for a cause I am passionate about - gives the extra boost that I and many other females need in order to take that daunting step from 'employed' to 'self-employed'. Women are stepping up and in a few years time, hopefully I won't be struggling to name names!


Monday, 3 August 2009

TREND ALERT: The new therapy

Forget about shaving one side of your head, forget wearing leggins with short tops and you can definitely forget about getting a Blackberry on your new upgrade. Apparantly, to be on trend and with the 'in-crowd', you need to sign up to a social networking or video streaming site, sit down in front of your laptop....and then have an emotional breakdown. Webcam is optional. It's as easy as that!

Over the last few weeks, we've seen the explosion of this new trend. Certain celebrities have been turning to their computers instead of their psychiatrists and putting their emotional oubursts out there for all to see. First there was Soulja Boy feeling pressures of the music industry and 'expressing' himself via Twitter. Then Bow Wow got a little 'attention-envy' and wrote a suicidal-note-like message, again using Twitter. Next was another member of the young Hollywood crew, Teyana Taylor, who when reading both love and hate messages from the public, couldn't contain her "tears of joy". Most recently, American basketball player Stephon Marbury broke down while listening to a Kirk Franklin track - all with his webcam switched on.

All the examples above signal some deeper emotional issues that need to be dealt with, but what happened to writing in a diary, talking to your best friend or ahem...seeking professional help? Now the obvious explanation for all of this is that these are cries for attention. People in the limelight tend to have that performance gene, they thrive putting on a show and receiving that round of applause from the crowd before they take a bow. Perhaps, after a while this recognition from the public becomes more like personal validation and they start to constantly seek it in order to feel good about themselves, relying on it even to maintain their self-esteem.

But before we all jump on their backs yelling "low self esteem, fame-hungry, losers", are they that much different from all the 'regular' people on Twitter, Facebook and bloggers? Ok, while not all shed tears, I have personally witnessed Facebook status posts reading "I've had enough", "Why is this happening" and "I can't take this anymore". On a couple of occasions I've been close to replying with the number for the Samaritans! Twitter, the same, people post up their thoughts, opinions and feelings for other people to read. Do tweeters feel validation when somone replies to their post, agrees with them, retweets what they said or even follows them? They probably do. So does this also fit in the 'cry for attention' box? And bloggers - I know I'm talking about myself when I say this but is this blogging world a place where we become celebrities ourselves? Ok, no-one is going to be showing their house in the pages of OK magazine anytime soon, but as you gain more followers, people begin to recognise your name and blogs start to be taken more seriously a pieces of journalism, is it JUST about writing about the topics you are interested in? Isn't it also about the public recognition and acceptance? If it was just about the writing, then we'd all be blogging anonymously right!?!

Let's put it down to self-expression - its a way to air your views and speak your mind. However, where do we draw the line? At what point do we go "hey, I'm gonna keep this private, its way too personal to put out there". Is talking going to become redundant as we all become a nation of status posts? It's just something I've been thinking about. Social networks and other online broadcasting tools seem to be blurring the lines of friendships, privacy and what should and shouldn't be said or shown. So with a new outlet for 'self-expression', whether its micro-blogging via Twitter, vlogging via YouTube or just setting up your own page, who needs a therapist?

Would love to hear your thoughts: tweeters, Facebookers, Bloggers, why do it and where do you draw the line?

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