Wednesday 19 September 2012

Welcome to an IMAGE FREE ZONE

I am an Australian psychologist, mother and educator and I am so excited to be able blog and start a conversation about some of the issues that fire me up: women’s bodies, minds and relationships.  What is great about a cyber blog is that it can reach women all over the world. And I have had many wonderful opportunities to talk with women from many different cultures and in many different places, in jails, refuges, board meetings, schools, universities and remote indigenous communities. And whether it be on an indigenous reserve in Arizona, a New York prison, an Australian Aboriginal community or a suburban neighborhood,  I have found that women talk about the same things: their rights, their body and self image, their food and weight issues, their kids and families, their relationships, their futures and that of the planet.

And what I sense in all of them is a frustration that they are not being seen and heard for who they are. And that they are tired of being objects of desire, second class citizens, victims of violence and subjugation.  So I would like to start a conversation with women about these things so that we can find another way of seeing each other, so that we stop competing with each other and judging ourselves and each other by criteria set by those who do not have our best interests at heart.

As a psychologist, I see many girls and women whose lives are destroyed by their negative self beliefs, their hateful self images and their fears of not being good enough. But psychology happens in a closed room, in isolation. And if there is no change outside the room then there is no support for the healing process.

And if women do not begin to change the way they see and think about themselves then it is almost impossible for girls to grow into their full potential. So it is my wish to create a better world for girls that drives me to appeal to all women, to start to change the way we see ourselves.

When I traveled to the Australian desert to stay with a community of Aboriginal women and met women who did not define themselves by their physical appearances, I realized I was in an image free zone for the first time in my life.  It was liberating to be with women who were not at all conscious of how they looked, because it began to rub off on me. After days without make-up and mirrors I let myself be seen by these women whom I knew were not judging me by my looks but by a very different set of criteria. And these women had a wisdom and connection to with each other that is rarely found in modern women’s relationships.  They are so inspiring, I want to share their wisdom, their networking and connection. And I can’t think of a better launching pad than cyber space to propel modern women into an IMAGE FREE ZONE. 

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