The fashion industry has supported the rise of feminism over the past couple of years, which I'm really excited about, but feminism is so much more than a cool slogan on a top. It's about treating each other equally, regardless of gender, and not pinning us to gender stereotypes outlined by society.
"A feminist is a person who believes in the social, economic and political equality of the sexes" - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's definition of Feminism
Feminism and empowering women is a topic that I feel really strongly about and there's nothing I love more than seeing a woman breaking through gender stereotypes and achieving her dreams. That's the feeling that I want to create through this brand, I want my customers to feel strong and confident in Rani & Co.'s clothing and jewellery, because when you feel confident and capable, you're unstoppable.
Why Am I A Feminist?
Growing up I was a sporty kid and so I've always been quite physically strong, but whenever I picked up something heavy or tried assembling something I noticed that men would always run over and take over. This is when I first started noticing that men and women are treated differently. It might sound petty but it actually really annoyed me, because I knew that I was perfectly capable of doing it myself but I was depicted as 'weak' because I'm a woman.
From the age of 13, I was being sexually harassed by men, whether it was in the form of wolf-whistling, men shouting sexual things at me from their cars, being touched up in clubs, the list goes on. I know that pretty much EVERY woman goes though this.
People tell a woman to just deal with it, as if being sexually harassed is part of the package of being a woman. I wasn't okay with it though and it made me angry. I was tired of being treated like an object, I knew I was an intelligent, hard-working, capable person and I deserved to be treated with respect.
I realised I was a feminist at University when I wrote my dissertation on the 'glass ceiling'. To be honest, I didn't know what a feminist was before this! Whilst researching about the glass ceiling and reading about the gender pay gap and other various discriminatory factors, I was so shocked and disappointed. I've always seen women as strong beings, and I just couldn't get my head around the fact that half of the worlds population is held back because of their gender...
Not only that, from a young age I've always been told to think about marriage and to always look and act a certain way around men. Most women are brought up to think the same, but why are we never told to put our careers and dreams first?
Chimamanda could not have said this any better:
"We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are".
Since University, feminism is a movement that I've supported. I want to make a difference to women's lives and I want to encourage women to believe in themselves, and Rani & Co. is a way of expressing that.
Why I don't Support 'Girl Gangs'
I ordered something from a popular online shop, and the packaging had a picture on it with the word 'feminism' and another picture next to it saying 'f*ck the boys club'. That is NOT what feminism is about, the problem with feminism today is that it's depicted as an aggressive and 'man-hating' movement.
Firstly, I'm all about women empowerment, but feminism isn't about 'girl gangs'. 'Gangs' and 'clubs' come across as clique's which only include a specific group of people. Feminism is about the equality of both men and women and 'girl gangs' don't include men.
No gender is better than the other, they both have their advantages and we need to help to uplift each other. All these t-shirts that say 'Female is the future' should really be reading 'Equality is the future'.
How Is Rani & Co. Different To Other Brands?
Rani & Co. focuses on what feminism is really about; gender equality and women empowerment. We do this by remembering the women who have fought for our rights, because without them we wouldn't have a voice, we wouldn't have an education, and you wouldn't even be able to read this right now.
Our current clothing collection is inspired by some incredible women like Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks and Beyonce who have all stood up for what they believe in. I wanted to create something which educates people about what feminism really is and I wanted to express my gratitude to the amazing women who have given myself and other women the rights that we have today.
I really hope you love wearing our clothing and jewellery and I hope you do whatever it takes to achieve your dreams, because you're all so perfectly capable of it.
I'm a proud feminist and I hope you are too! As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said:
"We should all be feminists"