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    Inspiring movies for empowered women


    I happen to be writing this post on International Women's Day 2019, but any day is a good day to be inspired by the stories of strong, brave women. Here's a selection of five of my favourites.

    City of Joy

    If you ever think your life is hard, watch City of Joy to put everything in perspective. The film documents the horror of rape used as a weapon of war, and follows the lives of women in the Congo who have endured unimaginable violence while they support each other to try to rediscover their personal power and find some joy in the process.

    ‘My sisters you will transform the suffering you have endured into power.’ Christine Schuler Deschryver


    The one, the only, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. This is the woman who took on generations of entrenched legal attitudes to women and won.  The lesson is that rattling the bars from inside the system might not be as visually captivating as rattling them from outside, but it’s actually the only way to achieve lasting results.

    ‘A gender line…helps to keep women not on a pedestal, but in a cage.’ Ruth Bader Ginsberg

    Feminists: What Were They Thinking?

    Photographer, Cynthia McAdams 1977 book ‘Emergence’ and subsequent photography exhibition, ‘Feminist Portraits” form the basis of this stylish documentary. Interviews with some of the feminist subjects who appeared in the original book provide a foil to thoughts from current day feminists such as Funmilola Fagbamila, professor, sociologist and playwright, while sadly illuminating that the ensuing 42 years has brought slow slow slow change to the status of women.

    ‘I’ve only known for ten years that ‘No’ was a complete sentence.’ Jane Fonda

    Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

    Raped at age seven by her mother’s boyfriend, Maya Angelou stopped speaking for five years. When she found her voice again she became an icon - representing and inspiring all those who have felt themselves silenced.  With a voice like molten honey, you’ll be transfixed by every Maya Angelou utterance in this beautifully filmed movie.

    ‘I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise. I rise. I rise.’ Maya Angelou

    Legally Blonde

    An oldie but always a goodie. Ok so overlooking the fact that Elle Woods got into Harvard Law in order to pursue her boyfriend, she DID triumph in the end by gaining a law degree and losing a douchebag. She also demonstrated that caring about being a smart, strong woman doesn’t mean you have to give up pretty pink things and personal grooming - unless you want to.

    ‘I don’t need back-ups. I’m going to Harvard.’ Elle Woods

    Made in Cambodia

    All Alexandria Main garments are made at Fairsew, an ethical clothing studio in Phnom Penh (pictured). Fairsew is committed to positive fashion and believes that no one needs to suffer to make our clothes. They pay their sewers a fair wage and provide them a good work/life balance in an environment that is healthy and fun to work in. 

    By contrast, the lives of factory workers can be arduous and harmful. For some insight into the world of an average Cambodian garment maker, take a look at this 9-minute short film movie from Remake, a movement to make fashion a force for good. Click on link to see Made in Cambodia, a film short by Asad Faruqi, the cinematographer for Oscar winning documentary short A Girl in the River and Saving Face.

    "In the film, follow three Parsons fashion design students as they embark on a life changing journey to Cambodia to experience the day-to-day lives of the invisible women behind our fashion."


    Why caftan?

    A caftan is a perfect fit in your sunshine vacation suitcase because:

    1. Silk Caftans fold up into a teeny, tiny square in the corner of your bag

    2. Caftans are effortless glam. Slip over a bikini (I recommend Baiia for the best bikinis - all reversible and made from recycled plastic), pop on a wide brimmed hat, flip flops and sunglasses for daytime. Then swap to chandelier earrings (quick, go look at the gorgeous Angkor Bullet ones from Temples and Markets, they're made from recycled bullet casings), and some beaded sandals (current obsession is the artisanal ones from Greek mother and daughter duo, Elina Linardaki) and you're set for cocktails!

    3. Silk shimmers and floats in the breeze so it feels beautiful to wear. Silk fibre is made of triangular shaped prisms that refract the light in the same way as diamonds. 

    And if you need more convincing, I invite you to read Christine Whitney's Consider the Caftan in the Wall Street Journal.

    "RATHER IRONICALLY, relaxing takes work. Even a do-nothing vacation of cozying up to your Kindle on an uneventful island requires figuring out what to wear for your days in the sun. One garment, however, can help curtail the indecision."



    ITHACA by C.P. Cavafy

    As you set out for Ithaka
    hope the voyage is a long one,
    full of adventure, full of discovery.
    Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
    angry Poseidon - don't be afraid of them:
    you'll never find things like that on your way
    as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
    as long as a rare excitement stirs your spirit and your body.
    Laistrygonians and Cyclops, 
    wild Poseidon - you won't encounter them
    unless you bring them along inside your soul,
    unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
    Hope the voyage is a long one.
    May there be many a summer morning when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time;
    may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
    to buy fine things,
    mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
    sensual perfume of every kind - 
    as many sensual perfumes as you can;
    and may you visit many Egyptian cities
    to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.
    Keep Ithaca always in your mind.
    Arriving there is what you are destined for.
    But do not hurry the journey at all.
    Better if it lasts for years,
    so you are old by the time you reach the island,
    wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
    not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
    Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
    Without her you would not have set out.
    She has nothing left to give you now.
    And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
    Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
    you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
    C.P. Cavafy