Image for WomanKind Series - Positive Change

WomanKind Series - Positive Change

How can I make a positive difference in the world? We have all asked ourselves this question at some point lives.

Every day we’re swamped with negative stories in the news media and our social media feeds which can sometimes make it difficult to see the positive in the world and the part we can all play in that. One active way to counteract all that ugly is to aim to be the change that you want to see in the world.

Of course no one can change the entire world all by ourselves, but by making small positive adjustments in our own lives and inspiring others to do the same, you can help create a snowball effect that with time can bring about change. 

Two incredible women doing exactly that are Laura Lewis-Paul, Creative Director of Bristol's all-female record label Saffron Records, and Holly Tarquini, the inspirational creator of F-Rated, a new film rating [curated for the Bath Film Festival] to highlight films made by women or featuring women in leading roles.

Early into the WomanKind project, our Creative Ambassador Lou Gardiner met with them both for a Pukka cuppa. Together they discussed the ways they strive to challenge 'stale ideals' within the creative industry and where they find their drive and inspiration to bring about positive change.

What does being a woman mean to you?

Holly: It's interesting because I feel as though being a woman has been a real journey for me, I spent my childhood really hating the idea that what you had to do was be pretty or dependent on a man or that a happy ever after was because you met a man and then you got married. So I was very against the kind of traditional notions of what it was to be a woman.

Laura: I guess it's been like this flip between being a woman and being a black woman and not that those have necessarily merged between one another at the same time and actually some days you know there's more prerogative or more kind of urgency to be one and not the other.

Lou: That's interesting, why can't you be both?

Laura: Because I think sometimes especially within the music industry I think actually at the moment it's about women, women, women. So it's about you know, how much you're challenging someone, how much you are trying to change people's perspectives and if you're trying to do too much at once then that's about the overload.

Lou: I think that's really valid and I think what you do is so inspiring, both of you have such amazingly inspiring positions of you know spreading and sharing creativity.

When do you feel at your most invincible?  

Holly: My goal with the F-Rating is that it becomes unnecessary that 50% of films are made by women and they're the stories about women. If there was equality on screen and behind the camera, that has the ability to change culture..

Lou: - The world.

Holly: ..Yeah, because changing culture is quite difficult, it's very insidious the ways that girls and women are trained to think about themselves, to put themselves out, what's acceptable, what's attractive, how important is it to be attractive, what is your purpose in life, is it just to be attractive, is that your only value, what are your other values? And so we kind of encourage the notion that it's all about how they look. If women were telling half the stories on screen, they would be showing lots of different kinds of women.

Laura: I feel my most invincible two weeks after my period. So my mum teaches a lot of, so she's a yoga teacher and she teaches about the menstrual cycle and how you know, it's like the seasons, yeah, like the seasons. And since I've known that, I have felt so empowered of my own body, of when I'm most like proactive, like I can do so much at that time and I'm like, oh my god just let me keep working. I can just keep going, keep going.

Lou: Is that summer?

Laura: That's summer. So, period is your winter, then you go into spring and then you go into summer. So that's like when you want to be massively engaged and in control of what it is that I'm doing and since knowing that information, it has just changed my life.

Holly: So as you come out of your winter into your spring, that's the brilliant time to plant new ideas and so that's when you're starting to feel ooh, a little bit excited..

Laura: - Like spring time. Like you do at spring time and how you feel like oh gosh, you can see new colours.

Lou: -blossoms and buds.

Laura: ..Yeah, and you feel like you're awakening again.

Holly: In your spring and your summer, you can say you know "darling, when you leave the wet towels on the floor and your muddy pants on the floor it makes me feel as though you don't care, and I would feel much happier if you put them in the laundry". And you can say it like that in your spring and your summer. As you come down into autumn, you come across a day which is your truth day, and on your truth day..

Lou: -God forbid anyone that's near you.

Holly: is impossible not to say the stuff that has got to you. That's what people describe as PMT and PMS. It's the time when they speak their truth and all their ability to go "oh no it's fine, he/she/it is lovely and I don't mind that they're treating me like crap". It disappears and you can only speak your truth.

Lou: - I know that day.

Which women in your life have inspired you and why? 

Laura: My most inspiring woman is totally my mum, she's allowed me to discover and explore who I need to be. The way that she teaches me, I can see now me teaching to some of the young women that I work with and you know encouraging them to be who they need to be and explore who they need to be. So she, to me is like number one.

Holly: My female role model of the moment is Sophie Mayer, who is an amazing film feminist. There are lots and lots of groups and organisations and individuals that are campaigning for equality, on screen and behind the camera and Sophie seems to be linked in, and not just linked in but helping, she's amazing..

Lou: -If you don't mind me asking, how old is she?

Holly: ..She's really young..

Lou: -Is she, what is she like 18?

Holly:..No, not that young.

Laura: Some people often think that if it's going to be somebody that inspires you, they would normally be older than you because they would have had to be wise or you know an elder, and actually there's a lot of younger women that I work with now that are phenomenal and that I think, what the hell was I doing when I was 19 years old because I wasn't doing what they're doing.

Holly: And also that generation, it get's such a hard time. I don't know where all the rubbish ones are hanging out but they're not the ones I come across, because they are amazing. And yeah, they're challenging everything, and campaigning about it and they're not you know sat in their bedrooms going "oh I don't know"..

Laura: - Yeah, there's no standing back, you know they're fully proactive.

Lou: It's so important for me in this campaign, you know it's a real opportunity to spread creative inspiration and encourage individuality and authenticity.

What piece of advice would you give your younger self if you knew that?

Laura: I think the biggest thing is about being authentic and knowing who you are and the process is a really important thing, because there's such a discovery that you can have in yourself and before you get to that point where you do know, ok I'm ready to actually take on, because I think that can happen at any age.

It's not looking externally isn't it, and I think when you're not looking externally so you're not looking on Instagram, you're not looking on you know all of these different platforms. Yes you can find inspiration from those places but actually to be able to look inside yourself I think that that's the most important thing that you can do to find your own authenticity.

Lou: Well, when I look at you and listen to you speak, the word that comes to my mind is passionate. And the same to you, I think what you're doing is utterly inspiring and I just think, keep on forming that web of wonderful womankind.

How do you bring about small positive changes in your life? Where do you find inspiration from? Join the conversation and give @PukkaHerbs a tweet using the hashtag #WomanKind.

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