Annmarie O’Connor is arguably one of Ireland’s foremost fashion writers. She’s worked with the likes of The Irish Examiner, The Sunday Times Style, RTE, TV3, Dazed and Confused, Elle, Trace, Image, The Dubliner and The Irish Independent and runs the hugely popular iblogfashion.blogspot.com.
Annmarie is the first of our daily guest bloggers so be sure to check back tomorrow for another interesting perspective. Enjoy!
Because I am a Girl I ask … that we don’t take our freedom for granted. 62 million girls are not in primary school and over 900 million girls and women are living on only a dollar a day. Education is a right that should be enshrined worldwide; the denial of which will only perpetuate this cycle of poverty.
Because I am a Girl I believe … in choice. Having grown up in a household of six women, choice was an intrinsic part of our future – the door that opened to who and what we wanted to be when we grew up. My mother – a champion of education – would always say ‘the more you learn, the more choices you have’.
Because I am a Girl I hope … that girls will embrace self-acceptance. Every girl and woman is unique and it is key that we impart this strength to our younger generation. There is so much pressure to look and act a certain way. It’s upsetting to think that being ‘you’ can be so difficult these days.
Because I am a Girl I wonder … whether there will ever be a time when a woman isn’t judged by the company she doesn’t keep. Despite the sexual revolution, women in the Western World still face prejudice with respect to choosing to go it solo. Victoriana is certainly alive and kicking. It seems that if you haven’t paired off two-by-two and don’t feel the need to, then there must be something awry. On many occasion, I’ve been asked if I were gay or indeed, if there was something ‘wrong’ with me. Why does there need to be a reason? I wonder about people sometimes; I really do…
Because I am a Girl I dream … that I’ll look back on this blog and think of how far the world has come. In my dream I’ll reflect on my past preoccupations and take heart in the future. Progress will refer not just to material things but to the development of countries, minds, policies and communities. This would be a dream worth dreaming.
Because I am a Girl I remember … growing up with a strong mother and four sisters. My father having died when I was four meant my mother played both roles. Her determination to ensure we succeeded is the greatest gift I’ve ever received. I’ve had the best role model for what women can achieve in watching her raise our family and have used her sound advice as a road map for my own life. I owe my successes and achievements to her inspiration.
Because I am a Girl I like … the story my mother tells us of how happy my father was each time she gave birth and the doctor said ‘it’s a girl’. For the record that was four times; one of which was twins. When I hear that 100 million girls have gone missing in the developing world because their parents preferred boys, my heart sinks. Where are they? How did this happen? The elephant in the room just gets bigger and bigger.
Because I am a Girl I dislike … laziness. Although choice is a birthright, it’s more often than not a luxury in our times. The older I get, the less I take this for granted. The cult of reality TV ‘stars’ and its incipient fame for fame’s sake have fostered a misleading notion that dreaming big is enough. The idea of creating, contributing and striving now seems almost twee. Is this the message we want to pass onto the generations that will be taking care of us in our golden years? I fear… big time.
Because I am a Girl I feel … confident. This hasn’t always been the case. As an extremely shy child, I had to work at becoming more self-assured. Now it’s one of the best personal tools I have. It’s a shame to think that timidity, uncertainty and doubt can have such an impact on one’s potential but it can often be a lock that has no key. Ironically enough it was theatre work and acting that helped me open up.
Because I am a Girl I … want to be the best role model to my young nieces. I see how impressionable and vulnerable young girls can be and as far as I’m concerned, it starts with each one of us to make sure we pave the right path and send out the right message for the younger generation.
– Annmarie O’Connor