It was only 50-odd years ago that, in a protest against a Miss America beauty pageant in New Jersey, a group of women threw bras, mops, lipsticks and high heels into a “freedom trash can” and birthed the iconic image of the “bra-burning feminist”. Today, while there are more open discussions, more resources and more visibility surrounding women’s issues than ever before, there's still plenty of work to do—as indicated by the #MeToo movement started in 2017, and the ongoing fight for equal pay and body autonomy.
The latest edition of Tatler Hong Kong’s monthly House Stories series at The Upper House was a taboo-shattering event titled I Am Woman. It was a special edition, taking part during our inaugural Tatler Wellness Week sponsored by Lululemon.
Hosted fireside in The Sky Lounge, I hosted a panel made up of Sabrina Villard, a shamanic energy healer; Olivia Cotes-James, founder of toxin-free period products brand Luüna Naturals; and Petra Greening, co-founder of We Are Fk, a local platform that promotes sex positivity. Positioned as “girl talk for grown-ups”, the lively and empowering discussion was centred around women’s health and flowed through the topics of sex, self-pleasure, fertility, periods and spirituality.
“Gender inequality is systemic and it’s nuanced in cultures around the world, but it’s a global problem we all face,” said Cotes-James who, through Luüna, provides education to schools, corporate environments and to underprivileged communities to shed light on “the myriad ways taboos around menstrual health affect our lives. On a personal level, our wellness, our empowerment and also our planet.”
It’s something few of us think about, but the fact is, millions of women around the world miss out on life-changing opportunities in work or school simply because they don’t have access to basic sex education and period care, ultimately leaving them stuck in the cycle of period poverty.
“By talking more about these topics, we become more comfortable talking about [issues like] sexual health,” says Greening. “We need to be more open with each other; we need to not be afraid and hopefully that will create positive changes for the next generation of women. We Are FK stands for celebrating ourselves and our individuality.”