Pop culture is filled with inspiring females who have defied stereotypes, translated their outspoken views and stood up for what they believe in.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we look back on the iconic figures who’ve paved the way for women in their industry.
Actress Katharine Hepburn famously said “If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun”. At the forefront of Hollywood’s leading ladies for over 60 years, Hepburn carved her own path away from the stereotypical characters to play a plethora of unconventional roles that reflected her personality. Her hatred of skirts and love of pant suits made her a trendsetter in her own right and her no-nonsense attitude towards conforming made her a true inspiration.
During the 1960s, British model Twiggy was one of the first models of her time to make androgyny her signature, challenging the ideals of what was perceived as the ‘perfect body’. With her pixie cut and deadpan looks, she revolutionalised the way the fashion industry thought of conventional beauty.
“I’m a rebel with a cause”, said singer, songwriter and activist Nina Simone. Her passion for music but her family’s disapproval of her art led to her changing her name from Eunice Waymon to Nina Simone, where she took up a job in a nightclub and launched her jazz career. Battling prejudice, Simone went on to use her music as a channel for vocalising her views on civil rights and inequality, often performing at meetings and marches to show her support.
Scottish singer Annie Lennox not only made a name for herself as an artistic and commercial success, but her philanthropic work and political activism have gained her an OBE. Emerging in the punk-esque era of the 80’s, Lennox broke the mould with an androgynous look that challenged gender identities, with her pant suits exuding an authoritative female stance. In recent years it has been her tireless work with charities that has seen her at the forefront of campaigns and her fundraising continues to show her passion for helping others.
Even before Hillary Clinton became the first woman to announce she was to run for President of the US, she had her sights set high. In the 90s she became the first First Lady to hold a postgraduate degree and have her own career before entering The White House. She became part of the innermost circle during Bill Clinton’s presidency and after Eleanor Roosevelt, she was regarded the most openly empowered presidential wife. Despite critics deeming her role in decision making inappropriate, Hillary Clinton has paved the way for budding female politicians.
Marilyn Monroe once said “If I’d observed all the rules, I’d never have got anywhere”, and how right she was. Monroe is known for her iconic looks and acting roles, but it was her drive as a career woman and passion for poetry and literature which seemed to have taken a back seat in the midst of her tragic death. The starlet became the second businesswoman (behind Mary Pickford) to own her own production company, allowing her to make her own decisions when it came to the parts she wanted to play. As well as this, she lobbied for Jazz singer Ellie Fitzgerald (who was banned from a club due to her race) and regarded Abraham Lincoln as one of her heroes.
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