Shared this as my facebook status today.
There was so much hype surrounding it pre- event. Everyday while driving to work, Kiss92
advertisements would run and two lovely ladies would say “there are car
shows, baby shows, why can’t there by one for us ladies…?” before
chorusing together “ladies’ expo!” and promising “a showcase of the most
posh and chic in beauty, fashion, nutrition, health, wellness, sports,
fitness, shopping and more! …spoilt for choice …cater to all the
wants and needs of being a lady! Be EMPOWERED and pampered at the Ladies
Expo and emerge a better, stronger you!”
With such promises, wouldn’t you be really excited as well?
When I got there, I was so, so, underwhelmed. Most of the stores were
aesthetics inclined- skincare, facials and a whole range of slimming/
beauty products. I’m not going into details because they aren’t
important anymore but seriously, organizers of the expo, is that the
message you really want to send out to the ladies of Singapore?
left the fair feeling incredibly confused and slightly insulted. So
this is what it means to be a lady? Every store I passed, there was
someone offering to “improve me”. My pores could be less clogged, my
waist could be made slimmer by a special product from Korea and good
grief, how could I not be on their highly acclaimed diet shake program.
Apparently this is empowerment?!
To the organizers, I just want
to say that I know pulling off something like this isn’t easy at all and
I recognize the hardwork and logistical nightmare it must have been but
I also want to point out that the ’empowered’ lady of today isn’t a
diet shake drinker, slimming patch wearer, facial obsessed person. She
is so, so, so much more than that. The girls I hang out with today are
loud and sporty and fun. Some of them love to read, others to craft,
many are excited over some kind of sport so may I humbly offer
suggestions for the next ladies expo you may organize:
ladies expo is honestly such a good idea and I really hope that it would
continue to get better year by year. Let it be an arena where women can
get together and try on makeup in the most outlandish fashions and have
a good laugh (or self discovery) with their girlfriends or perhaps try
out something new in more comfortable surroundings without the presence
of men but it is so important to remind women that they are more than
the superficial. We don’t need the oppression of other women as well or a
fair to tell us that we are even further from perfection than we
already think we are. There is nothing wrong with offering pampering
beauty treatments, or fashion or whatever not but don’t limit the idea
of a “lady” to that. Collab with other vendors. Books, music, crafts,
sport. There was a belly dance event but how about rock climbing, muay
thai, art, woodworking, gardening, learning languages, cooking, bicycle
parts, car shows something like that? Perhaps if we stop dividing
activities and hobbies into “male/ female- centric”, we would start
seeing all of society as “human” rather than in binary oppositions.
2. If you really want to empower women, offer booth spaces for the women from http://www.motherandchildproject.com/, or EmancipAsia
or the hundreds of other charity organizations aimed at giving work and
hope to struggling young women. Invite the busker outside Shaw House to
give a performance (she’s great btw). Shine the spotlight on the myraid
of young talented, passionate women from all over Singapore. There are
so many! Throw a stone and you’d hit 10.
3. There were health
talks aimed at women that were pretty great but we could certainly do
more. Invite women who have suffered from eating disorders, breast
cancer, ovarian cancer to share. Search through the thousands of
instagram pages in Singapore for women who have gone through so much.
Invite EUNICE OLSEN
to share about her WomentalkTV experience. Show young women still
finding their footing in this world that life isn’t about how skinny
they are or how they look but what they aspire to be. Then equip them
with the confidence that in whatever they choose to do, there will
always be a group of people out there they can look to for healthy
guidance and motivation.
At the end of the day, the main aim of a
“ladies expo” shouldn’t be to sell a bunch of beauty products but to
inspire- to make women feel that they are so much more than the
superficial, that they indeed have the power to go out there and live
their dreams (whether as a beautician or a politician or an
I know all these are tall orders and there are
so many budget and logistical constraints to think of but I really hope
that in the future ladies’ expos to come, (my girlfriends and) I would
exit through the doors truly inspired, empowered and proud to be a lady.