by Emily Jane Hutton · 17 May 2019 · 4 min read
When I decided to pursue a career in whiskey, I knew it might be an uphill battle. The spirits industry has a competitive edge and being a female in a male dominated space, I knew I needed to be ready to take on the competition. I never set out to be the first female ambassador for The Macallan Single Malt Scotch, but as I pursued my career with unrelenting passion and knowledge, I was able to land my dream job in 2016.
As the media's outreach has expanded over the years with the rise of technology and social media platforms, representation has become a more prominent and debated issue among the public. Media outlets and platforms that primarily use images to engage with their audience, have an enormous responsibility in shaping how people perceive reality, as well as their roles within it.
When Forbes Magazine released its list of America's 100 Most Innovative leaders in September, it included only one female without even a photo. The resulting firestorm mostly centered around a lack of gender equality. A cursory look at the list also showed a lack of racial diversity.
Now is actually a very exciting time to be alive. Fear and uncertainty might be taking over our world but I really do believe that underneath it all, this is a time of transformation for our planet.
In the the wake of Mr. George Floyd's brutal murder, the United States of America suddenly had something monumental at the forefront of its dissonant mind. The protests and the unrest that burgeoned across the country, and tellingly, across the world, simply said, "Enough, is enough."
There's never been a better time to stop and think about how we can do better and be better as a people, as a society, and as collective members of this beautiful planet we inhabit together. Why? Because the need for social and environmental sustainability has never been more urgent, including members in the beauty community.
While we continue to be shocked by the horrific abuse in the Epstein case, let's not overlook what the media coverage itself reveals about a pervasive sexism and misogyny that is deeply embedded in our society. From what is said and how it is said to what is conveniently left out, the coverage reflects and perpetuates long-held attitudes about male violence against women. Much of the Epstein coverage refers to the victims as "underage women"; that would, of course, be girls. There is also reference to Epstein and other powerful men "having sex" with underage women; that would be rape. And the Epstein case is not singular.
As the US celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted white women (yes, only white women!) the right to vote, it's a good idea to make sure we're 100% clear on what we mean with "equality," and whether it's a worthy endeavor after all.I won't beat around the bush, I believe that dreaming of gender equality is dreaming too small. And I'm not the only one to think this way. Renowned feminist cultural critic bell hooks in the classic Feminism Is for Everybody (2000) criticized the narrow view that equates feminism with gender equality, stating that feminism is, rather, "a movement to end sexism…"
The girl I saw had a bright, beautiful face and big expressive eyes. She was standing outside the school gates, clinging to the fence with her fingers laced through the wires and peering in longingly. I knew that this young girl, who I later learned is named Srelin, was not being brought into the school to be enrolled, and I wondered if she ever would be. It was a moment of reflection as I realized that the world would never see the boundless potential she possessed if she was barred from education. I knew in that moment that providing girls like Srelin the tools for self-empowerment was the way that her community, indeed our world, could change for the better.