WOW. That is one word to describe the Women of the World (WOW) Festival held in Katherine, in the Northern Territory, this weekend. The brain child of Jude Kelly, the Festival took place over three days bringing together a large number of urban, rural and remote women (and a few men as well) to share stories and extend their networks.
Our particular interest in the Festival, aside from the obvious awesomeness, was a panel aptly named Looking the Part, exploring the topic of women and the ever present pressures to look a certain way. On the panel was Skin Deep team member Jess Cullen, local youth leader Jane Alia and Natalie A’apa’a (Blue King Brown), three young women from diverse backgrounds and experiences, and chaired by Domino Pateman from the UK’s Southbank Centre.
The panel covered a range of themes important to this broad issue, including:
- Skin Deep’s own conversations with over 250 young Territorians in 2010, where 60% indicated body image was a big issue in the Northern Territory;
- the impact of external factors – commercialisation, fashion, media, advertising…and the impact of conversations with our family, friends and ourselves;
- finding a balance and having a holistic view of health (mental, emotional, spiritual and physical); and
- cultural differences between the way we view our bodies, and other people’s.