Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, was one of the most respected, admired and successful women in the world. This courageous visionary, publisher, and author of several books including Business As Unusual, gained worldwide recognition as a pioneer in the field of socially conscious business. She was a fearless and tireless advocate for social and human rights. When we interviewed her she was consummately passionate about changing the vast cultural ‘story’ about women and how they are perceived in the world media and business, especially as they age, as we all must do. I loved her gutsiness and her courage to take a stand for important global issues when no one else would. I am privileged to have had her take on a mentor role with me, one of the first to support the vision of Women’s Day Live. She sent out letters to CEO’s of other companies to support the Women’s empowerment initiative. She lived her life with passionate intensity and deep commitment. I miss her.
Significant Quotes I am privileged to share with you.
It’s time for women to rise up and to be heard. I think with women my age in their late fifties, we don’t want to be seduced by this notion of what we should look like. In our fifties we just want to be heard. We have stories to tell, we have information to tell, we want to be heard in our relationships. Our place matters in society, in our communities and our workplace.
The Cosmetic and Fashion Industries don’t realize that for us education is everything. Spiritual education is everything. We’re redefining who we are; as we grow older we get more radical. There is a big epiphany out there. Women are really good at reinventing themselves, much speedier and with much more class, grace and elegance than I’ve ever known with their counter gender.
“There are two billion women who don’t look like super models, and only eight who do.”
This is the demand of a public that’s saying you’re not listening to us, you’re not hearing what we have to say. The industry still thinks, ‘oh shut up, get a face lift, and diet’. When you look at the way the body is being controlled by the fashion industry, they’re assuming that the nature and shape of the body, the breasts, the hips, the thighs, the arms, everything is out of kilt unless it is almost anorexic.
And that’s the image that they feel that we need. It’s about dissociating ourselves from our body. It’s successful as a strategy, but women have cottoned onto it now. That’s why I don’t believe any woman over 50, unless they are so dull or so persuadable, would ever believe that there is a formula in a water-and-oil emulsion that will get rid of wrinkles. They would rather now spend money on a good bottle of Pinot Noir. They know it’s a lie.
We have to have a moral sense of outrage about things we’re allowing to happen. It’s like President Kennedy said – the enemy of truth is not the big bold lie, it is the myth persistent, consistent, you can’t do this, you’re only one person. And you read that and you hear that often enough, and you just get bloody outraged. The passion that’s in the belly is the same passion for the last 30 years, is human rights. So for me, my life on this earth, every minute, every second, I wake up thinking I’ve got another day. I don’t know where that comes from but I take nothing lightly. For me, everything is measured by my actions. This is no dress rehearsal. So that’s the confidence. And I’m on a path. There’s no detours. I’m down this path. So I had emblazoned on the side of one of my trucks, ‘if you think you’re too small to be effective, you’ve never been to bed with a mosquito’.