In a week when the treatment of girls was in the press for all the worst reasons, two women grabbed the headlines in a much more positive manner, demonstrating the power of social media in setting the news agenda.
Former Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman set Instagram alight with a bikini selfie that surely wouldn’t make the pages of most glossy magazines. Devoid of airbrushing and filters, the candid pose showed a 59-year-old woman in all her glory, and attracted thousands of likes.
Celebrity buddies lined up to praise Ms Shulman for her ‘bravery’ at posting a #bikinigate photo showing a ‘real’ woman’s body, but then this is the lady who last year insisted on delivering an issue of the top title using no models, only ‘ordinary’ women.
Meanwhile one such ordinary mum Jen Moonie-Dalton from London found herself in the media spotlight after posting on Facebook her displeasure at the selection of school shoes available to girls.
While boys have a range of sturdy footwear to enable them to run, climb and play, Ms Moonie-Dalton accuses the high street giant of #everydaysexism for offering ballet flats with flimsy soles for the girls.
She wrote: “What messages are you giving to my daughter? That she doesn’t deserve shoes that put her on equal ‘footing’ with her male peers? That she should be satisfied with looking stylish whilst the boys are free to play and achieve in comfort?”
Her post has been shared almost 16,000 times and, while there are a fair few people who disagree with her point, it has encouraged more to join the debate on the longer term impact of gender stereotyping of children’s clothing.
Together, these ladies have – by taking control of the debate with their own social media content – highlighted the wider issues of how the appearance of women affects their status in society.
Along which path we might, one day, help to empower those girls who could otherwise fall prey to those who would exploit their vulnerabilities.