TOP 5 INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN

If you haven’t heard of Holly Baxter and Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett’s brilliant blog ‘The Vagenda’, it’s time to add it to your bookmarks. Challenging the way women are spoken to (and spoken about) in the media, the blog is both funny and feminist, covering everything from their take on current affairs, to why Katy Perry is totally great and the pros and cons of online dating. The pair has also just published their first book, a laugh-out-loud and bolshly read, rallying girls everywhere to re-think the media they consume day-to-day.

So why should we read it? “Today’s young women are awesome – they’re passionate and intelligent and ambitious – and yet we’re being told that the most important thing about us is the way that we look,” the girls explain. “We want our book to encourage women to celebrate their individuality, something we often forget in favour of losing our muffin tops, bleaching our freckles or generally fitting in to an ideal that is not only impossible for most of us but also really, really boring.”

But does this mean we shouldn’t love fashion? “No! Needless to say, we love fashion,” they tell us. “There’s this cliche that feminists just wear dungarees and are really grumpy. Well, we might wear dungarees occasionally (they’re pretty in this season) but we know how to have fun too, and dressing up is a way of expressing yourself from which we can all get huge enjoyment. Fashion is, at it’s best, an artform and there’s nothing wrong with celebrating that.” We couldn’t agree more!

To mark the book release, we asked Holly and Rhiannon to share their favourite inspirational ladies of all time:

1. CAITLIN MORAN

Photo: How To Be A Woman

“She made feminism funny, shared her teenage experiments and made thousands of young women laugh while feeling less alone. We are both absolutely in love with her book ‘How To Be A Woman’.”

2. LENA DUNHAM

Instagram @lenadunham

“She wrote and directed an entire film (Tiny Furniture) when she was only 23, and she started on Girls when she was 25. She’s now only 27 and she’s made one of the most interesting TV series of our time, cataloguing the real lives, tantrums and flaws of directionless girls in their early twenties who make more than their fair share of mistakes.”

3. AUNG SAN SUU KYI 

Photo: Letters From Burma

“She has tirelessly fought for democracy in Burma, spent 15 years under house arrest, won the Nobel Peace Prize and is still going. A truly inspirational woman who defends everyone’s right to freedom of speech, daily.”

4. TINA FEY

Instagram @eonline

“Another hilarious woman, who brought us everything from the best Saturday Night Live sketches to the screenplay of Mean Girls.”

5. LEYLA HUSSAIN & NIMKO ALI 

Photo: Love Productions

“These are the two astonishingly young women behind the group Daughters of Eve campaign, and they do an excessively demanding job with so much gusto. They’ve visited Downing Street, spoken across Europe and Africa, and run countless support groups for female victims. Their work is incredibly important, and has already made a lot of political and personal difference for young girls across the world.”

Who are the women that inspire you? Let us know by tweeting @topshop and pick up a copy of The Vagenda girls’ book here