Tara is the Founder of Natures Locks, an online platform promoting the beauty of natural hair for black women in particular. For years society has told us to relax our hair and give up our natural beauty for societal standards, however, this beautiful young woman is breaking the barriers for us all. I had to feature her especially because of Natures Locks, but beyond that, she’s simply full of life with a great soul. So here’s Episode 5!
(LJS) Hey beautiful! Thank you for taking part in this. How are you?
(TO) Hey Laila! I’m great and you?
(LJS) I’m great! Let’s get started. What does being a 21st century woman mean to you?
(TO) To me, being a 21st century woman means being unapologetically myself. Being confident, strong and totally comfortable in myself. The 21st century woman is independent and is not afraid to go for what she wants regardless of what people may say. A 21st century woman is one who believes in always striving for the best – she is not comfortable with mediocrity, in herself and in those around her. She is tolerant and understanding of the beliefs and lifestyles of others whilst not compromising her own beliefs and lifestyle for the comfort of others. She is dynamic. And most importantly, she KNOWS what she wants (in life, work, relationships etc) and she makes that a priority without being selfish or judgmental towards others.
(LJS) I couldn’t agree more – we have absolutely NOTHING to apologize for. We deserve acceptance in society as global citizens and not second class citizens. What barriers have you faced as a woman today?
(TO) Thankfully, I have been lucky in the sense that I haven’t faced many significant barriers as a woman. Maybe it’s because I’m not a corporate slave yet (lol). One thing I will say is that I SOMETIMES find that women choosing to explore and do something that’s ‘off the beaten’ track is often seen as a bit of a joke or it’s not taken very seriously whereas when men do something different, it’s often seen as cool or visionary. For example, I remember starting my blog and getting sooooo many backhanded ‘compliments’. I see it all the time with my peers that are doing something that’s not ‘the conventional thing’. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by so many strong, hardworking women who have all beaten the odds in so many aspects. I have seen the many barriers they face each and everyday – for example, losing out on certain business deals/opportunities simply because they’re women or not being taken as seriously as the men when both parties are in leadership roles.
(LJS) I can totally relate. But I have to say, I’ve been following your blog for years and it is beyond inspiring. It’s honestly, without a doubt, one of the best blogs I read today. Do you recognize yourself as a feminist? If so, what type of feminist are you?
(TO) Wow thank you! That means a lot to me. If we’re defining a feminist as someone (woman/man) who believes that women and men are socially, economically, intellectually, politically, spiritually and sexually equal, then yes I am. I think feminism is an incredibly important part of society and, unfortunately, it is often bastardised. But when we remember the true ethos of feminism, it is a beautiful and NECESSARY thing.
(LJS) When did you first recognize that gender inequality exists?
(TO) I probably first realized in primary school. I went through a tomboy phase and my primary school used to have Saturday morning football. I liked football at the time so I used to go. And I definitely got those comments that were like, “football is for boys. What are you doing here?” I’ve always had a sharp mouth though so I definitely told them about themselves when they tried to bully me (lol)! At the time, I just thought, “oh boys are just allowed to do some things girls aren’t allowed to do” but I always just felt very weird about it. I always wanted to know why I wasn’t allowed to do something just because I was a girl. It seemed ridiculous and unfair at the age of 8 and I now realize it certainly was.
(LJS) I can definitely relate to that (lol). When I was in primary/secondary school I played football and got called ALL SORTS. From butch, to a boy… but I’ve got a sharp mouth too haha! When you’re faced with barriers because of your gender, how do you overcome them?
(TO) Haha! To be honest, it just motivates me to do better and be better. I choose to block out that negativity because good vibes only. At the end of the day, it’s your life and you can’t please EVERYONE. Your achievements are for you and those who love and care about you. And when you reach your destination, regardless of what it is, those barriers will be something to look back at and laugh at. I believe that every barrier is part of a higher purpose and if you keep pushing past those barriers, your success will be even sweeter.
(LJS) I love that. What is your greatest achievement so far?
(TO) I would say that my greatest achievement is my blog – I’ve created something that I am truly proud of and something I hope to see grow and thrive. I know this question only asks for one achievement but I would also like to add being in a position where I truly know what I want in life – I don’t just mean in work or financially but also spiritually, socially and mentally. It has taken me a very long time to get to this point and I haven’t achieved everything I want yet but I actually do know what I want and I have made sure to surround myself with people who are understanding and supportive of that.
(LJS) I’m honestly so proud of you. Keep it up babe you’re doing a great job! What does “The Future Is Female” mean to you?
To me, this statement means understanding that women play a vital and crucial role in our world. We will no longer be pushed to the side or the back and we will be unapologetic when it comes to going for our goals and aspirations. I remember seeing pictures of the Women’s March earlier this year and being filled with so much pride and happiness – that unity is so important. Women deserve a seat at every table. And if no one wants to give us a seat, we’ll be more than happy to make our own table where everyone is welcome.
Tara is a 21 year old in her third year of her International Relations degree at Kings College London. She started a hair and skincare blog, Nature’s Locks a little over two years ago, which she hopes to grow in to a career. She aims to promote natural and healthy lifestyle and beauty practices. She is particularly interested in and passionate about women’s rights, the promotion of healthy lifestyles and global politics.