W
e live in a world where women are constantly being told they aren’t good enough. The images and messages we are fed suggest we need to look younger, thinner, fitter, curvier, richer, more successful. And all this, effortlessly. Every time I open up Instagram which is often considering my business depends on it and that I’m completely addicted, I’m overwhelmed by images of perfectly bronzed beauties traveling the world with their equally handsome photographer boyfriend visiting exotic locales without a care in the world. If only I were (insert unattainable ideal here), I could have that life too.

So not only are we not good enough but we’re also told we need to give, give, give. Nurture, love, support. We are expected to give all this to everyone around us. Our significant others, friends, parents, children, putting ourselves at the bottom of the list of priorities. Where does that leave us?

So on International Women’s Day this year, it was clear that the message had to be LOVE YOURSELF, LADIES.

But what is self-love? Is it a narcissistic pursuit akin to vanity and self-obsession? Or is it the foundation for the most significant relationship in your life?

Self-love is about knowing your worth, accepting yourself and taking care of yourself on the daily; physically, emotionally, spiritually and yes, sexually. Assume responsibility for our lives and well-being. That might mean redirecting some of the love we give to others towards ourselves. Women have to stop waiting for this elusive savior who will make us feel complete. We cannot give to another, or to the world if we don’t learn to give to ourselves first and in turn, realize we are already whole.

What better way to illustrate the concept of self-love than to take it to the most obvious, explicit, and literal interpretation. After a brainstorming sesh with the WRG crew, we, of course, knew we had to go there. Self-love includes self-pleasuring. A double entendre that for some reason makes people a little uncomfortable. It forced me to contemplate why women’s sexuality is still a taboo topic. A subject rarely discussed in mainstream media.


Why are we so uncomfortable talking about a woman taking pleasure into her own hands? Even the word vagina is rarely said aloud as to not upset society’s delicate sensibilities. Try it out, say vagina in a conversation, watch everyone flinch. Then casually use the word penis or dick. No one bats an eyelash. Everyone comes from a vagina, get over it.

It almost feels like an unspoken rule amongst women even; WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT MASTURBATION. From a young age, you hear about boys jacking off. Seemingly an essential topic in coming of age movies. American Pie’s whole premise was well, boys losing their virginity at prom and practicing with a pie. As a teen, I remember watching this blockbuster with my parents and siblings, a family favourite. Would American Pie have been as embraced if let’s say it was the story of a teenage girl that got caught humping a cucumber, American Pickle?

Why are we so uncomfortable or even embarrassed to talk about female masturbation? Why is a woman’s sexuality still stigmatized?

The point here was definitely to make people wonder. Is she or isn’t she? Whether she is pleasuring herself or working out, the message is the same, take care of yourself, it’s ok. A woman’s body is her own, and she should be able to take pleasure in not only how it looks but also in what it is capable of doing. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of exertion, pleasure, and accomplishment that comes from fitness or sex or whatever else you choose to do with your body. Feminism is about choice.

This video is also of symbolic of how multifaceted women are. It asserts that women can be strong AND sexual. These are not mutually exclusive qualities; one does not trump the other.

Provoking change starts with self-love. 
#LoveYourselfFirst

The Self-Love Project by Alice Kass
Starring Alex Dunn
Video by Leslie New-Money Woods
Sound by Andrew Funk Ward
L
ingerie by White Label

About the Author
Sabrina Cassis is the founder and creative director of Alice Kass lingerie, a multi-brand online lingerie platform with female empowerment as its core value. Sabrina started Alice Kass with the belief that lingerie should be about the woman wearing it, first and foremost.  Lingerie has long been marketed for male consumption yet it is the closest thing to a woman’s body and she wears it every single day. Thus her mission is to provide women with fashion-forward yet comfortable lingerie that makes them feel cool, sexy and confident and that brings back the focus to their needs and desires. The self-love project was inspired by the positive and overwhelming response to the International Women’s Day video created in collaboration with WRG, making it clear that this was a topic that was begging to be discussed. From it was born the self-love project, a series of reflective articles that focus on empowering women, sparking conversations around the challenges they face every day in a real, cheeky and unfiltered way.