Photo: Courtesy of Lian Benoit/Knix
For as long as we can remember, men have been the faces of strength in advertising and media. Thankfully, supermodel Ashley Graham is helping to change the game, showcasing the power of women in a new collab with apparel brand Knix—the striking short film titled Big. Strong. Woman.
Graham, who is a brand ambassador for the Canadian company, was creative director on the project in addition to narrating and starring in the film while heavily pregnant with her now-one-month-old twin boys. With her beautiful belly front and centre, the star emphasizes the many things that make women just as mighty as men, and the problematic gender norms that fail to encourage young girls to explore their own power.
"Big and strong is what we tell every boy to be, but what about us girls?" Graham asks in the voiceover. "We have to be big and strong. Strong enough to love ourselves when the world is telling us not to."
This tribute to the power of women comes just in time for International Women's Day on March 8, and is the product of a collaboration between two unstoppable women. Both Graham and Joanna Griffiths, founder and CEO of Knix, gave birth to twins in the past year and bonded over the gender barriers they'd faced as a result of motherhood. With their new project, they're choosing to abandon those norms and celebrate strong women, from the suffragettes fighting for equality to the many trials ladies endure on the daily: menstruation, labour, infertility treatments, sexism. Graham tells women and girls that they are strong enough "to raise your voice in a world that wasn't designed for you in the first place."
Check out the full film below:
Big. Strong. Woman. also features celebrities like Laverne Cox (yes, trans women ARE women) and Aisha Tyler, who publicly shared the decision she made with her husband to stop infertility treatments and not have children.
"I am beyond thrilled to show the world what we've been working on for Knix," says Graham. "Together with Joanna, we created this film to showcase all the challenges women face that make them the very picture of strength that should be celebrated every day."
Griffiths echoed the sentiments. "From choosing to defy traditional gender norms, or enduring the physical and mental strength required to navigate fertility challenges, and loss, there are so many ways that women have to be big and strong. This was a message I wanted to share with my own twin girls." The businesswoman gave birth to her daughters last year on none other than International Women's Day.
We love this film and the fact that it includes images of women of all sizes, ages and racial backgrounds. And while we are a parenting magazine, we also love that they highlight the fact that women can choose not to have kids and recognize that that takes so much strength of conviction. So thank you for this reminder, Ashley—this is exactly the kind of messaging we need for our sons and daughters!