Maybe you know her, maybe you can imagine her walking down the hallway with her round sunglasses and her iconic bob. Perhaps you have seen movies like ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ or ‘The September Issue’. If you have, you know exactly the music which is playing in the background while the editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine enters the scene.
She is bold and impeccable, she walks straight with her chin high and the fantomatic sunglasses covering her face. She seems to have everything under control, and one little smirk from her side could make a whole store close down. We have heard rumors, we have watched interviews, and somehow we reached the conclusion that she is a frightening woman who is stiff and strict with no empathy whatsoever. She is the embodiment of a successful woman. She is a leader at heart and nobody can doubt it.
How To Be A Leader
But let’s take a step back: there are five main types of leaders. The one who wants to be your friend and prefers the company to have a positive and democratic environment, this is the participative leader. Contrastingly, we can describe the delegative leader, the main job he covers is telling his employees what to do and how to do it, forming a team of really competent people. The third type, the transactional leader, focuses on establishing a routine instead of revolutionizing a company by inspiring the employees; these are the characteristics of a transformational leadership. Last but not least is the authoritarian leader, there is no way to say no this time: he imposes and demands things to get done in a certain way or he will do them himself.
Shortly described, we can already notice that all of them have positive and negative characteristics and, perhaps, it would be good to mix and shake them around in order to reach an ideal leadership. However, sometimes society imposes certain standards and it becomes hard to not be defined. People will put you in a category, whether you want it or not.
The Woman Behind The Sunglasses
However, for a woman, reaching the top always means double the work, so she had to get serious, put her game face on and leave her ‘humanity’ on the side.
Anna Wintour could be defined as an authoritarian leader. If you didn’t feel like you had to stand straight and get the job done while you imagined her walking into the office, I don’t know what will. She is known for being the editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine since 1988. She has always had a talent for fashion, and she moved from the UK to New York to follow her dream. However, for a woman, reaching the top always means double the work, so she had to get serious, put her game face on and leave her ‘humanity’ on the side. Because the only way to make it is by pushing, without looking at who gets hurt. She has been defining fashion for the past decades and yet, all we see is a strict woman.
Young women look up to her and dream to be her one day, like Miranda Priestly said in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’: “Everyone wants to be us”. This character has been said to be based on Anna Wintour, and we can imagine her, sitting in the back of a limo after the Paris Fashion Week, putting on her sunglasses and exiting the car with style. She needs to always look perfect, always be ready to smile for the cameras and shake hands. She truly became a celebrity, and society dehumanized her. That’s it. It’s as simple as that. She didn’t do it herself, who would decide to stop being human? But there is always pressure coming from around you, and the more fame you gain the more people feel like they can judge and have expectations, inhuman ones if I may say.
If a woman shows her vulnerabilities she will not be taken seriously and it might get harder for her to reach a managerial position.
And so, that little girl looking up to her fashion idol feels the need to be strong and independent with no regards and, it’s already too late. She pictured where she wants to reach and she will do anything in her power to get there. This is how, generation after generation, society’s standards and ideologies are pushing women to stop being vulnerable. Without even realising it, we are extinguishing humanity. Poor Anna Wintour shouldn’t be feared but helped, because I believe that she, like millions of other women just like her, has a heart. It is most likely what drove her passion and her determination, it has just been forgotten at home, hidden secretly in a drawer, left there for future use. Society didn’t give her the chance to truly be who she wanted to be, because it was either success or humanity, it seems like it’s not possible to have them both. If a woman shows her vulnerabilities she will not be taken seriously and it might get harder for her to reach a managerial position.
The Game Changer
However, thankfully, there are always people that dream the impossible, one of them is Sara Melotti. She is an Italian fashion photographer who also moved to New York to follow her dream, but had a realization in the meantime: why do we give young women such impossible beauty standards to reach? Why can I not show them something that is real?
*Episode 2 will be out on June 26th, so hold your breath until then, see you soon*
Cover: Charisse Kenion
Edited by: Rajal Monga