In 2004 I was a lost insecure 25yr old with a decade of eating issues and a lifetime of body hang ups. The thought of taking my clothes off in front of anyone unless drunk was a big ‘NO’. There was no chance in hell being naked in bright light was ever going to happen. Any romantic interaction I had involved so much guilt. A voice in my head was constantly criticising my every move. The world around me was a steady stream of misogyny. The double standards between what society said men could do and what women could do sexually just fueled the anger in me.
The result of my anger? In 2005 I launched Killing Kittens.
I had imagined a world where I could feel in control. I imagined a world where I would look at myself with love and feel empowered to be me. I imagined a world without judgement, without negative voices controlling the opinion I had of myself. I looked around me at all the other women in my life and saw the same shame and hang ups. I wanted to create a world for them, for all women to feel safe. When I looked at my own body, all I saw were faults and the things I wanted to change. I hated every part of it.
In creating Killing Kittens, I never imagined how much it would change me. I see what it does for our members, year after year. I see how strong women are. I listen to their stories of abuse and how Killing Kittens has changed their lives for the better. These women inspire me beyond belief. They empower me and give me the inner strength to view myself differently, to change my mindset. These women are my heroes.
Simultaneously to founding Killing Kittens…
…I launched The Sisterhood, a group of women doing ultra races all over the world in aid of various women and children’s charities. Looking back, it is clear that I was on a mission to find myself, to push my mind and body whilst looking for my purpose in life. I might have merged Killing Kittens and the Sisterhood in my mind as both trying to help women around me find their voices and their confidence whilst backing themselves. What I later grasped, was that the driving force behind both was actually trying to find myself.
15 years on, I see what my body has done and I look at it with total awe.
My body is my hero. From running the marathon de sables across the Sahara, swimming the Channel, rafting the Amazon, climbing Kilimanjaro to growing 3 babies and 3 childbirths, I have watched my body change. I have found both mental and physical strength I didn’t know was possible, over and over again. If i could go back to my 25yr old self and ask her who her hero would be? I would say ‘my 40yr old self’.
When Alex from FYEO messaged me asking if she could take my photos, very intimate photos, I immediately thought ‘no chance’. I’ve spent 15yrs passing any offers over to other team members or using them as prizes for our amazing members. But, this voice inside my head had harsh words and, I thought, just go for it. If I expect our members to own their sexuality, to back themselves, to embrace their bodies in all their glory then, I should practice what I preach. ‘Grow a vagina’ Emma and ‘woman’ up!
I committed to doing it. I did it for me and every woman who has ever doubted herself.
It was never for any promotional purposes, it was all me and my body. There was nothing sexual or objectifying about it, just me giving my body, my hero, the high five it deserves.
I felt so empowered, liberated, proud and I loved every minute of it. I left the studio fully charged. Using the results of the shoot – intimate photos that were meant for mine and my husband’s eyes only – for business purposes has only just come about by chance. I showed some of the team the pics and their opinion was unanimous. It’s KK’s 15th birthday this year, it feels absolutely right to tell my story, to be totally honest, to be open and proud of my journey, in the same way we ask members to share their journeys.
So here’s to all the women out there. You are so strong, so badass and so courageous. Let your bodies be your heroes. Get out there and back yourselves from the bedroom to the boardroom.
I am Georgie, Director of customer Services at Killing Kittens, first point of contact for our 100,000 members, problem solver, occasional writer of bits and bobs. Lover of wellington boots, mummy to 2 amazing little people.