International Women’s Day

March is Women’s History Month and also International Women’s Day on the 8th. The theme for this year is “Choose to Challenge”. As a challenger brand we are celebrating this year’s Women’s History Month by remembering women who we felt challenged society and contributed to culture, history and women’s rights. Women with ‘a kink in their spirit’ who own who they are, celebrating their mind, body and spirit.

GLORIA STEINMEN

Feminist, political activist, editor and acclaimed journalist, Gloria quickly became a media spokeswoman on issues of equality and of the women’s rights movement in the late 20th and early 21st century.

Steinmen gained national attention in 1963 with her expose ‘I was a Playboy Bunny’ which recounted her experience in Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Club and revealed the sexist life of the bunnies – a kinky win against Hefner.

Coming from feminist roots, in 1971 she founded the National Women’s Political Caucus which continues to this day to support gender equality and ensures the election of more pro-equality women in government.

Steinmen’s life has been dedicated to the cause of women’s rights. Other organizations she has founded include the Women’s Action Alliance, which promotes non-sexist, multi-racial children’s education; the Women’s Media Center (2004) to promote positive images of women in media; Voters for Choice (1977), a prochoice political action committee; and the Ms. Foundation for Women.

In 2013, President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour.

BETTIE PAGE

Often referred to as the “Queen of Pinups”. An American model, whose signature look of shoulder length black hair with trademark bang have influenced artists for generations.

In the 50s she posed for photographer Irving Klaw for mail-order photographs with pin-up and BDSM themes, which made her the first famous bondage model at the time. Klaw also used Page in dozens of short, black-and-white 8mm and 16mm “specialty” films – kinky!

She then moved to New York where she posed for a photo session in a wildlife park, with aspiring photographer Yeager. The “Jungle Bettie” photographs from this shoot are amongst her most celebrated. Yeager sent shots of Page to Playboy founder Hugh Hefner who used one for the Playmate of the Month centrefold for the January 1955 issue. Hefner said of her in 2008, “I think that she was a remarkable lady, an iconic figure in pop culture who influenced sexuality, taste in fashion, someone who had a tremendous impact on our society”.

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD

English fashion designer and businesswoman, largely responsible for bringing modern punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream.

Westwood came to be widely known when she made clothes for Malcolm McLaren’s boutique on the Kings Road in London, which became known as SEX. Their ability to synthesise clothing and music, shaped the 1970s UK punk scene which was dominated by McLaren’s band, the Sex Pistols who hung out at Club Louise in Soho at that time. She viewed punk as a way of “seeing if one could put a spoke in the system” – Kinky

Westwood then opened four shops in London and eventually expanded throughout the nation and the world, selling an increasingly varied range of merchandise, some of which promoted her many political causes such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, climate change and civil rights groups.

Vivienne and Malcolm use clothes to shock, irritate and provoke a reaction but also to inspire change.

LAURA HENDERSON

Founder of the Windmill Theatre on London’s Great Windmill Street, in partnership with Vivian van Damm; famous for its female nudity emulating, the Folies Bergère and the Moulin Rouge in Paris.

The key element was the exploitation of a legal loop hole that nude statues could not be banned which led to the legendary ‘Windmill Girls’ who appeared completely nude but stood completely still, so as to mimic nude statues.  A loop hole later used by Paul Raymond, our brand icon, aka the King of Soho.

Because the theatre’s auditorium is below street level, it was relatively safe during the bombing of London. Therefore, the theatre stayed open during World War II despite demands from the government for her to shut it down, fulfilling its promise “

MICHELLE OBAMA

Michelle Obama, former First Lady, who needs no introduction such is her reach. From a poor background she reminds us just how far determination and hard work can get you.

Supporting women and their education has been a constant part of her time both as first lady and in her life subsequent to.

Michelle has created her own legacy, including the “Let Girls Learn” initiative started in March 2015. This initiative aims to help the 62 million girls around the world who do not have access to a quality education. The organization promotes programs that reduce gender-based violence against children and educate young women on their rights.

Also known as a woman who enjoys a good martini, a dirty one at that – kinky.