Black British model Leomie Anderson recently penned an honest letter to her young female fans on her blog, Cracked China Cup, in response to recent stories of slut shaming, sexual assault and exposed nudes.
The 23-year-old looks back on her high school days, when inappropriate sexual images of her female classmates were the talk of the hallways: “’Nah have you seen this sket [hoe] from so and so school? She sent this nasty picture to xyz over MSN, look!’ would be the typical conversation as someone’s Sony Ericsson got passed around under the tables in the morning before lessons or on the playground at lunch.” She highlights the vulnerability of teenage girls in this modern era of social media and the lack of understanding young males have about the consequences of releasing such information.
Leomie goes on to talk about the importance of consent in her career as a high fashion model, who has walked for fashion giants Vivienne Westwood and Moschino among others over the last six years. She also recognises how having a team surrounding her to say no when necessary is a luxury most girls don’t have access to: “When you’re at school, you don’t have that. You feel like you’re grown enough to deal with everything from experimenting with your makeup to experimenting with boys, but the latter can be a lot trickier with much more devastating effects.” She knows now to “always vocalise if I don’t want to do something or don’t feel comfortable on a shoot.”
The brown-skinned beauty drums home the issue of trust that can be clouded by emotion and wants girls to know “that your NO means something”. She adds: “I want you to know that if he/ she doesn’t want to accept your ‘no’ then he/she doesn’t respect you or your voice, so why should they be entitled to your body in any way, shape, form or snapchat? Saying NO doesn’t make you scared or frigid, it makes you smart and mature.” Queens, take note.