Let women do the talk on International Women’s Day — What means beauty?

In case you forget how energetic the world use to be, let’s start this review from the vibrant beauty of women. Happy International Women’s Day!

王紫荆 Wang Zi Jing
6 min readMar 8, 2021

Last year at this time, me and three other girls sat at InterCardiff newsroom and clicked Publish. The Beauty of Women officially went live, to celebrate International Women’s Day.

After the project reviews later that day, lots of journalists came to me and said: “I really love your video! It was so engaging.”

“I was gonna cry seeing the Rugby girl! So powerful.”

Verity Butt, president of Cardiff University Ladies Rugby Club, said she would play even she had injuries, because she believed “it really changes people’s lives”.

I know to many people, the rest of 2020 was a mess: Endless lockdowns pushed each other away, physical distance dragged us down to the ground. We felt lost, we felt unsafe, we felt anxious.

If you feel the same way — No matter you’re a man or a women — Reviewing this project with me might help.

Sounds like a cliche, but yes, women are still trapped in a definition called “beauty”, which to most of people simply means “looking good”.

There’s nothing wrong to try to look good. But meanings of the word “beauty” are, for sure, much more than this.

Beauty of Women is a video based project produced by Huan Zhu, Lilian Liang, Pamela Li and Zijing Wang. Published at InterCardiff on 9 March 2020, it shows how women can be different and beautiful at the same time.

Women in Sport: “It’s beautiful to see the evolution of women’s rugby.”

Verity Butt, Britt Price and Lowri Brown from Cardiff University Ladies Rugby Club explanined why they like Rugby and how it links to their definition of beauty. Edited by: Lilian Liang, Pamela Li

Verity is so passionate about Rugby. Being asked about her definition of beauty, what came to her mind first is Rugby.

“If you look at the skill level in women, it’s gone miles in years, it’s developed more recently…Just look at that, it’s beautiful itself; If you look at all barriers that women face, it’s beautiful to the the evolution of women rugby.”

For Britt and Lowri, what they have gained from this sport make them beautiful: Skills, teamwork, friends… Rugby formed part of their personalities.

Talking about beauty of oneself, Verity said it was an internal thing: Care about people, love your life. It seems what she’s been doing as president of the club.

If you love the life you live, you will live a life of love. — That really says everything about beauty.”

Women in Yoga: “Give yourself a chance to focus on YOU.”

Victoria is a yoga teacher. To her, the key to be beautiful is to focus on oneself. Edited by: Huan Zhu

Victoria runs a yoga class in a basement. It’s a big room, not shiny and fancy, but tidy and clean. To her, what’s important is not what beauty is, but that you think you are beautiful.

She notices many young girls tend to look in a certain way by doing makeups or cosmetic surgeries. Although it’s absolutly fine to care about the outlook, what she worrys about is to judge yourself from other people’s opinions.

“Go to find something that really matters to you, something you really love. Make sure that you give yourself enough time to do it,

“In that way, you can develop you, who you are, and being happy with who you are.”

Victoria thinks yoga gives people a chance to really focus on themselves. This helps them develop their bodies and their minds. But other things will do the same as long as you can develop yourself from it, and finally become happy with yourself.

“If you’re happy with who you are, you are more likely to see yourself as a beautiful woman.”

Women in Dress: Beauty is a state of mind.

Magdalena is a girl from Poland. She once was the centre of hate comments on social media. Now she chooses to accept her imperfections and to take care of herself. Photo by: Zijing Wang

Magdalena works in a dress shop, the kind of dress you wear to party or to prom ball. She meets girls all the time, some always have everything done: Hairs, makeup, nails, while some don’t feel comfortable in a dress.

Magdalena doesn’t think the idea of looking nice is wrong: “There are not many occassions to go with dress like this, maybe just once — Everyone wants to look nice.”

Apart from these, what she thinks is also important behind, is to see that girls are happy about themselves.

“I never see a girl unhappy trying the dress on.” She said. But for some who don’t want to look at themselves in the mirror at first, it takes some time.

“They think they are too fat, too skinny or don’t have boobs. To me, they are so young and beautiful!” Said Magdalena, “so I always try to make them sure that they look nice.”

When I visited the shop, three girls are trying dresses on. They changed, stepped in front of the mirror, feeling shy, but feeling happy. Photo by: Zijing Wang

To Magdalena, beauty is a state of mind, it can be shown from your appearance: “When I look nice, I feel nice. It means I take care of myself: I eat healthy, I do exercise, I don’t drink alcohol, I take care of my mental health, so my hair and skin look nice…I think they’re all connected.”

Women in Life: Be kind, be honest, be true… Your beauty comes from very part of you.

I met Lindsay Smith, one of our interviewees, in a coffee shop on Sunday afternoon: She had a decent size of cake in front of her, a coffee, and a book in her hands.

Being stared by me for a long time, she was still focusing on herself. This makes me a bit scared to go ahead and talk to her.

“She looks… powerful.” I said to my friend.

“That’s the exact woman you want to get quote from, right?”

Yes, okay, then I walked to her, introduced myself and the project.

She seemed very passionate about it, although she didn’t smile: “I don’t think it’s easy to define (beauty). I don’t like labels. I don’t like particular type of look,

“To me, beauty is spontaneity. Get into yourself and feel at ease with who you are.” She raised her arms and started showing me her bath routine, “Sleep, shower, tap your skin with a little lotion, and you feel beautiful.”

Lindsay frowned and suddenly became serious: “The society makes us focus too much on face.”

Surprisingly(or maybe not), many other women we talked to said the same thing. Veronica, a section manager living in St. Mellons, Cardiff, said society today is stereotypical for females.

“Beauty is within a person. I think women with caring hearts, who can show their feelings, are beautiful,

“Be kind, be true, be honest, that’s the most important.”

Veronica thinks comparing to the outlook of a person, what’s within is important as well. But it’s usually overlooked.

Gender and Activism Symposium: “Focusing too much on beauty distracts us from other forms of empowerment.”

From stories above, you can see something in common: To focus on yourself instead of the judgements from outside. It’s academically approved to be important to self development, especially in an age of social media. Edited by: Lilian Liang, Pamela Li

When I was talking to Lindsay, the barista came over saying they’re about to close. So I had to ask quickly for a potrait of her before leaving.

She said yes, and checked her outfit, leaned back a bit on couch and lifted her chin up.

“Is this pose ok?” She asked me, still without smile.

I said: “It’s perfect.”

“Great, then we have to leave soon now.” She stood up and packed her things, and turned back to me.

“We need works like this. We have to fight.”