On Sunday my friend Janet and I undertook the #boldisbeautiful walk in Central London in support of Refuge and Look Good, Feel Better sponsored by Benefit Cosmetics.
Refuge is a charity I have a lot of time for, having spent the last few years working for a charity that supports victims of crime, and Look Good, Feel Better helps women fighting cancer to learn how to use skincare and make up to boost their confidence despite the changes to their bodies and skin.
This is the first year Benefit have run this, and it shows.
We were told to wear minimal make up as we would get a makeover en route. This meant a spot of lip gloss and some blusher, which wasn’t quite up to Benefit’s claim.
We were given freebies of sample sized items at each checkpoint and offered others to buy (all proceeds to the charities). As well as a make up bag to keep them in.
There was branded water bottle available, which was definitely needed in the hot sun. Everyone was given a canvas bag to keep their treats in, a pair of comedy glasses, a cape, cookie and T-shirt. We also received a medal at the finish line.
However there were some serious issues.
My friend is a wheelchair user, and parts of the route were so badly planned as to be completely inaccessible. There was a info box on the sign up sheet stating wheelchair users should speak to an organizer, so we did and were told it would be fine. It was not.
Then there was the frankly offensive sizing issue with the t-shirts. A medium fitted a four year old girl there with her mum but not any adult women. One girl I spoke too said she was a size 8 but needed a large. The XXL tees ran out incredibly quickly as they were the only ones that fitted anyone comfortably.
The average size woman in the UK is a 16, so why order t-shirts for a charity event supporting women that fat shames?? I couldn’t even get the supposed XL over my rugby player shoulders, let alone my boobs. Because of this I felt like I wasn’t really part of anything and seeing the same five generically pretty girls being photographed for all the promotional material was quite frustrating.
Women come in all shapes and sizes and can be victims of domestic abuse or contract cancer regardless. Disabled women are four times more likely to be victimized, their abusers are usually intimate partners or family members who take on caring roles.
There was almost no promotion done, I only knew about it as I’m on Refuge’s mailing list. Janet went into a Benefit store on Saturday and the staff didn’t know it was happening.
Finally. At the end of the walk, a party atmosphere was being encouraged so imagine our horror when Blurred Lines came on over the PA system. At an event supporting Refuge is a song about date rape appropriate?? Is that song ever appropriate?
When I mentioned this on Instagram, Benefit had the cheek to claim it was a public playlist. Clearly it didn’t occur to anyone to vet the playlist and check there wasn’t anything inappropriate on it.
I personally think it was a good idea but just executed a little poorly. Hopefully lessons will be learned and adjustments made to make it feel more inclusive.
My energies are now focused on the 10k London Bridges walk in September for Refuge. Look out for my sponsorship requests. :):)