‘Stop Allowing Other People to Define Us’: Shonda Rhimes Gets Real About Beauty and the Importance of Having More Women in Power

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Getting in positions of power is the only way true change will happen for women both in and out of entertainment.

That was a message Shonda Rhimes gave on Thursday at the Cannes Lions Festival, where the writer and producer took part in a discussion called “Time to Step Up: Smashing Beauty Stereotypes,” created by Dove.

During a panel discussion, Shonda Rhimes talked about how women need to define what beauty is instead of men. (Photo: Christian Alminana / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

In 2017 Rhimes became Dove’s creative director for the company’s “Real Beauty Productions” initiative.

But at Cannes Lions, she talked about another one of the company’s campaigns called “#ShowUs”, a partnership with Getty Images and Girlgaze to reveal over 5,000 photos of women from all around the globe.

Each one of the photos are completely unedited as well, and Rhimes said it’s time to stop letting men dictate what beauty is.

“I think the first thing we have to start pushing against is, stop allowing other people to define us,” she told the crowd, who reportedly gave her a huge applause.“I also think that giving people an opportunity to see themselves putting people in more positions of power [will do that],” added Rhimes.

“You have to remember that we’ve been in a society that’s been male-led for a very long time and [a project like ‘#ShowUs]’ didn’t happen, so as women began to take positions of power, things began to happen.”

She also said it’s key for women to gain corporate power and be true decision makers.

“I do think that as you climb a ladder you bring people with you,” she stated.  “You have to have more critics who are women. You have to bring other people along so that their voices are heard.”

“The more people in the mix, the more people who have opinions, the less it’s about somebody telling you that you’re niche because there’s nothing niche about being 51 percent of the population,” Rhimes emphasized.

Elsewhere in the discussion, the “Grey’s Anatomy” writer talked about her three daughters Harper, Emerson and Beckett Rhimes and said she doesn’t want them to have a limited definition of beauty.

“I don’t want them growing up thinking there’s only one way they can look,” she explained.

And the Chicago native doubled down on that statement in a June 20 Instagram post about the “#ShowUs” campaign.

“Lack of representation plagues the ad industry,” she wrote. “7/10 women don’t see themselves in images they’re bombarded with daily. @Dove and I are challenging the decision makers at #CannesLions to #ShowUs real women from all walks of life.”

@shondarhimes Instagram
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