Picture a mother. What does she look like? Did you see your own face? Your mother’s? A stock image of a woman pushing a pram?
We know there’s no face of motherhood. It’s universal – and universally difficult, amazing, overwhelming, all-consuming. Motherhood touches women from all walks of life, all races, cultures, ages, ideologies, and religions. It doesn’t care for socioeconomic status or sexuality or education.
As the mother of two girls who are part Sri Lankan, diversity is something I think about all the time. I will never forget when my eldest daughter came home from school one day, looked at her skin, and told me she wanted peach skin, not brown skin. I looked at her and my heart broke.
As a storyteller, this platform was founded on the idea of sharing stories from all women. Yet I’m the first to admit that The Grace Tales hasn’t always reflected this, and this doesn’t sit well with me, nor does it reflect who I am. Making our platform more diverse has been an ongoing discussion within our team for a long time, but talking about it or being aware of it, just isn’t enough. And while I am proud of so many of the diverse stories we have shared – and diversity is more than race – we need to share more. We need to do better. As Zoe Hendrix has said on a comment on our Instagram feed – “white people, yes, get sad, this shit is heartbreaking. But then please get ANGRY and get ACTIVE.” Going forward, every week, we will stop talking and start acting. All mothers will feel seen, heard, and represented on our platform.
During my career in fashion magazines, I can count on one hand the number of times we featured a woman of colour on the cover. Cover stars had the same face: white and privileged. Diversity was lacking back then – and it’s still lacking today. I’m ashamed that when I became my own publisher, I didn’t try hard enough to change this. I should have done better. Over the years, too many of our stories have often had the same face: white, and privileged. And it needs to change. Now. We could have just made these changes, quietly, because it’s not easy to admit that you’ve failed to really prioritise diversity. It’s confronting knowing that privilege – when you think something is not a problem because you aren’t affected personally – got in the way. That you’ve let it slide. I feel ashamed. Embarrassed. Ignorant. But not talking about it seems worse to me. Being silent isn’t the answer. Taking action is the answer. Surely the more we talk, the more change we will make?
Our commitment going forward is to make sure that we’re sharing stories that reflect the diverse experience of motherhood across a multitude of faces and places. We need to do better and we will do better.
Georgie Abay, founder