Photo via Maya Jama's Instagram. 

maya jama on the importance of female power

The journalist and presenter offers her notes on being a woman.

by Roisin Lanigan
03 August 2018, 1:55pm

Photo via Maya Jama's Instagram. 

Am I doing this woman thing right? Do you do this woman thing the same as me? Does it matter? Existential lady crisis -- we all have it. Notes on Being a Woman is an ongoing series that examines the many myths and meanings of what being a woman is all about.

Maya Jama’s energy is effervescent and inexhaustible. Not content with hosting her own infinitely positive podcast, When Life Gives You Melons made by Freya Lingerie, and hosting her own Radio 1 and MTV shows, the 23-year-old has just launched her own clothing range with Pretty Little Thing. Just reading her CV is tiring. For Maya, though, there’s power in being outspoken, in being busy, in being seen. Here, she offers her thoughts on equality, the importance of female power and on harnessing body positivity.

Photo via, When Life Gives You Melons, an all-female podcast with Freya Lingerie.

The best thing about being a woman is being powerful.

The hardest thing about being a woman is people not realising how powerful women are and still, in this day and age, us not being treated equally and with the respect we deserve.

The best advice I’ve ever received about human bodies is if you can’t change it, don’t stress about it. Don’t think about the things that you don’t like about yourself and instead highlight all the things that you do like. If you don’t like your belly focus on your legs, if you don’t like your nose focus on your eyes. Pay more attention on bigging up the things that you do like, rather than complaining about the things you don't like.

When I was 16 I had totally the wrong idea about being a grown up.

The movie that’s taught me the most about being a woman is Miss Congeniality! It was my favourite movie growing up and I loved it so much that I used to watch it and learn all of Sandra Bullock’s lines, and then perform it to people. I loved her character because she was this tomboy who was serious about her career and never thought that she could be girly too. It was the first thing that showed me that you don’t have to do things one certain way to be successful. It showed me that you can be any kind of woman and still do whatever you want.

The most unexpected thing I’ve learned about being a woman is as you get older your periods don’t get easier.

To me, feminism means equality. Never feeling like you’re anything less based on your gender. It means being treated the same as men in every situation because we’re all humans.

The best song about being a woman is Independent Women by Destiny’s Child, easy.

The women I admire most are, firstly, my mum. She’s a single mother who raised me and my brother before going back to uni and working on her own career. I admire so many women that I meet every day, and more broadly speaking I love Maya Angelou -- I was named after her and that gave me a reason to find out about her and her work as I was growing up. And Davina McCall. Love her.

Photo via, When Life Gives You Melons, an all-female podcast with Freya Lingerie.

The best thing about getting older is unconfirmed! I don’t really know, I’m only 23 and I still don’t feel grown up at times. Sometimes I feel about 49, other times I feel about 12. I suppose I’ve just got more responsibilities now, you can’t get away with using excuses and expecting someone else to make all your doctor and dentist appointments.

The biggest lie about getting older is that grown ups don’t like sweets.

I feel like a grown up most when looking after my own health and career. You start to realise that you’re on the path you’ve worked for and that you can’t fuck it up.

If I could be another woman for a day I’d probably be Beyoncé for the day and act reckless. She’s so sensible and elegant, she doesn’t seem to do anything wrong. I’d probably be Beyoncé and go get battered in a pub in Shoreditch. Beyoncé gone wild.

I’m happiest when I know I’ve had a really busy month and tried my hardest, and then I can enjoy my time off, literally not moving from the sofa.

Love looks like two people, locking eyes and kissing.

Love feels warm and fluffy, a bit obsessive (but in a nice way). It feels like a cute sickness, lovesickness I guess.

Love smells like flowers. I really love flowers at the moment. Flowers and sweets and cinnamon, that’s what love smells like to me.

Maisie Richardson-Sellers asks : What acts of self-care help keep you above water? I don’t do anything -- literally. I lie on the sofa, don’t put any pressure on myself to leave the house. I light some candles, read, put on a face mask. Really luxurious.

My question for the next women doing this column would be: Have you ever been in a situation where being a woman has really benefited you?

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notes on being a woman