Coinciding with the pivotal June 2018 Saudi policy changes allowing women to legally drive, Egyptian-Saudi eyewear company Magrabi has launched a major campaign entitled #EmpowerYourVision – an ode to Middle Eastern women and their ability to plan their future the way they see it.
Featuring a diverse cast of inspiring influencers from around the region, from Kuwait’s Ascia to Lebanon’s Nour Arida, they explore how women are seen and perceived despite public judgement and misconceptions. The film asks the question, “Look at me, what do you see?” examining conventional notions of being flawlessly beautiful, being the perfect mother, or being the ever-successful career climber, challenging the audience to go beyond first perceptions – and to ultimately celebrate their true selves.
Staying true to themselves as well, Magrabi’s creative director Cherine Magrabi led the campaign with an entirely Middle Eastern female team, driving home the point that the film is 100 percent for women by women. Being a local company servicing a region that is rapidly evolving, breaking boundaries, and setting new standards for women’s roles in society, the campaign concept is a natural fit as Magrabi is known to incorporate gender equality into its core values by upholding equal pay policies as well as employing women as 50 percent of their upper management department directors.
Wearing (and living) the #EmpowerYourVision, we caught up with Ascia, Nour Arida, Mariam Yeya, Fatima Almomen, and Tamara Al Gabbani for their take on female empowerment and how they envision the future. Illuminating the varied ways that this can take shape, their views all make one thing clear: it’s all about women sticking together and finding strength in each other.
Glasses, Dhs625, Ray-Ban at Magrabi
“It’s never making oneself smaller to fit a situation. Female empowerment is about camaraderie rather than just a movement and its accepting women for their choices and fighting alongside them for the respect we deserve when making those choices.”
“I feel like we forget that every part of the world is in a different stage of the female empowerment journey. We need to recognise that to empower women even more everywhere, rather than shaming them for not being at the same level.”
Sunglasses, Dhs2,580, Dior Addict at Magrabi
“We live in a world where women don’t always have the power or freedom to express themselves; to show the world the essence of their souls. To me, female empowerment is using your voice in order to help other women speak up, to inspire them to say what they think, to dress as they want, to achieve their dreams, and to be who they were meant to be.”
“I think over the past 10 years we’ve seen women become leaders. Whether in politics, fashion, arts, or humanitarian causes, women have helped each other through their voice and vision to acquire positions that we never thought were possible. Personally, using my voice to strengthen other people – especially women – is a big daily motivation for me to keep on going.”
Glasses, Gucci at Magrabi
“To me, empowerment comes from being inspired by people’s stories and the lessons learned in their experiences and how they deal with issues or problems — it’s not success or achievement in a conventional sense. For example, I recently listened to a friend tell me about how she’s dealing with an illness on an everyday basis and I found strength and inspiration in her story. It’s about spreading honesty and love, being real to yourself and real to others. Empowerment is about spreading realness.”
“It’s not about conquering the world, it’s about women being good to each other and supporting each other. So many women tend to be negative and put each other down. Women have such strength, vision, and focus — we can handle giving birth. We need to work together and stick together.”
Sunglasses, Dhs650, Oakley at Magrabi
“Female empowerment means granting women the freedom to make life choices and setting an example to ‘become.’ There is no such thing as ‘I can’t’ because I’m a woman. The only thing standing between yourself and a goal is you.”
“Women have a vital role in environmental management and development — their full participation is therefore essential to sustainability. This can only happen with the collective efforts of women supporting each other, encouraging and being there for one another, and lifting each other up in the process.”
Sunglasses, Dhs1,460, Miu Miu at Magrabi
Tamara Al Gabbani
“It means not relying or expecting anything from anyone but yourself and helping other women along the way. Be your own hero.”
“In our region specifically, we are seeing substantial growth in both education and employment as well as entrepreneurship. In my opinion, education is the key to a ‘self-empowered’ life. An empowered woman is a woman with choices and the freedom to make those choices for herself. Attitudes and expectations of women are also changing quite rapidly, which is giving women the space to fulfil their potential. The future for women is progressive and promising, and I am grateful to be a part of this transformational generation.”
Together with Magrabi
Creative Lead: Laura Souhaid, Fiona Akle
Director: Cherine Khoury
Producer: Raja Zgheib
Director of Photography: Karim Ghorayeb
Wardrobe Stylist: Amine Jreissati
Photographer: Sandra Chidiac
Production Designer: Rawan Bazerji
Drone Operator: Christian Ghammachi
Head Editor: Maria Malek
Colourist: Belal Hibri
Extra Cast: Zena Farhat, Karma Salman, Diana El Halabi and Maya Akiki