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International Women’s Day Q&A: Zena Battersby

The fantastic  Zena Battersby of I‘m Not Old I’m Retro, answers our International Women’s Day questions >>>

What do I think it means to be a woman today?

For me I think it’s about being supportive of other women. I have seen a huge shift in attitudes between women some good some bad. You have to be thick skinned especially where social media is concerned. It’s very easy for it to become a negative space. I think we can get swept up in the idea that we can have and do everything when in reality its ok to say ‘actually no, I know my limits’ and that shouldn’t be a shameful thing. It’s about doing you. Not comparing yourself to anyone else and finding your tribe and enjoying whatever makes you happy. Pass on everything you’ve leant so far to you daughter about how to be the strongest kindest woman and Educate your sons on how to be respectful towards women. Such an important lesson to teach.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing women your age today?

The limits of age have changed. You’re no longer on the shelf or the scrapheap at 40. Women are working through their 20’ and 30’s and building their empires. They are having children at an older age and are able to enjoy them. Fashion and media especially is championing women who at 40 are at the peak of their attractiveness and confidence. You know yourself, probably at about 40. I had my daughter at 19 and she is 25 married with 2 children of her own! (Yes I’m a grandma) And my husband had his daughter at around the same age so we are footloose and fancy free at 44 and 45! We are like a couple of teenagers! I was a very confident teenager then my life and choices in men took a nosedive and it affects you.  I brought my daughter up and did my best with the love and support of my mum Gran sister and my sisters best friend (who was also my house mate.) Together we raised my daughter I know each woman imparted their knowledge and my daughter has grown into a beautiful sassy and funny young woman and I credit all the women in my life to making her the woman she is.

Most of us have been through a lot by the time we are 40. So in all honestly I think its confidence that is the biggest issue for a lot of women my age. Whether its confidence in our looks and body image, our parenting, work life balance it all affects our confidence.

Who are your most inspirational female icons, and why?

There are many female icons in the film industry right now whose braveness has astounded me. These women have put literally their lives on the line to come forward and tell their truth and their experience of what I remember to be ‘The casting couch’ I’m in total awe of these women risking their jobs, reputations and privacy to bring the people who were responsible and complicit to the attention of us all. They are the women I admire the most.

What advice would you give to young women growing up in today’s society?

Stop comparing yourself to other women it’s a fast track to misery! We are all so different and everyone has flaws and quiet often they are the things that make us beautiful. What we are conditioned to think men like is very far from the truth! Stop worrying about what men like.  Don’t drunk dial/text/or instagram! Always be wary of a woman who has no girlfriends. Stay away from anyone like ‘muggy mike’!!! Instagram is not real life, Be a lady!

Finally, what is your personal motto/mantra?

I have a couple actually!!

You can’t polish a turd but you can roll it in glitter!

Don’t complain of getting old it’s a privilege denied to so many.

Blowing out someone else’s candle wont make yours shine any brighter!



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