You don't name a brand Puissante without taking inspiration from numerous women, both illustrious and anonymous, who have paved the way for female emancipation . Let's meet four profiles who have marked the history of sexual liberation and gender equality . Their stories, their triumphs and their determination have revolutionized our perceptions, opened horizons and inspired generations. Ready to meet them?
Betty Dodson: The Explorer of Female Pleasure
Let us introduce you to Betty Dodson, one of our favorite sex-positive figures. 🤩
Born on August 24, 1929, she is a pioneer in the exploration of female pleasure. Initially an erotic artist , she quickly devoted herself to the study of sexuality and the female orgasm.
In the 1970s, she organized workshops for women to help them connect to their own bodies , break taboos surrounding sexuality and reclaim their desire. In her Manhattan apartment, she invited participants to observe themselves , demonstrating that vulvas come in different shapes, sizes and colors.
Her iconic book, “Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving,” published in 1987, continued to inspire generations of women to embrace their sexuality and sensuality. 👏
According to Dodson, female masturbation is a form of self-care because it puts the brain in a meditative state. A revolutionary idea that struck a chord with many of us, including our founder Marie. With Coco , Toupie and Chouchou , she advocates an approach to well-being and self-love through masturbation.
Gloria Steinem: The Icon of Modern Feminism
Another favorite of Marie's: Gloria Steinem, an emblematic figure of the feminist movement since the 1960s. Born on March 25, 1934, she played a key role in the defense of women's rights and gender equality.
Her early career saw her break barriers as a journalist in a male-dominated field. She has notably written on issues related to women and questioned the relevance of the social injunctions that weigh on them. Steinem first gained fame with his investigation into working conditions at Hugh Hefner's Playboy Club. 📰
She then co-founded the magazine “Ms.” in 1972 to highlight feminist issues. Her satirical essay “If Men Could Menstruate” brilliantly inverted gender norms.
While pornography is becoming more democratic and finding a place in cinema. She strongly opposed the film Deep Throat starring Linda Lovelace . According to her, these films and magazines like Hustler are only a reflection of male domination where the woman continues to be an object serving the man's pleasure.
Steinem also co-founded the Women's Media Center with Jane Fonda to promote the representation of women in the media. 💪
His impact on the fight for equality is invaluable.
Ménie Grégoire: The reassuring voice of popular sexual liberation
After two portraits of American activists, it was time to place a French woman in our selection of powerful and inspiring women. 🇫🇷
Born on May 9, 1923 in Cholet, Ménie Grégoire left her mark on the landscape of sexual liberation in France. As a radio journalist and author, for 14 years she was a catalyst for changing mentalities by freeing people to speak out about female sexuality.
From 1967 to 1981, Ménie became the confidante of millions of women across France. With “Allô Ménie”, then “Sexual Responsibility” , she was able to offer them a platform where they could freely share their experiences, their concerns and their aspirations on subjects as taboo as sexuality, desire and relationships. Even though in 1967 the contraceptive pill was legalized on the market and in 1968 student revolts shook society, women were mostly stay-at-home mothers . Far from our image of sexual liberation from the seventies.
She herself said, “When I was doing my show, the man was often a bit of a bully and the woman was not at all informed .” Each show began with a letter from a woman as anonymous as it was personal. When she died in 2014, she bequeathed hundreds of carefully preserved letters to the Indre-et-Loire archives. 🙌
A trace of the reality of women in a period not so long ago when she could barely open a bank account in their name.
Waris Dirie: James Bond Girl and Activist
We end with a model with an extraordinary career. Waris Dirie was born in 1965 into a nomadic family in the Gallacaio region , in the Somali desert near the Ethiopian border. 🐪
His life was marked from a very young age by tragic experiences, notably genital mutilation at the age of 5 . It is a ritual practice still very present in certain regions of the world. Fleeing a forced marriage at 13 , she moved to London where she became a cleaner and then an employee at McDonald's.
Destiny ends up offering him an unexpected opportunity: the chance meeting with the famous photographer Terence Donovan, who hires him for the Pirelli calendar. This key moment opens the doors to the world of international modeling.
As she reaches heights in the fashion world, she chooses to share her story in interviews, sparking a wave of empathy and global awareness on the subject. Her gripping testimony led to her appointment as a UN goodwill ambassador in the fight against female genital mutilation in 1997.🇺🇳
Published in 1998, his autobiography Desert Flower co-written with Cathleen Miller became a bestseller with more than 11 million copies sold. It will give rise to the film of the same name ten years later.
In 2002, she founded her own organization, the Waris Dirie Foundation, dedicated to the fight against female genital mutilation.
Waris Dirie continues to raise awareness, educate and mobilize for the reproductive rights of women and girls around the world.
The legacies of these four women inspire us to celebrate our own power and work together for a future where every woman can live freely and own her pleasure. If we had to name one last woman who inspires us at Puissante, it would undoubtedly be Kakpotia Marie-Claire, founder and General Director of Les Orchidées Rouges. Since 2017, the association has been actively fighting against excision and we are proud to have it as a partner. ❤️