By Camille Aubin
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For the past two weeks, mild temperatures have warmed the Columbia Valley. The smell of barbecue pervades the streets, people are outside taking long, sunny walks topping up on vitamin D, the lake is thawing and the trees are already starting to prepare for the upcoming summer.

While we are swapping our wool knit wear for lighter clothes, our winter coats for the little down vests and our big boots for more comfortable shoes, we ought to remember we are only in mid-March, and winter may, if it so chooses, hit us with another two to three storms, whether we like it or not! Local stores undergoing their own changes by putting away their winter products and getting out the spring one before next season knocks on our door.

Keeping in mind the theme of International Women’s Day, which is still generating media headlines this week, maybe our businesses and stores in the valley could support this movement by making better representations of women in their storefront. The giant posters of perfectly modified women in bikinis would be gone. Instead, maybe we could trade these images for natural women (not digitally altered by filters or software such as Photoshop)?

Many women like to pay special attention to their looks, their clothes and makeup. This is no problem at all! Many women will tell you that it’s an opportunity for them to exercise their creativity and bring out their personalities. Certainly there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem comes when woman are represented only through their looks, clothes and makeup. 

There is so much more to women than fashion and aesthetics, and younger girls need to be aware of this. We ought to give young girls and women the chance to have daring role models that go beyond the norms and traditional comfort zone. Let them see the infinity of possibilities that they can become.

And if women in bikinis are still a must for you, why not take the opportunity to feature a woman on a paddleboard or fishing — strong-willed, confident women actively participating in sports. If you truly feel women in bikinis are an integral part of an advertising campaign, surely it’s a reasonable compromise to at least depict them as capable athletic participants.

Helping young girls and women to feel amazing about themselves requires a better representation of women in their diversity and passions. Be part of the solution and display on your advertising boards and your storefronts women for what they are rather than only what they look like.