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  • gratia plena

    Jane WurwandFor those of you not familiar with the “Ave Maria,” this line above means “full of grace” in Latin. It refers to a powerful woman.

    The Latin root gives rise to the word “plenary,” as in plenary session. Wikipedia has this to say about the word plenary:

    “Plenary power in US law

    In United States constitutional law, plenary power is a power that has been granted to a body in absolute terms, with no review of, or limitations upon, the exercise of the power. The assignment of a plenary power to one body divests all other bodies from the right to exercise that power.”

    I really love the sound of this.

    As part of the recent Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York City, I participated in the girl’s and women’s empowerment “plenary,” introduced by Hillary Clinton. During the session, we viewed the famous youtube clip from NIKE, “Girl Effect 2.0.” (girleffect.org, and see the youtube clip at: youtube.com/watch?v=WIvmE4_KMNw).

    Goddess NikeIf you haven’t seen the clip, find it online. It really resonates with Dermalogica’s cause, FITE. The basic premise is that the solution to world poverty begins with a girl, and that all are valuable. Even girls. I say “even girls” because in many places, girls truly are considered expendable. Less valuable than, say a water-buffalo, or maybe a new flat-screen TV or a cell phone. And, consider that there are an estimated 600 million girls in the developing world.

    As the NIKE spot comments, “It’s no big deal. Just the future of humanity.” Let’s remember that the NIKE company is named for the ancient Greek goddess of victory, who presided not only in war, but in every sort of competition. Her winged presence (and she was notoriously whimsical in passing out the laurel wreaths) was required to win at anything. You can see her hovering above battle scenes and athletic events on classical urns and coins — events where macho men did a whole lot of crowing about how great and powerful and heroic they were. Their successes and losses were actually determined by a fickle goddess. You have to love those old Greeks for their dry sense of humor, really.

    Life does seem capricious. But with FITE, we’re not leaving the power of girls and women –and thus the whole world — in anyone else’s hands other than our own. We want to (see above) “divest all other bodies from the right to exercise that power.” I do like knowing, however, that Nike was a she.

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