Standing at the checkout line, Sierra Sullivan's spirits sagged as she looked at the women's magazines on rack.
The headlines told women to do things like lose weight, hide their wrinkles, update their wardrobes.
Where, Sullivan wondered, were the magazines telling women they were OK the way they were?
It turned into a mission. She looked all over for a positive women's magazine. Finding none, Sullivan had an idea.
She would start her own.
The RAY started as an e-zine and grew into a full-color, glossy magazine. Perhaps more importantly, it was Sullivan's first step in embracing what she calls the modern women's movement. This week, she took another huge step in that direction, launching the inaugural Saratoga Women's Fest in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. The opening ceremonies were held on Tuesday, March 8. There will be closing ceremonies on March 27. In between, there will be lectures, movies and workshops, all aimed at spreading the ideal of "self-love."
The idea is deeper than just rallying women for a month, though. Sullivan and other organizers hope the festival will spur lasting change in both big and small ways.
"We hope to inspire women," said Celeste Caruso. She pointed to her own work with Sustainable Saratoga, an organization that promotes economic and environmentally sustainable practices. She hopes women who take part in the festival will be moved to tackle topics like the environment, create stronger bonds with their families, and to love and nourish their bodies.
Caruso acknowledged that it "sounds very lofty and grandiose." But having been an active participant in the first women's movement in the '60s, Caruso thinks it's an important time for women to re-evaluate, to "become more like women."
That's a common theme of the festival. In fact, while the first women's movement may have been centered on giving women choices " the choice to have a career, to have a family, to do both " it created a lot of anger, said Lin Murphy, another festival organizer. This time around, the movement is "more loving and inclusive," she said.