I read several things this week that really kept me thinking. One was an infographic from Karima-Catherine Goundiam on Women and Mentoring in the U.S. , the other a post by Gini Dietrich “Women Are Our Own Worst Enemies.” First, I send a #TiaraTip to both of these ladies, it's like a #HatTip but more sparkly.
Why, as women, are we running faster and working harder to get ahead in the world or more appropriately just to get equal ground? Betty Friedan wrote “The Feminine Mystique in 1963. She began the book with “the problem that has no name” ~ the widespread unhappiness of women in the 1950's and 1960's. This powerful piece of literature sparked the second-wave feminism which addressed de facto inequalities, official legal inequalities and more. The first-wave feminism addressed legal rights for women to vote and own property.
“Men are not the enemy, but the fellow victims. The real enemy is women's denigration of themselves.”
― Betty Friedan
Why do women tear each other down instead of boosting and building each other up? When I had my first job at a bank years ago, I got promoted fairly quickly to the Secretary (yes, that was my title) to the Vice President of Something. The older women in the department had the opportunity to teach me and help a fellow woman be successful but that isn't what happened at all. Instead, I learned that even as grown adults, women will talk behind your back and look at confidential information on your desk. Lesson learned.
Another fabulous job at Merrill Lynch, super mean female supervisor and a host of sexual harassment from brokers who were the rain makers. Cornered in the cubicle by a post martini lunch, million dollar producer? “We'll talk to him and he won't bother you anymore Pegatha.” That was my nickname by the VP and Branch Manager. This was in the days before the sexual harassment laws and as a girl in your twenties, you just could not stand up “to the man.” Even today, with all the laws in place, women are raked through the coals if they speak up, they might get a settlement but another job? I don't know. Yes, I could have quit but I made decent money and yes, I moved on eventually. Lesson learned.
Much has been said about men taking over and dominating Google +, including this post by Margie Clayman “Is Google Plus a Men's Club?” But I would assert that this is throughout the social media and blogging world. Are we giving the men the upper hand? Why after all this time do women still earn 20% less than men?
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt
Our “Mean Girls” culture has continued into adulthood and is being amplified in social media. From Rosalind Wiseman, author of Odd Girl Out, “Social media may magnify emotions and facilitate cruelty, but it does not ‘make’ girls act a particular way.” Even in writing this, in the back of my mind I think, will someone just think I am an over-the-top feminist? My internal monologue tells me not to say it but this is another way that women hurt ourselves by withholding our opinions lest we be judged as a bitch.
Take back the power that we are so freely handing over! Mentor another woman, compliment someone on a job well done and give each other the props we deserve! Be supportive and help each other ~ be positive and encouraging from the heart. It is not a” if I help you, I won't be successful choice” – there are plenty of pieces of pie.
And if I want to be a sparkly, girlie-girl. So be it. It does NOT make me less intelligent or valid. I am who I am. I can still kick ass and take names. And I like me.
Question for you: How are we going to equal things out ladies? Love some thoughts from the men as well.
Some recommended reading:
Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons
Queen Bees and Wannabees: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman ~ The movie “Mean Girls” was based on this book and Wiseman's research.
Sidenote: Do you prefer the Pondering post format with thoughts from others as well as me? If have had people voice both opinions, what do you want to see here?
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Photo credit by nojhan via Creative Commons.