Yesterday, I spent the afternoon empowering and showing confidence to a group of 75 smart, hard-working women. What is even more pathetic is that men never suffer from the same doubts and fears that women do. No matter where you were or what obstacles you overcame to get to this point, it is still an uphill battle that never seems to end. It seems as if we will never get to the top.
I understand completely.
As I mentioned in my presentation, I shared how even the vocabulary used today doesn’t help (although I have to believe that is the intention) us either. Instead, it just focuses on what women haven’t done yet or how far we are still behind men.
For example, when a woman is promoted to run a Fortune 500 company, usually what follows her name is, “the 12th woman to lead a Fortune 500 company.” But that is never used to describe a man who has taken on the same role in another company. Why? Because we don’t need to know that this man is “the 4,000th man to run a Fortune 500 company.”
Every time the media uses terms like the above, they are just reminded us that we have a long way to go. Why do we need to keep track of how many women there are running companies?
And yet this verbiage occurs more than we realize and we pretend it doesn’t mean anything.
A few months ago, I heard an advertisement for a local plastic surgeon promoting his new makeover — it is called the “Mommy makeover.” Immediately, I was offended and pissed off. I am just being hones. Why should being a mom need a makeover? Does that imply that women who are not moms should not have plastic surgery or is there another “makeover” that is better for them?
Come on! Really?
Because I was feeling a little sarcastic, I wrote this…
Needless to say, I did not hear this office sharing any kind of makeover that involved a “daddy” makeover either.
But what does that tell us? How do statements like the above and the words we use impact the self-image that not only women have about themselves, but the impact it leaves with the girls who are still trying to figure out who they are?
I wonder if this plastic surgeon has daughters and how they might feel about themselves knowing they need a makeover just because they gave birth. I am not opposed to improving one’s self-image through whatever means one deems appropriate, but don’t attach a label to it.
A woman’s self-image is already tattered and torn and every day, we fight to rectify the damage that has been and is continuing to be done. After years of questioning our own self-worth and yearning to prove ourselves, we have to find ways to change not only they way to talk about ourselves, but the way we talk about one another.
We cannot do this alone. It will take an army of sisters to give support as we use our voices and stake claim to our wants, our goals, and our ambitions.
There is no time to waste if we are to prepare the next generation to be ready for this kind of fight. Don’t get me wrong — I love a great challenge, but let’s not make it harder than it already is.
This fight is one worth fighting and we owe it to ourselves to change that which should be changed. Some might say that it is impossible battle to win and they may be right. But I say that[bctt tweet=”Fighting the good fight is with tenacity and courage is better than rolling over and playing dead. “]
Change is always difficult in the beginning, but as we take more steps in the direction we are going, our momentum and enthusiasm will begin to increase.
We can express the same thoughts without using labels to discriminate against women. We can encourage the individuality of women, no matter their size or level of achievement in business. And that is just the beginning.
How will YOU make a difference in the fight to change the way women see themselves and the way the world sees them?
- Will you partner with groups that are working feverishly to change the way women view themselves?
- Will you give of your skills and talents to mentor other women who seek a change in themselves?
- Will you talk to young girls about the challenges they may face as they age and how to feel empowered, regardless of how the world views them?
- Will you express your opinion honestly when asked for it?
- Will you stand up, even if you stand alone, to show people who you are and what you fight for?
I implore you to do something to make the self-image of women better than it already is now. I hate to think that it could actually get worse, but as it is, we have a lot of ground to make up. So, let’s get started. Right now.
Michelle A. Homme 2015 ©