This post was originally shared on March 22, 2015.
a)"Grow a pair!"
c)"Stop being such a pussy"
d)"Man up, ya girl!"
This post isn't in any way nixing or devaluing the lovely gentlemen who read this each week and consistently take notes on "The Woo-ing Guide to Millennial Women", as I'm sure many of them do, (I'm brilliant at coaching men on dating women, as long as that woman isn't me), but more importantly a study on motivational words of encouragement in gender relations. Wow, that sounds like a paper I would write if I had chosen the grad school route. Don't worry, I wont MLA cite anything, I promise to add a few witty side comments and maybe a few words a sailor might choose while drifting in the ocean waves.
In recent weeks, while doing a complete 180 switch in the employment demographics department, I've noticed significant changes in the ways of gender relations. While being part of the 20-25% of women in my office, similar to many other "Corporate American Workplace" offices, it's been an interesting educational study to see how we interact differently due to gender, and how we relate differently assigning, accepting, motivating and addressing certain tasks at hand. The comments listed above shouldn't shock anyone reading this, and this in no means has been a reflection of my current employment, but has raised the voice of the empowered woman within me to speak her mind.
a) I can't "grow a pair"...#sorrynotsorry I wouldn't even try to as they seem to just get in the way and be bothersome....like some men I know. Hmm... there might be a correlation here.
b) If you mean "grab my purse" in regards to "sack up", sure! I've got all sorts of wonderful things in this mystery bag, and you don't bother asking for something!
c) That word should be banned only because it sounds gross and cats are evil.....sorry, my dear cat friends. It's not you or them, it's 100% me.
d) I will if you will!!!
I find that these gender specific comments are trying to emulate a type of person in general, a strong, confident person, ready to be challenged while challenging others, not necessarily one with huge, gigantic balls... which just sounds mostly uncomfortable and not super attractive. While it focuses on the lack of "manhood" most women don't possess, I say "most" because I don't know your life, I've chosen to interpret the kind of person I am trying to be. I don't think it matters what you have going on below your drawers, but what goes on in your head and your heart.
I look around me at the people who have inspired and influenced me throughout my life, women and men alike who taught me to stand up for my beliefs, to think before I speak but to speak with strength, poise, and confidence while keeping true to my wit and humor, to allow passion to drive my decisions and follow through with what I love. My mother, a woman with vigor, strength, confidence, laughter, hope, and love, has raised me to stand tall in who I am, to accept what life throws at me and push forward with my head up to the sun. Stories of her growth as a woman through our country's struggles, battling wars of hatred, religion, power, greed, racism and gender, has built a warrior with a smile. She views a situation from all angles, accesses the damage and soldiers through in action, spreading encouragement and hope as she continues on. Olivia Pope has nothing on Momma Jane.
Watching my mother "play with the big boys", while fighting for equal pay and general validation as a woman, taught me that while you may have to fight for your voice to be heard, once your voice is heard, make sure you have the right message. Don't just yell to yell, don't fight just to fight, stand tall in your shoes and speak your mind with confidence. It's one thing to demand the attention, but it's what you do when you have it that makes all the difference.
The world we live in has made it difficult to be powerful, confident in who we are. We spend thousands of dollars trying to show wealth, beauty and allure, instead of looking within ourselves to what has been provided but needs to be found and surfaced. Our "Millennial" generation is focused on the constant "one-up", pushing to be better, faster, stronger Kanye-delusion in which we are consistently chasing a dream that doesn't exist or a dream that is unavailable. While I'm grateful to the world for allowing us to be the dreamers, at what cost will it end up breaking us before we get a taste of the clouds?
We constantly judge others for not meeting us pace for pace, or infuriate with words of hatred instead of encourage with words of motivation. It's always, "look what I have that you don't" instead of "do you want some? Here." It's taken me the past few years to feel grounded in my boots, strong in my morals, beliefs and confident that I make the choices I do for me, and not for anyone else or to match up with anyone else. Honestly, I'm at the point that I don't give a flying fuck if you don't agree with me on something that I'm passionate about and I'm not going to waste my life trying to get you on my side. We all have our own creeds, (not like the band...yuck), so speak to that. Challenge one another to find their true selves. Challenge them to stand strong in their decisions. Challenge them to be confident that their voice matters because it is their own, not anyone else's.
If "Man-ing up"(not in any relation to Peyton or Eli, well maybe Peyton a little because he's the cooler one. #sorrynotsorry) reflected a movement in which we can unite as members of a generation who were fearless, strong warriors with the ability to preach love and kindness, instead of hatred and confusion, then sure, "Man-up", but somehow I don't want to live in a world where just because you've got a different downstairs business, means you have the power. For the women who fought for equal rights, who continue to fight for equal pay and the daughters we bring into this world dreaming of a beautiful future of opportunity, stand strong! That's what will get you to where you need to be. Even if your knee's are shaking, and your heart is racing and the words just don't seem to come out right, stand strong! We are stronger than we will ever know!