I have made it a goal this year to jot down times in which I see gender inequalities or awesome feminism moments each month.
- Sitting in a weekly operations meeting with 25-30 people and realizing I am the only female manager in the room
- Asking for a raise, and getting one!
- Having two men enter my boss’ office and introduce themselves to him and ignore me completely
- Having my boss stop the conversation to introduce me 🙂
- Watching Trainwreck…ugh
- Attending a training for career development in my company and seeing an equal representation of men and women
- throughout the training the women spoke up more than the men in the room and commanded such a great presence… inspiring…
I have been so excited to have an evening alone to watch Trainwreck. I cannot tell you how often my husband and I sit down to watch a movie and how frustrated I become at the lack of choices with a female lead. I have heard great things about Amy Schummer and was excited to see a strong female story line.
Needless to say, I was SO disappointed. Without going into all of my detailed thoughts I wanted to throw out some of the questions that crossed my mind:
- Why is it that a woman who has chosen a life of carefree sexuality and some fun with drugs and alcohol is considered a “Trainwreck”
- Why is that when she finally meets the right guy she completely changes who she is for him?
- Why oh why does the movie end with her dressed up like a cheerleader prancing around?
- Need I mention in the beginning of the film that she makes a hilarious crack about cheerleaders losing women the right to vote
- Does the fact this film exists and I have the ability to share my thoughts and pick it a part show signs of progress in our society?
- OR was this just another stereotypical Hollywood movie where the woman is saved by love and changes for her man?
We’ve all done it… seen someone walking down the street and thought… “What is he/she wearing?” “Wow she is pretty.” “She/He could stand to lose some weight.” …and perhaps sometimes worse. More often than not, if we are with someone at the time, we share our criticisms. In doing so we are reinforcing an appearance standard and a norm of what is socially acceptable.
A few years back I made a resolution to stop commenting on the appearance of others. I watched a powerful documentary on Netflix called Miss Representation that talks about the portrayal of women in the media. Throughout the film they interview a series of young girls. The girls talk throughout the movie about bullying and the power of comments regarding appearance. At the end of the movie there are suggestions on how to take steps towards ending a cycle of unrealistic and unhealthy standards of beauty. One of their suggestions is to stop commenting on appearances. After finishing the film I decided it was time to make a change.
The start of 2016 marks 2 years since I have made a negative comment about someone’s apperance. When I first decided to stop talking about others, I remember feeling nervous (which is sad) because I had several friendships where that was often the topic of conversation. I was worried as to how I would redirect conversation without making anyone uncomfortable. In reality it was easier that I thought. It took me a couple of weeks (maybe a month) to consciously stop myself from saying something that I was thinking. I learnt that very quickly my desire to comment about others went away. I found myself having more meaningful conversations with friends and colleagues and overall feeling more positive. I also found that eventually I stopped thinking negative things about others. Finally, I found myself thinking far less negative things about myself and my own apperance. As someone who has struggled with self esteem and appearance issues off and on throughout life, I cannot tell you how liberating that feels.
Recently someone close to me told me that they made a similar resolution. I can only hope that my choice inspired them to make that change. On a larger scale I hope this post might inspire you to do the same.