I consider myself a modern-day feminist. By that I mean that I shave the places that society deems should be hairless on women, I wear a bra – and sometimes it’s a push-up, I like to look and feel pretty which I accomplish by applying makeup, and I work out – partially for my health, but partially because I want to stay thin because I “should” be. Catch my drift? However, I also believe in women’s rights and that we should be treated as equals. I idolize strong females and I look up to successful, self-sufficient women.
A few months ago I read Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In,” which is basically a book about how we need more strong women in the workforce. I believe in Sheryl’s cause and I am proud to consider myself “part of the change” by being a young female that is in a considerably high position within a growing corporation. With that being said, I took a step back yesterday and realized that maybe I’m not as much a part of the change as I thought.
One of the media offices I work within is hiring a new person for a role in the customer service department and yesterday they were conducting interviews. As young girl after young girl came in and made their way to the interview room, the women within the office grew more and more uneasy. There was constant whispering about their age, their appearance, and the way they dressed. “Did you see the Carrie Underwood?” was a comment I heard. “You hire them and then they go and get pregnant” was another.
I am ashamed to admit I found myself partaking in their gossip.
“But I’m supposed to be the young one!” I joked. (News flash sweetheart, you’ll never stay the young one forever.) I found myself pre-judging these girls and thinking “God, they barely look like they’re out of high school. The office need someone who’s looking for a career, someone who will take their role seriously.”
Really Danielle? Honestly?
I mean, who am I to judge? A young girl myself, I am proud to say that I started just above entry-level and I am now supervising two provinces. I don’t have a “prestigious” education, and I don’t have years of industry experience – I have raw talent, a strong work ethic and a desire to succeed. What makes me any different from these potential new hires? Maybe they have hopes and dreams surrounding this industry too. Maybe not, but who am I to judge?
What sickened me most is that I am such an advocate of strong females and I want to one day be someone who young girls look up to. But how can I when I am just as bad as the rest of society? When I immediately look down on girls that are trying to make a career for themselves. Nice work Danielle.
I hope one of those young girls gets hired and gets a chance to prove herself. And if that happens, I hope she works hard and changes the minds of all of those that doubted her, myself included. I hope she doesn’t keep the stigma alive surrounding women, specifically young women, in the workplace. And if she doesn’t get hired, I hope that she finds a workplace that doesn’t judge her based on her age, gender, level of attractiveness, clothing style, and all the other things that women get judged for.
As for myself? I will make it my mission to change my instincts and to avoid following along with what society has made the norm – that women are allowed to be catty to other women. After all, how are we to come together and fight for our ongoing battle of anti-sexism if we won’t even support one another?
“I’ve often thought it unfair that women are expected to stay at home when there’s a fight to be won. If a woman has the strength to bear a child, she can swing a sword as well as any man.” ― Karen Hawkins, How to Abduct a Highland Lord