Remember that feeling you use to get in middle school. Constant anxiety of dressing the part, saying the right things, liking the right people. Fitting in and never drawing negative attention that would make you stand out?
Remember when it didn’t work. Because the game was rigged and just by being you and living your life you were judged. Your shoes weren’t good enough because your family couldn’t afford it or your skin too dark because well colorism is persistent. Your features ridiculed. Your feelings dismissed.
It’s a shame.
Remember promising to never make others feel that low? Now can you recall breaking that promise?…
We all do it…because the world is like a big middle school.
Maybe we do it as a twisted confidence boost. Maybe we do it to conceal our own flaws; whatever the case, shaming others who are different from us has become so engrained in our lives that even the most WOKE amongst us participates.
We shame “fat” people. Skinny people. We shame poor people and sometimes rich people. We shame people based on the hue of their skin. We shame women for EVERYFUCKINTHING. We shame people for just embracing themselves and having personalities.
I mean seriously, is there anything safe from shame?
I guess the answer to that would be conformity. It’s safe but it’s boring. Even those attempting to conform find that shame is usually dished out to those who have no control over their circumstances.
Dang, you gained weight. You’re so pretty for a dark skinned girl. It makes no sense to me why people choose to work a 9 to 5. You really need to eat more, you’re skin n bones. Women are so overly emotional. You wouldn’t catch me working at McDonalds. She’s pregnant again?! Oh girl you’re too sensitive…it’s just a joke.
We say these things to others. To ourselves and we write them off as passive comments. Saying “it’s a joke” when really it’s just a shame.
In my life, I’ve allowed other people’s shaming of me cause me to feel ashamed; from financial family background, to body type and facial features. The shame crept in.
It poisoned my confidence and social interactions. Slowly and fiercely I’ve been taking back that control and shining a light on SHAME.
Let’s think about the ways we shame others in our lives and actively try to be better.
This will be a series of topics broken down into individual posts that discuss specific shaming: body shaming, colorism, financial shaming, sexism…Share your story with LBF below.
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What I’ve discovered in my 28 years of life is that being head bitch doesn’t necessarily go to the female that’s the loudest or most charismatic. I should know. I’m a socially awkward introvert who has a knack for being assertive and creative. Being an alpha is not a skill you can imitate from being seen or being aggressive. It’s a natural part of who you are, but it comes with a price.
Today I wanna get uncomfortable and talk about how women have a BIG problem being led by other women.
Look I’m not one to perpetuate the views of cattiness or pettiness that the media places on women especially us melanin filled ones but it serves us nothing if we can’t admit that sexism isn’t only from men in the workplace or entrepreneurial world.
Leading women as a woman is a task not meant for the soft of heart.
Raise your hand if you consider yourself an alpha female; through your assertiveness and “get shit done” attitude, no matter where you go you’re always placed in positions of leadership. Often you even carve out your own unique place of leadership. You enjoy watching a project grow from a seed into fruition by your hands. You love learning and working with people because you always want to grow, adapt and reinvent yourself. You wash, rinse, and repeat your tried and true boss skills wherever you are because it’s that much a part of you.
Raise your hand if you’ve had women who should be rooting for you, valuing your insight, being your ally, and accepting your direction make you feel inadequate.
This is a first-hand experience I’ve had myself. There are so many women who’d rather take direction from a mediocre man than a strong woman. I want to explore why that is.
being an alpha who walks boldly on the landmine egos of men.
First things first,
If there are mediocre men then there are mediocre women.
I’m all for women empowerment and uplifting our gorgeous diversity but let’s be clear; we’ve all worked with a woman who played in the shadows, laughed at the bosses lame jokes to stroke his ego and played into stereotypes of the “delicate female nature” to get out of responsibilities. Then an alpha woman comes along and shakes things up.
She’s much less interested in being a part of the boys’ club than being a part of a true functioning team. She makes others around her either step their game up or remain mediocre. She’s a troublemaker by default. Shaking up an environment that is a comfort zone for many of her co-workers.
I’ve had many criticize my leadership simply because they weren’t used to a female being in charge of directing them. In honesty, it was also during a period of me learning the very thing I was helping to lead. I questioned whether I was fair; if I were empathetic, understanding. I questioned whether I was good enough. I questioned my brilliance and hard work all because others couldn’t handle leadership from someone with two breasts.
What allowed me to snap back to my sense was when I realized many of the ones talking weren’t doing. There’s a level of risk and reward that comes with taking initiative and I’m always stepping up. But then there are those who play in the shadows, do the bare minimum and complain. That’s a reality I’ve come to terms with.
The days of the Boys’ Club
With every job it always amazes me how so many of us are ready to step into the roles that men have laid out for us without question. Sometimes it’s unavoidable to do the job you were hired to do. Yet, there’s the underlining tone that men are the natural leaders. I don’t buy it. That mentality keeps women on the outside fogging up the windows of the boys’ club hoping one likes us enough to open the door.
Meanwhile, I say fuck the boys and their raggedy club. Let’s make our own. When you come into work with cramps from hell and are still expected to be thrice as good, the only one who can truly understand you is a woman. When the office bully interprets you non stop during your last meeting the only one who can relate will be a woman because she’s likely had the same experience.
Banding together doesn’t mean you have to agree on everything and it doesn’t even mean you have to like each other. There should be mutual respect for being two women navigating a man’s world. Other women should be your safe space but often the exact opposite is true.
Currently, I work with other alphas females. They are my safe space. There are certain things that only require a look for them to understand. Like being an alpha who walks boldly on the landmine egos of men. There’s comfort in our solidarity.
When two Alphas meet
Being an alpha female doesn’t always mean you’re always going to be in charge.
There’s a study that shows within any group there can only be one alpha…are you secure enough in yourself to relinquish control. I do it all the time. I assess if my assertiveness will be effective in accomplishing a task, I assess the maturity of the group I’m working within and I decide for myself whether stepping up or stepping aside is the best move. That’s boss shit. I have only recently met women who act as mentors in leading other women. I’ve watched the same situations play out in their alpha moments.
Resistance from women and no support from men. The truth is tough to handle that there can only be one alpha at a time so many of us get caught up in the ‘crabs in a barrel mentality;” afraid that our spot will be taken. It’s not true. There’s room for us all to be leaders we just can’t do it all at the same time. You lead me, I lead you. I lead in one way, you lead in another. That’s how this works.
How can we say we want equality when the women who make it to these positions of power don’t even have the support of the community they belong to? We’d be naive to think that men don’t see the discourse and capitalize on it. When’s the last time you’ve seen one of your male co-workers call out, talk negative about, or correct his male co-workers…I’ll wait.
The pressure to be perfect
In the world of working Alpha women, the pressure to be perfect is always prevalent. If the saying in the black community goes “you have to be twice as good to get half as far,” then imagine what that means for a black woman. Thrice as good!
When in a leadership position I find that there’s little to no room for anything less than perfection often deriving from other women. A mistake is seen as more a character flaw than a human trait. We place high expectations on the women who lead us because we usually have those for ourselves or we’re afraid that the bar has already been raised by her in a way we don’t care for living up to.
Therefore any mistake made is a sigh of relief. This is not ok. We should root for each other. Correct one another with GOOD intentions and protect in a way that sends a signal to others that though we are different, we’re still the same. Don’t mess with my sister. I’ve done this. Had the back of women who weren’t exactly helping the cause but also not deserving of the office bullying from men and women. When you understand that she in many ways IS you. Things change. If those around so openly and freely can bash this woman, what does that mean for you; the alpha who doubles a well-meaning trouble maker?
Lone Wolf with a Pact
Though I consider myself an alpha I don’t have naturally extroverted qualities many of you do. I also have no interest in the power struggles of spotlight and grandeur. Mostly I assert my point, then execute with or without the help of the pack.
The harmony created when strong women take turns leading each other is indescribable. It’s pure, it’s a vibe.
But it takes being on the same page to band together; it takes having the same mindset that you’re sisters in the workplace because believe me; men have their club and we are not allowed. My mental pact is that I will mentor, protect, support and correct women in any workplace or environment I enter. I will be the troublemaker if it means paving a way for the woman coming behind me.
Only compete with the last best version of yourself. That will ALWAYS be your lane. Incorporate all the new skills you’ve learned through working with others.
Your biggest adversary should be you, not another woman.
Hey Beautiful Women Builders! What have experiences been like working with other women? Are your an Alpha woman? Let’s Talk below! Like, Share and follow the Instagram @Lets_Build_Futures
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“This is for all the women who work with men that have egos bigger than their actions” -LETS BUILD
You clock in everyday ready to work. You’ve passed the stage where you want to prove yourself. Instead, you give yourself little speeches and pep talks to get you through an environment that is reluctant to make room for you. “You got this shit girl.” “You are so awesome, look what you created.” ‘Don’t let them see your weakness.” and my personal favorite “Calm down, don’t curse his ass out and lower your crown.”
In the mirror like…
The mental mantra we have to say each day just to make it through is insane and totally badass. While juggling the duties of your job you simultaneously juggle all the emotions that come with sexism in the workplace. You check anger and only assert yourself when necessary to get the job done. But you’re no wallflower and definitely nobody’s pushover so some days you go home a little defeated, exhausted and unappreciated.
This is for you girl, whether you are a working mom/wife or single woman navigated the treacherous rounds of “the boys club” everyday. Or ALL THE ABOVE! NEVER feel alone. Know there’s some woman across the world showing up for work prepared to defend her brilliant ideas, prepared to make her face stone when interrupted; Prepared to work 10 times as hard as her male counterparts for less. Here’s the truth, as a vibrant and black alpha female, I’ve experienced more sexism in my life than racism. Or at least the sexism is more overtly identified. And it rears its true colors like no other in the workforce. So, this is for all the women who work with men that have egos bigger than their actions.
Here he goes again. You just pitched or implemented another idea that you know is great. It improves areas addressed and even some unaddressed but he can’t take you having the spotlight; in fact, he’s the guy that never offers any suggestions or puts things into action but criticises every chance he gets. Now you have to decide whether to call him out on it or deflect for the sake of your sanity and the room. You know tit for tat never gets you anywhere. On good days it rolls off your back like water but on the not-so-hot days your right eyebrow goes up and before you know it your mouth has fired back defending your honor.
You don’t mind criticism when it’s constructive but Mondays filled with the unconstructive types are a bit much to ask of anyone. You hesitate to ask for help, because the condescending comments make your head ache and you question whether something is important enough to hamster wheel a conversation into motion. Yet, you voice your opinions, offer help and even improve things for the next woman to walk the halls of this boys club.
Working with Kanye’s Ego
Confidence goes a lonnnngg way and sometimes, that shit gets in the way. YOU, my darling, are knocked down a few pegs regardless of if you do right or wrong; being confident in yourself at work is a never-ending fight. Your male coworkers; however, have a separate issue. Many of them are praised regardless of their right or wrong and this feeds into not only their individual egos but the collective male egos that looms over your desk bragging about the latest whatever hoping to coax a compliant from you. YOU AIN’T GOT THE TIME. You don’t feed the egos that hover around you like aggressive ducks at a public park.
You don’t slap ass and say job well done. You only give credit when due and encouragement when needed; nothing more, nothing less. And you stand out from the BOYS club because of it.
65 Percent Annoyed
It isn’t just that we’re paid less because sometimes the pay scale is already set; the other issues are we get 65% of attention when we speak, 65% chance that credit and appreciation is given when due, 65% chance that someone will interrupt your valid point; 65% respected, 65% understanding when you make a mistake like any normal human; 65% chance of being taught something you don’t know with a condescending undertone; 65% chance that there’s an expectation put on you as a woman that’s not forced on your male coworkers like desk/computer work; 65% chance that even those who you considered male friends aren’t your allies in the workplace (If your allies aren’t willing to get tagged in the ring on your behalf then you should deeply consider if it’s worth doing it on theirs.) 65% chance that you have to deal with all this even outside of work, 65% chance that you will be dismissed when you bring up an issue; and a 100% possibility that your male counterparts will be the culprits that engage in, perpetuate, and don’t have to deal with all of these realities.
“The sexiest￼ part of sexism is that it breeds warriors from the adversity. Bad ass ones at that.”
Builders, Let’s Talk! What are some ways you combat sexism in the workplace? Comment and Share below.
You can also follow LETS BUILD on Instagram @lets_build_futures
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