Beyonce’ Sings My Thoughts

 

Sometimes my thoughts come out in Beyonce’s songs and I am not sure how that happens.  Most recently, her song Flawless, brashly and aggressively paints the picture of our twisted support of successful women.  Here are a few of the lyrics that were PG enough for me to post.

We teach girls to shrink themselves
To make themselves smaller
We say to girlsImage_woman_shame
“You can have ambition
But not too much
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful
Otherwise you will threaten the man”

Society wants women to be successful, but not so successful they outshine men, hmmm. We all know this.  We may not want to know this – but we do. We, ambitious women, know it before we are able to articulate it. Academic research, to a certain extent, confirms our instincts.  And a great blog post , written by Rebecca Ruiz earlier this year, confirms no one is immune to these cultural barriers, not even world famous celebrities like Taylor Swift.

With the actions of Kanye and other male chauvinist men aside, why are women, like me and you, not taking credit for our day-to-day accomplishments? Why do women not receive the necessary credit for their own success?  In a single word: Judgement.  We want the success, but the judgement is real and it hurts.  So we deflect the success and the credit to avoid the judgement.

I was sitting around visiting with friends when a woman shared with me that she does not ever mention the fact that she earned a law degree around her work peers because in her experience if she has mentioned it, she felt judged and almost shunned her for her higher education.  #ItsRealPeople #WomenJudgeWomen

How do we stop the judgement?  It starts with us! We must stop judging each other.  Here are two scenarios and I want you to see yourself listening in each conversation.

Scenario 1: You are in town for a couple days and decide to catch up with an old college girlfriend. When she talks about her career and the travel required for her job, how do you respond?  What questions come to mind to ask her or to further the conversation?  Admit it, you want to ask if she ever sees her children, or how her husband handles being home alone so much.  You may even ask, how do possibly get any rest?

Scenario 2: Have you ever sat across from a man who talked of his success and thought to ask him how his wife felt about having to be the sole parent while he traveled?   No, more likely, you thought, wow he must make great money.  I bet his wife and kids are set and don’t have to work.  That’s more “normal.”

I have been guilty of this for decades, and I am committed to stop judging.  I know women can succeed and they can accept the credit for their hard work, without feeling guilty.  Can you accept the credit for your accomplishments, degrees or salary?

When your children show great respect, take credit for great parenting!  When you are told what a great teacher you are, say thank you.  When you lead a team through the execution of a project that earns the company millions of dollars, accept the accolades.  When you earn a huge bonus – gloat.  🙂 Do not shrink yourself.

For our children and for all women who want to succeed after you, please take credit for your success. Little girls and young women need to see women who receive credit for their accomplishments.  Accept the credit, and the judgement for the evolution of our society.

Do it now.  Change begins with you and your time is now.  Steve Jobs has a quote I’d like to use to encourage an urgency. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Follow your heart.  Expect the judgement. Accept the credit. Create a legacy.  #successwithoutapology

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Kay,

    Thank you so much for the comment. I agree with you about this being culturally ingrained to a subconscious level. I experience prejudices so often and people don’t even realize it at the time.

    If you conduct a class on this topic or decide to put together a seminar at any time I would love to participate. I believe my life’s mission is to encourage women as they navigate the world of personal and professional success.

    You have been a great role model to your daughters and to many women in your career. There are so many women in this community who admire your strength and determination. You have touched students, athletes, and your peers along your career path without even seeing the reach of your influence. I can take radical steps and write this book and blog, in part, because of the women like you who got a little head start on me and refused to apologize for the positions, titles, and success they earned.

    Thanks again Kay!!!

    Like

  2. Excellent message, Rachel. It is so difficult to change this ingrained thinking and behavior, even if you have parents who tell you that you can do anything and be anything you want. My parents did this but media, other people in your life – teachers, friends and relatives unconsciously program girls and women to take a backseat, shut up and do what you are told. I believe you can’t make this change in our society’s belief system without being what some would call “radical or over the top”. And, we have to learn to NOT feel apologetic when we give our opinion, go our own way, and do what it takes to achieve success. I’ve actually thought of conducting a class where girls and women practice these skills and say the words and learn to control the feelings that come with them. Good post and love the direction of your blog!

    Like

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