My focus, like many other women’s, has been to promote the economic empowerment and build confidence for women. The stats on women who are subjugated to violence in its many forms, the in ability to receive equal compensation for work, and the lack of powerful, meaningful roles in government and big business are endless. We look to women for solutions to these problems. The solutions usually include work hard at being confident, work harder on becoming economically independent, and work harder still at putting any and all emotions aside in order to be taken seriously.
I seldom come into contact with men. It has been this way for most of my adult life. I work in the fashion industry, I went to school at what is almost an all girls school, The Fashion Institute of Technology, and I started a company which employs 99% women. I date men. I used to do it a lot but when I realized any drama in my life usually came from men, I put the brakes on.
I did what society told me to do. I built my confidence by continuing my education. I am now a professor trying to help other young women build theirs. I have been economically independent as an adult, for the most part… Shout out to Mom and Dad for giving me the occasional cash injection and moral support to jump up a rung or two on that ladder of life. Lastly, I’m passionate but not emotional. I’m calculated but not heartless. And most importantly I’m empathetic and not disassociated with the thoughts, feelings, and needs of others. I have found success not just in business and academia but also in the realization that accomplishing goals does not make you happy, finding new goals to become excited about makes me happy.
I’ve always been confused, perplexed by men. My studying of feminism and love over the past year has led me closer to understanding the struggles, constrains, and oppression men face in American society. From when I was born I was told I could be anything I wanted to be. I played sports, I got dirty, I set things on fire, I dissected nature, I played dress up, I loved makeup, I thought I was a princess who was going to be president. Most boys from age 5 are quiet quickly shoved into a box and told what is masculine and what they have to do or not do to be a “big boy”. Boys, for the most part, can not put on a dress and dance to madonna but not a problem if I put on a shiny glove and pretend to be Michael Jackson. Simultaneously men are compared to girls. If they can not be obedient, loyal, passive, and submissive like girls, especially in school, they are now marked as being disruptive, problem children or worst ADHD and given drugs in order to fall in line.
Each year of their life new pressures are put on boys to fit into that box. No crying, no emotions unless its anger, don’t share your feelings, stand tall and fight back, and lastly, most harmfully, women are weak. Most of the time this is not women are weak so you need to protect them but women are weak and you have the power. The best documentary I have seen lately on the typical male experience is The Mask You Live In. I’d LOVE to hear any opinions from this movie.
Finally society is not just talking about what women should do to avoid men’s wrath. The desire for soft skills instead of hard skills in the work place, collaboration not competition, and how improvement in working conditions and workers rights are the only way to retain loyal employees. So much more analysis and research must be conducted in order catch boys and men up to this new environment of communication, collaboration and empathy. As always women have to continue to be patient and understanding, I’m talking to myself mostly on that thought. Stay tuned for part 2.