Reverse Hypocrisy 

Though I never affixed the badge to my lapel, I used to be a “feminist”. Well, sort of. I believe in “girl power”.  I subscribe to the proven fact that women can and do offer a professional quality of work and skill equivalent to our male counterparts.  In some instances our knowledge and deliverables are unmatched to our male colleagues.  Yes, we women can give birth, care for our babies, our man, our homes, ourselves and everything else without skipping a beat in the workplace.  

The reason that prompted this post was a story on the Internet about an “all woman” screening of the upcoming Wonder Woman movie.  Normally, a story or event (innocent enough), would never give me reason to pause. Yet this one did.  

Thinking back to how or why the Feminist Movement began, wasn’t breaking up the “old boys club”, chief among the mission critical objectives of there brave group of women? If this is true, then why the need for a female-only screening of a movie? Now, let me clarify, I am not saying or even suggesting that the female-only screening was organized by feminists. In fact, the screening could have very well been organized by or with the key contributions of men.   I have no idea, honestly.  Again, this post is not an endorsement or indictment about feminism or feminists.  The story was a springboard for a larger conversation that I wanted to have about examples that  I perceive as reverse hypocrisy.   So with that, let’s move away from the topic of feminism, shall we? ūüôā 

The blurb also had me thinking about another personal observation around women supporting other women.  Namely in the workplace as well as in other professional settings. We women have worked hard to break the proverbial glass ceilings that were and still are very real for many of us.  Again, we have proven that we excel in support roles as well as in leadership positions.  However, in my opinion, once some of us arrive in these key positions, how many of us forget where we came from?

How many us actively seek out another woman or women to mentor? How many of us were promoted by another woman and how often? Which yields a much broader and perhaps confrontational question: What is the point of being a successful woman who has worked her way to the top, only to remain the “only female (fill in the position title)” in the department or organization at the top? Moreover, if you are a woman with decision making authority or influence; you interview qualified males and females, do you seemingly find that more often than not, the male candidate was more qualified than his female peers? Are we more critical of another woman’s qualifications or experience and assess them against our own? Why do some of us feel that we “broke the mold” and therefore find it difficult to identify other female talent because no one adequately measures up? 

These are difficult questions which will likely yield responses that are often labor intensive to authenticate and discern. I also believe that there are no absolutes.  

And for the record, it is not my personal experience that women managers or decision makers are any less objective, or are significantly harsher critics than her male peers.   Most women bring a natural level of empathy, individual consideration, and compassion to interviews and overall candidate assessments.  Furthermore, the majority of women do not forget or have not forgotten where we have come from in our respective career paths.  We have maintained high personal and corporate standards that through experience, we have become experts on what works and what doesn’t.  And the last thing that any legitimate, qualified individual contributor or business person wants it to have his or her hard work diminished or marginalized by anyone.  Male or female.  Personally, I don’t want to be “given” any position or promotion that I did not legitimately earn through my experience and ability to perform the job well. The women in my professional and personal circle share these sentiments.  

Thus, this post is not intended to make an argument to hire more women versus men on the sole premise of gender entitlement. Or reverse hypocrisy.  My point is to collectively strive for a level playing field where all qualified candidates (regardless of gender) have an equal opportunity to excel.  

As a professional woman, I concede that I must do more. I should be mentoring more women.  I should be providing more resources and coaching to support women who want to advance in life and in business.  I do not profess to be omniscient however, I can and should do more to help more women succeed. The latter point is not intended to exclude men; or by my definition qualify as reverse hypocrisy.   It is a statement founded in my own observation that has observed a legitimate opportunity to empower more women to reach her intended career goals. 

At the end of the day it’s about who is best qualified and which applicants experience and skill sets most closely match the key responsibilities of a position. My goal is to provide constructive insight and feedback to any candidate (regardless of gender), who solicits such information post interview.   

As a society we should not become what we hate.  If you despise discrimination or racism, do not perpetuate a mindset of divisiveness and actively engage in actions that directly oppress and marginalize another ethnic group (or gender) in favor of your own.   It is possible to maintain a healthy sense of pride in one’s heritage, culture, gender, religion, values and personal choices without infringing on another’s inalienable rights or freedom of expression. 

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Labor pains-giving birth to my dreams 

Though I’ve never been pregnant, I’ve gone through several periods of gestation followed by intense labor pains.  Like most women who have given birth unanimously comment afterward, I quickly forget about the strenuous pushing; intense discomfort and stress once I have given birth. In my case, once I have given birth to a Dream. 

I have given birth to many dreams in my life.  However each time I’ve been pregnant with those dreams, I forget about the process of giving life to those dreams.  As a result, every dream is akin to a first-time pregnancy in which I forget about everything I learned from each previous experience. Thus, I get caught up in the process or the journey of bringing a dream into fruition.  I lament that it takes too long. Why aren’t things going my way? Why am I in so much pain? Why do I feel so alone? This is too hard! Am I really ready for my life to change once this dream is realized? What if I am not good enough to support this dream? What if I fail? Do I really want this dream or am I just infatuated with the idea of it? I panic and start convincing myself that I am not ready. 

I am not ready! WAIT!!! Please wait. Que consecutive contractions that intensify by the second. 

It doesn’t matter now Stephanie whether you are ready. It is time.  

Here I am in labor again. The stakes are even higher than the last time.  I am acutely aware of the other dreams that have been granted. Their continued survival is dependent upon me making smart choices today and moving forward.  I must resist the impulse of emotional decisions.  I have to make moves in a mature way. Which often reads as safe.  To do nothing.  To stop conceiving big dreams. To opt for the safer ones. The smaller dreams.   The ones where people are more likely to accept those dreams versus the so-called grandiose dream or dreams that God has given me. 

It’s like when you already have multiple children and you share that you’re thinking of having more.  The look of disdain or shock is enough to make the most confident woman second guess herself.  The same is often true when you already appear abundantly blessed to friends, family, and other onlookers, when you boldly share that you dare to desire “more”. MORE?! 

Since when is greed on par with healthy ambition or divine Purpose? And who gets to decide between the two for you or for me? 

What I am learning is everyone cannot comprehend your life’s manifest destiny.   You also have to remember to keep your eyes on your own paper.  Just because the people around you are content with what they have, doesn’t mean that you are compelled to adopt this mindset for yourself.  Just because someone whom you love, admire, or respect is satisfied being the CEO of a company, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strive to be the president or the chairperson of the company-if this is what you really want.  

On the highway of life, sometimes you have to stop following the car ahead of you.  Sometimes the car ahead is going too slow or too fast. It has guided you to the point or destination that it was supposed to. The time has now come for you to change lanes; sometimes you must safely pass and continue your own way.  The people who genuinely have your best interest at heart will understand the vital necessity of when paths must splinter off towards individual expression.  Others may not be able to completely support you with their presence; they may have to love you from a distance. Or you must learn to love them from a distance and move forward.  

I’m in labor.  I will give birth to this unique dream or dreams conceived by my desire.  I will practice my breathing techniques. I will give my voice and sound to frustration when necessary.  I will grab hold of anything in sight to support me as the occasional discomfort sets into my body.  I will accept that I don’t know how everything will work out; I just know that it will.  It always has.  I accept that I’m not in control of every detail of the process.  I will respect the process. I will acknowledge doubt and despair however I will not yield to anything but the inalienable truth about me and my life.   I am never alone.  I am success.  I am prosperity, health and happiness.  Everything will be just fine.  

I will give birth to as many dreams as possible without guilt and without asking for anyone’s permission.