I have been struggling with something I can’t quite name, but it is definitely there. When it most often rears itself into my undeniable notice of late is during commercials or sharing of the news through headlines, Facebook posts, or the like. I guess I would like to call it hostility and it is toward something you may not expect. The topic of those headlines and cultural leanings through advertisement is the encouragement for the women’s movement. The latest commercial talked about us blasting through stereotypes. I have seen several posts boasting of the first woman this and first woman that. It is still an applaudable moment because there are difficulties, hurdles, those women have faced. However, I think we have reached the point where the system has been re-defined. We have made it! In this country, we are accepted in many places where we’ve never been accepted before, and it is only a matter of time before first woman this and first woman that.
The hostility that governs me, I think I can explain, and please read this out because I mean to do more than clarify; I hope to boost traits you will need as a minority in your industry or just a minority in culture e.g. “I don’t know automotive; I’m just a girl.” We shouldn’t really get away with using that as much anymore. “I don’t know automotive because I never studied it.” At least that is what I would say about some computer operating systems. (I got this far on blogging from checking out self-help books.)
I am under the impression that in a lot of ways we–women–are the only thing standing in our way at this point. We have the potential to debilitate ourselves, leaning on old crutches, old assumptions when we have no other answer for why we did not perform well. Guys can say they never learned just as well as we can. However, women and men are decidedly different. Yet equal. Read Why Gender Matters By: Leonard Sax, or just look at my pregnant belly to know there are biological restrictions and abilities exclusive to each gender, and biology goes right down to hormones and activity in different lobes of the brain for men and women during certain tasks.
My husband helped me with the point last night when I mentioned my negative impression toward a commercial about shattering stereotypes. He acknowledged men are more aggressive. Our culture has changed from a tendency to punish for failure toward encouragement for learning. Punishment for failure still exists in male-dominated fields and can influence a woman’s chance of giving up, and this is where we need to change ourselves.
We should want the world to see us as more than a delicate flower which needs continuous nurturing from a loving sun and nutrient-rich soil. That sun can be merciless at times and the ground can be nothing but rocks and sand. We need to grasp a weed mentality–No matter how often they cut us down, we will grow right back! More importantly, we need to get our roots down there into the never-ending supply of conviction. We can’t let them simply pull us out. Dig deep, spread out, and grasp holds throughout the lawn. Know that this job, task, or career, is what you want to do and you will do it. Conviction. A show of confidence can be your shield. You may not feel self-assured at all times but show it; you can shake anything off, put that chip on your shoulder if need be, but stop expecting encouragement every step of the way.
We are here, look where we’ve arrived, now allow for healthy competition, aggression and stop with this everyone gets a trophy. I want to end, or at least add in here before I end, that there is a quote, one of many, on my first automotive parts binder. I haven’t thought of it in quite a while, just last night or today it came to me, because it is such a part of me that most times it does not need conscious thought:
“You do not know what life means when all the difficulties are removed! I am simply smothered and sickened with advantages. It is like eating a sweet dessert the first thing in the morning.”
-Jane Adams, social worker and Nobel Peace laureate (1860-1935).
Be a weed and let men be flowers, from time to time. They need that comfort and/or support as they have weak moments in their lives. I’m more toward the flower side at the moment. For the sake of the life inside me, I let the men do the tasks I am capable of but would be safer to allow them. It is okay to make concessions on both sides. If you want to get a better idea of where men struggle, read the book I mentioned.
I’m not typing this out to incite outrage, get attention negatively, but I hope I’ve helped you get a glimpse of what worked for me. Again, what I like about these free write blogs encouraged by NaBloPoMo–gotta write something everyday–is my own self-exploration; I want to make sense of me and why I feel this way or that. I’m not saying my feelings are correct or accurate. Feelings lack a sturdy, factual basis, but it would help to share this and see if I’m the only one. I can’t be; there are billions of us, but I’ll have to wait and see….