Hi, neo-feminists. This read is for you. See, I’m surrounded by female friends/clients/acquaintances who allow me to be privy to the struggle they endure for being strong, successful women who have actually followed the lead of old-school bra-burning feminists, and paved their own paths to prosperity. (That means, if you haven’t worked for your own success- then you probably will not understand this article and thus be very offended.)
I know a slew of women who are in the 27-35 age range, equipped with college degrees, working in a career field that correlates to their degree, maintaining a household, and staying fit and healthy- yet have the hardest time in maintaining friendships AND dating. And/or, these ladies often find themselves receiving the promotion stiff-arm from their bosses. Whether these women worked full-time during school in order to receive that diploma, joined the military and sacrificed a huge part of their lives to set up their success, or even went to a trade school and obtained some sort of skill set, does not really matter.
We are all bound together with one commonality: we evolved and believed it when adults told us we could do anything, while the rest of the world stayed behind, grasping on to the outdated ideas that stifled the creative power of women for centuries past. And in this evolution, we are not inundated with your fear that *gasp* a woman can be intelligent, beautiful, fit, independent, and self-sufficient.
So, whether we explore this from the a professional or personal angle does not really matter, because all five of the ideas below can be applied in both settings. And people who are intimidated by us haven’t figured out a way to categorize who we are and what we are doing other than by hating us or calling us bitches. Now, to be fair- I do realize that a lot of being called a “bitch” depends on your attitude and the audience with which you’re dealing. There are many people who I can do these five things with and they adore me for them. However, I have personally experienced a whole lot of pushback when I’ve employed the below list, despite my level of objectivity and grounded neutrality.
1. Being Successful.
As previously established, it can be incredibly overwhelming for insecure people when they meet a powerful woman who is capable of much more than pushing out babies and making a mean meatloaf. I totally believe in being humble, and it’s not cool if you are flaunting your success- but sometimes, as a woman, you don’t have to do anything other than be who you are in order for you to be hated. I personally believe that this is because it is scary and threatening because women are such powerful creations. I don’t hate men at all, but there are just some incredible things that ladies have a one-up on (like, bringing a child into the world- no big deal). But, I do not believe that we should be held accountable for someone else’s fear and perceived inadequacy. We should be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor without being questioned, accused, or misrepresented. Next.
2. Refusing to Sugar Coat Reality.
This one is kind of hard for me because I’m a yoga teacher, and a lot of the western yoga community sees through rainbow-colored glasses. I’m accustomed to a whole lot of fluff, but I’ve also lived/worked in a combat environment where we had very serious, life-threatening issues to face. Neo-feminists have not attained their success by overlooking reality and harsh circumstances. We have had to learn to question and analyze the people around us along with the conditions attached to them. While I’m one of the most positive people you’ll ever meet, I don’t have my blinders on to the many big, complex issues in our society and beyond. Can’t we all just get along and see things for what they are?
3. Holding People Accountable Yikes.
I never knew I would be so abhorred for believing that someone would do what he/she says he/she will do. Call me old-fashioned, but I take my reputation and integrity very seriously; therefore, I know that my name rides on doing what I say I am going to do. And this applies to the phenomenal femmes I’m writing to, as well. Since we hold this expectation for ourselves, we generally apply it to the people around us, too (it’s fair). And people who do not operate with that same level of integrity hate us for it. We are not bitches because we have our shit together; you are projecting your insecurity onto us if you don’t. Again, not our problem. We will continue to keep our word and disassociate from those who don’t. We have the confidence to walk away from those who do not reciprocate what we are offering.
4. Challenging an Opinion.
Unless someone is very grounded and secure, he/she does not like to be challenged or questioned.
All you need to do is read some of the comments on any article that stirs up some controversy. No longer do people operate with rational functionality- they completely unravel and revert to very immature tactics to try to shake you (like, calling you a bitch, for example). We definitely need to communicate with tact and respect, but we also should not have to tiptoe around ego’s and feelings whenever we disagree with an idea presented. Maturity is key. It is entirely possible to disagree and still respect and like each other.
5. Saying No/Setting Boundaries
This is the trickiest, most complex one of them all. When I was in my early 20s, I struggled with the pressure imposed on me by others to do things I did not want to do (take on extra work projects, go places I did not want to go, give money to organizations I did not believe in, etc.) Now, at the ripe old age of 27 (almost 28), I am very comfortable saying “no” and not exhausting myself with everyone else’s requests. I understand and value the importance of giving back to myself, creating boundaries for my sanity, and staying true to only doing things that I really, genuinely want to do. There is nothing bitchy about being true to yourself, whatever that looks like- and those who actually care about you will understand.
We are not total bitches. Yes, we may be slightly jaded from how difficult it is to be a woman like this in a very shaky society, but underneath it all, we want to be able to be who we are and be respected and appreciated for it- just like any other living, breathing, normal human being. We are evolving, and I hope everyone reading this will see this as progress for women. Appreciate the strong women in your life- they are the movers and the shakers who get a lot of work in this world done. And they will always do what they say they are going to do.