I was watching TV the other day; that show with all the successful business people who give money (or not) to entrepreneurs – Shark Tank.
I’m not exactly up on my billionaire entrepreneurs, so I didn’t know who any of these people were, but after this episode I looked them up.
Not because I was impressed, because I was pissed.
This woman was on the show talking about her business (she had a special way of applying fake eyelashes which saved time, she wanted to patent it). One of the guys, Kevin O’Leary, told her he predicted that no one would invest, “and I’m always right,” he said.
She got emotional. She felt really passionate about her company and she spent a few minutes speaking with conviction through a cracked voice.
I said aloud to no one in particular, “you go girl.”
Barbara Corcoran didn’t agree with me. She told her she should stop all this crying if she wanted to be a business woman. She told her that when she deals with a woman who cries, she files her away in a separate folder. “She can’t be trusted.”
She actually said that.
What decade is it? Why are we, strong, independent, well-educated and intelligent women, still telling each other to “man up”?
When men find themselves in a similar situation – being told that their business, their work, their passion isn’t good enough, they might get angry, they might shout, they might calmly react. Women do the same. But these actions aren’t deemed inappropriate in this environment. They don’t make you weak.
What’s the difference? Aren’t tears just another way of expressing emotion? Why is crying linked to women only? Men cry. I know lots of men that cry. Maybe not as often as I do, but I’d say I cry more than the average (books, movies, commercials, triggered memories, onions).
I’m a writer. I’m passionate, emotional, scattered. When I’m feeling unmotivated, when writer’s block rolls through, when something I’ve put a lot of work into gets rejected or receives negative feedback, I have a moment. Sometimes this includes tears, sometimes it includes nearly foaming at the mouth in anger. Once it’s all over, I can see things more clearly and appreciate these moments for what they are. I can move forward having learned something.
These breakdowns don’t make me weak, they don’t make me incompetent and they sure as hell don’t make me un-trustworthy.
I was reading the comments to a young 20-something’s blog the other day. She’d written some pithy list post about what women think about on a daily basis. She was slammed in the comments for “setting women back.”
That’s always one of my favorites. Yes, we are totally setting each other back by being honest and funny and perhaps slightly sarcastic, but mostly truthful in a humorous way.
Woman have different thoughts, we have minds that whizz at 1,000 miles a minutes, just like men, and we think about our nails, our hair, what that text from that guy meant.
I asked my boyfriend what he thinks about when he lets his mind wander. He wonders whether he has any more Twitter followers or wheter that tweet he just sent was funny or inappropriate; if that girl eying him up in the grocery line thinks he looks good. Men wonder if their girlfriend is going to roll towards them tonight or away citing “I’m tired.” They think about their jobs, their partners, whether or not they smell, whether they should text that girl back or let her wait.
They think about completely stupid, unimportant things all the time. Just like women.
Are they setting their entire gender back to some stone-age era? No. No they are not.
So let’s stop telling each other to stop being who we are simply because it’s not what the rest of the world thinks is professional or business-like or mature. Let’s stop acting like shedding a tear or thinking about what nail polish is right for this season makes us somehow unable to make important, life affirming decisions. The people who have shaken things up, both men and women, are the ones who did it their way, despite what everyone else said.
You go girl.