A Personal Essay on Feminism

Women wearing flower crowns hands raised
Women wearing flower crowns hands raised

I’ve never regarded myself as a feminist and yet most other people would definitely put me in that box. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about empowering women and I do understand in some parts of the world and in some particular industries women do get a very raw end of the deal which I am not happy about at all. And yet this hasn’t been my own experience and even working in a country such as Indonesia I have found so many smart empowered women. Neither them or I have spent our time fighting for equality, we’ve simply regarded ourselves as strong, independent women and have gotten on with the job, done it well and excelled.

My current staff are mostly women. All but one of my managers are women and my business is for women only. So how on earth do I not consider myself a feminist?

Well first of all I guess that word means so many different things to different people. To me it means equality for women. And yet I don’t believe men and women are equal. WHAT?!? Well I don’t think we’re the same. We have different strengths, we have different ways of thinking and feeling and in quite a few ways this is far superior to men. I think we need our differences and we need to look at them as a strength and create opportunities that embrace this as so many women have throughout the world.

No I don’t feel women are superior to men. I do believe we are all equal… in our DIFFERENCES. So when there are jobs that need a higher quota of women to meet their measured standards of equality, rather than simply picking the best person for the job, I feel that undermines women. And men. And that particular work place.

I don’t believe there is much of a boys club around anymore. I feel mens power has been taken away a LOT. But I don’t believe it has been given to women to even things up, it seems in many cases everyone is simply confused.

What feminism means to everybody is something different. To a lot of men it can pose a threat. To a lot of women it can be something that gives them a better deal. To many organisations it can be an eye opener, create opportunities or a massive pain in the ass. Like with everything there is a yin and yang to feminism.

Personally for me I feel every job should be given on MERIT. No nepotism, no free ride, no specific quotas, no prejudices and no bullshit.

As an employer I often employ people based on them already knowing someone in our organisation. This could be regarded as nepotism I guess, but I don’t see it that way. It means they come with a trusted reference and they will enjoy their work place more when they are friends.

As a business focussed towards women I feel our PR company comprised mostly of women gives a much better understanding to our product because they can actually come and experience it for themselves. This isn’t the same with all female products, but as ours is about ‘experiences’ it most definitely needs a woman’s understanding. I believe it needs to be women speaking to women with warmth and connection, honesty and openness … not simply the way things are usually done in business. For example our social media posts. I am always reminding them to be warm and personal, to be kind and caring, to acknowledge the positives, to speak as if we’re speaking to our best friends. Even as women working on an all womens brand they often lose their way in this and become impersonal and just write like everyone writes without a true connection. Be vulnerable, be authentic, be honest, be real. These are female related attributes that bring a strength to business. It is actually really difficult to get people to do this which I find very sad.

I feel the way business is being done in the world is greatly enhanced by using a feminine voice, feminine understanding, feminie values and ideas. Half the worlds population is women so of course women need a voice and need to be part all industries. IF we want to.

I was speaking to a young, vibrant, intelligent friend who runs a startup insurance company. He is highly successful and he told me that they rarely have women applying for their jobs, the process of which is outsourced to a recruiter. Yet some of his best employees have been women over 50 who can show superior listening skills, compassion and understanding as well as an extensive knowledge of insurance. I told him he can target women only, through Facebook advertising now and do a linked in campaign and use different language to attract women. Or their perception of the job. Whereas in reality this is the sort of job they could do from home and create their own levels of success far beyond the norm and make huge $$. So when recruiting for these roles, speak in our language if we are who you want to attract. But at the end of the day it’s considered rather boring so maybe a lot of women don’t want that sort of work!

Have we ever stopped to think that maybe some industries are more male dominated because women don’t want to do that work? We’re smart. We have high family and connection values. We care about more than just the money or the ego, we often want our work to feel good and do good, to feed the soul. It also depends on ones stage of life and how much time we have to give to work over family, friends, freedom, yoga, lifestyle … whatever it is for different people and our values and what we care about change with time. As women we often don’t accept the grind, we see beyond it. We want some heart.

So many more jobs can be done from home now or a mobile office. This doesn’t suit everyone and actually I gave this a lot more power than I ought to have and hired one after the other after the other of  women in their 30’s – 50’s to work from home. Most of them wanted the job so they could balance work and kids. Ummmm this hardly ever works! It was a 100% strike rate for me and every single one of my employees in this area stated it was much harder than they thought working from home and they found it difficult to not get distracted. Kids will do that to you lol. Now this doesn’t mean no women with kids can make this work. No sirrreeee there are some super women out there who would LOVE this opportunity and be great at it. I just don’t happen to have met one as yet for my business and I had to change tact.

Working from home is a great opportunity for women (& men) but it must be for the right reasons. Someone is employing you and paying you money to be productive. So hearing that you want this opportunity so you can do less work & it’s all about you and your life, not about your job which can essentially be the distraction not the other way around … is not what employers want to hear or experience.

For me working from home means it takes me far less time with far less distractions to get things done. I can do way more work. I don’t waste time in traffic to and from work every day which gives me freedom to do other things in that time. And as I run my own business it means I can work when I am at my optimum. A key importance for me dealing with migraines and fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I basically need to read my emails and respond when my head is clear. And when I’m ‘on’ I can power through work so quickly and efficiently and this really works for me whether it’s 2am, 9am or 7pm, or anywhere in between.

This wouldn’t be called ‘equality’.

This is why I don’t aspire for equality.

I aspire for what is right for me and me only, on my terms.

I must admit I feel if women are aspiring to be treated ‘equally’ then we’re selling ourselves short and defining what we want by the way men are currently treated. I know this is not how a lot of other people see it, but it’s how I see it. In this I am not trying to discredit the wonderful, amazing things feminism has done. And that there is still a huge need for it in many countries in the world where women are treated as ‘less than’.

In the Western World however I don’t believe this is the case most of the time. Instead there can be confusion and an unclear definition of roles. Men suffer from being overlooked, underpaid and treated badly too. It seems to be a human thing, not a sex thing in my eyes and it still needs to be looked at.

On this note I am in agreeance with feminism whereby we should be treated as people not looked at as male or females. Some of the time. I also believe we are male and female or whatever we identify as and rather than see this as a negative there are LOADS of positives. That’s what I am interested in.

But overall I don’t want women to strive to be treated equally. I want us to strive to be amazing, the best version of ourselves, to create a way of life and work on our terms and know what we really want beyond what has been pre designed. We can do better. I guess this is a form of feminism.

I have definitely been discriminated against for being a woman working in predominantly male dominated industries for most of my working life. And if I were being a feminist in attitude I would probably feel very hard done by and for a time I definitely did. But I still didn’t see it largely due to my sex. Even though I was blatantly told this on a number of occasions. I simply lost respect for them and their short sightedness and simple mindedness and realised they were not the right fit for me and I would find something way better, and I did.

These types of men are simpletons in my mind. Thankfully not all men are wired this way which is another reason why I don’t consider myself a feminist in the true sense of the word. Or rather I would like to redefine what it means.

Many men are amazing and see beyond a pair of boobs. The ones that can’t are ridiculous. So why would we give them any time? The #metoo effort has outed many of these idiots who somehow got to high places. I was about to write ‘ thinking they were superior’ but actually I think they must have very low self worth underneath all the bravado of treating other people like shit. Much the same as any other bully. And most importantly it has made us all think and for many women and people to realise we have been enablers and it is such a powerful movement … yet the big guns are still fighting as they are so small minded they just can’t see that this movement is beyond them and their penises. It is about everyone around them who no longer have an ounce of respect for them and who can see through anything they do and now safely ask for help if they are being mistreated. And importantly understanding what being mistreated actually looks like.

A massive positive for ALL people. Men and women as this is not about men, this is about the ones who chose to be idiot cowards and bullies and prey on the people they feel most threatened by. And so they should feel threatened by women as we see things differently, do things differently, we generally have a much better set of ethics and values and we are strong and smart and driven. Driven by the things that we value. Which thankfully is different to most men.

Ahhh what a can of worms.

I am not feminist but I am not not a feminist.

I am just a woman with her own identity  who does not see herself as less than  any man, or equal to any man as that is not my measure. I see way beyond that limiting way of thought and see people as they are, where they are at in life. Actually I see most people in their full potential which can be  problematic, but most of all I see our differences as amazing and beautifully complimentary.

Lets look at each other in awe when that is what it deserves and not measure ourselves against this, but create our own values and mindset around reaching for the stars in whatever is important to us. When we learn to connect as people, understand our own personal strengths and weaknesses and own who we are and what is important to us, that’s when the magic happens. And to me that is not defined by a measure of equality, but by a measure of each persons attributes.

The feminism I agree with is where there is equal opportunity to be OURSELVES. Not to be measured  against each other at all. But to be our best, do our best, know our strengths and  weaknesses, take ownership and do that which we want to do. I am a feminist in that I believe men  and women are completely different and yet equally important in different ways. I want to live in a world  where that is simply known and goes without saying.

Big Love to both men and women  equally Zx