The era in which we live is supposed to be the epitome of equality. Women can now choose to be both a housewife and an entrepreneur. We can celebrate our bodies and sexuality without being shunned. But if you’ve ever worked in the corporate world or attended your husband’s work events, you know that The Good Ole Boys’ Club is still very much alive.
The Good Ole Boys’ Club tends to exclude women and participate in their own little group activities and bonding rituals. This is particularly difficult on the corporate woman who wants to elevate within the company and get to know her colleagues better. Men befriend men, and unfortunately, women have to work harder to attain the same level of prestige, respect, and recognition that men have.
I don’t entirely blame men for this, though. It’s OK to have groups of friends in which not everyone is invited. What I think is a shame is that we worry about not being invited—we waste precious time and energy worrying about getting into a group! I see this as women trying too hard to be men when we really need to focus on being great at what we do.
Women are naturally great supporters and nurturers within a family structure and with our friends, and that’s one of the many things we need to use to our advantage. Competition breeds jealousy and negativity. We need to stop bringing one another down. We’re not going to get anywhere that way.
A sad truth that remains in 2012 is that when a woman shows strength, she’s automatically deemed a “bitch.” When a man exercises his power and smarts and sticks to his guns, he’s seen as a great leader. This double standard is something you have to acknowledge and then use as motivation to break down barriers. “Strong woman” is not synonymous with “bitch”—get out there and prove it. This is merely a stereotype uneducated and uninformed women and men perpetuate. Stick with your gut, stand behind your decisions, own your power, and be responsible for your words and actions. That’s the best thing you can do when other people are calling you useless names. Trust me, if I let the countless people who called me “the dildo lady” bring me down, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
When I first started thinking about my own business, there was a godfather in this industry who wanted to help me. He said he’d buy me my own store because otherwise, I’d never make it. But I followed my gut, took my own actions, and started Pure Romance. They say that behind every man is a strong woman, which is true. But I didn’t feel like standing behind anyone.
My suggestion to solve all this is that we, as women, spend more time focusing on being great women and less time trying to get into some club. We don’t need a club because we’re in a league of our own. I suggest that we stop worrying about what people are saying or if that other woman is doing better than you are. The competition is over: We’ve made it, so now what are we going to do with it? We can join together and celebrate everything that makes us so fabulous. We don’t have to try to be anyone but ourselves. Then together, maybe we can change the fact that women are still making, on average, 81 cents to each male dollar. Together, this world is ours to change.