I recently wrote a post about how being a woman plays a role in entrepreneurship. Since writing this, the reality has become more grimly clear. Generally, I am realizing that the men I am coming across categorize women into one of two types: a ditsy, easy slut or an uptight bitch.
Thankfully, I think, I have been the latter.
When I decided to focus on my business full-time, I told myself that I would be authentic while “being” a businesswoman. I can be sensitive, goofy, and insecure sometimes. I promised that I wouldn’t hide these things (the way I have in the past to feign shrewdness and toughness.) Now, I am finding it harder and harder to keep this promise.
Ugly Truth. Unfortunately, I am forced to use more discretion than I anticipated for this blog now that I am working in the entertainment industry but I am certain that what I’ve been experiencing transcends all industries. The misogyny I witness each day is becoming numbing. Here are a few, among so many, examples:
· I recently walked into a room and I was surprised to find that there was a big celebrity present. Before I even introduced myself, the first thing he said to me was, “Oh, hey! I was just looking at naked pictures of you!” Apparently, this was his way of being funny and breaking the ice. He never introduced himself to me.
· On another occasion, a well-known music executive jokingly recommended that an independent artist sleep with the owner of a record company in order to get signed “like all the other girls do.” While he laughed and seemingly offered the solution in jest, there was no question as to whether the latter statement (all the other girls do) was true. Everyone just found it funny that he would recommend it to the female we were discussing since she was present.
· Since my last related post, Being a Woman, I have been told I needed a drink at least two dozen times.
· Finally, from another angle, I was at a high-profile event in the VIP section of an upscale nightclub in LA. For about an hour I watched two young women dancing provocatively, gesturing, giggling and asking for liquor from behind the velvet rope that delineated our “section.” Their audience, two clearly much older and overweight men, watched on, smiled, cheered and poured liquor into their mouths from the bottles at our table. When the men were on their way out the two women begged to go with them.
Yes, I know that anyone who has been in the industry (and perhaps others) for even five minutes is not surprised by any of my recollections and can probably rattle off dozens of other more heinous and grotesque situations.
But alas, this all feels very new to me…
I hate that women are so effing objectified.. still!
I hate that I have to choose bitch because the alternative, slut, is obviously not an option.
I hate that there are so many women who happily satisfy the alternative stereotype rendering it the de facto guess for any man I’ve just met.
I hate that professionalism and meticulousness translate into uptight and stuck up for me and on-point for a man.
So what do I choose? It seems like when I am friendly, silly, or caring, I am either subsequently not taken seriously and disregarded when I make a comment, ask a question or make a request; or I am not taken seriously and I get hit on and flirted with for the remainder of our interactions. Conversely, when I deal with business assertively- I ask questions, I use business jargon and I don’t show much emotion- this is read as too formal, corporate, and, for most of the men (and sometimes women) in power who have some underlying insecurity I seem to challenge, bitchy. I end up choosing the latter but it sucks because it just isn’t me.
I don’t really know what is the best way to deal with this.
A part of me wants to use these as ‘teachable moments’ and challenge this industry’s misconceptions and double standards by being a focused businesswoman who can also be kind, fun and not attracted to you.
But then, when someone tells me I need a drink, giggles when I offer an idea, ignores my question or looks down my shirt when speaking to me, another part of me wants to shove the lesson plan down their throat with my curt no-nonsense assertive concept that blows their menial bigoted mind.