This weekend I took the time to watch a documentary called Miss Representation. I found the film to be very enlightening and it gave me a different perspective than I expected. I do not believe to be a feminist and I have had great opportunities being a woman, so I wasn’t sure what this movie would offer me. As a strong business woman that works hard to carry a professional image I actually found the movie leaving me to ask myself the question, why do I judge other professional women? I honestly didn’t even know I was doing it until the movie put it out there in front of me. I was holding women in business to a different standard to men in business.
Women are constantly on stage whether they are in sales, on TV, or amongst friends, and society has strongly influenced the way we judge women. We judge the way they look, speak, dress, and act. It’s not just men that judge and it’s not even men that are the harshest critics. We find ourselves talking about women’s appearances and personal lives in a professional arena, but do we do that to men? Do you ever hear people talking about what men were wearing or doing in a professional social setting? If you do the guy must have been over the top, but with women it could be a low cut top, too high of heels, short skirt, being too gregarious etc. The worst part is the rumor and talk follows that woman around like a nasty disease.
In sales it can be very hard to be a woman no matter what you are selling or who you are selling to. I have spent most of my sales career selling in the construction industry so of course it’s easy to assume that I must have to deal with the pressures of men, but really it is men and women. I have worked really hard to create an image of professionalism. So the movie made me think about when I first started in sales. What women did I turn to as a role model? Did I embrace other women and help them to find success? Did I judge their outfits and the way they presented themselves? Did I judge them differently than the men?
Well fortunately for me I was blessed with an awesome mother who was classy and professional. My mom was a career woman and I watched her carry her professionalism at work and home. So when I started my career, did I judge other woman in professional positions??? I secretly did and I do. I expected and expect woman to be as classy as my mom, but here’s the thing as a woman I need to stop judging. I need to take that energy used to judge other woman and instead embrace them for who they are and help them to find success. Let go of any stereotypes and be the influence that my mom was to me. Perhaps these women that I am judging think that they must act, dress, or look a certain way, but in actuality women will be successful because they are smart, classy, and nonjudgmental. So after this movie I will not only continue to carry myself professionally but now I will work harder not to worry about what other women seem like and to take the time to help them overcome judgements.