Please share this video. And please talk about what it means.
I have become a bit of a crank about the way people in power revert to “lack of confidence” as the “explanation” for women’s lesser economic status. “Lack of confidence” gives them a handy excuse to blame the women. Like what they are really saying is: If women would just ‘man up’ and be confident, all their problems would go away, their businesses would grow, they would be appointed to corporate boards, they would negotiate higher salaries. . . or whatever.
With that excuse, the speaker thinks they can get away with ignoring the real problems–bigoted businessmen, misogynistic venture capitalists, anti-family employers, unethical recruiters–and focus on “teaching” women to “be confident” instead. Let’s get out there and fix all these women!
I’m not saying women don’t lack confidence. They do. Lots of research shows that. But I keep wondering to myself, “Where does it start? What does it come from?” Girls are not born lacking confidence, surely. I sift through my own memories, looking for the first moment of self-doubt. I don’t come up with images from the media (so easy to blame the media, almost as easy as blaming women).
What I come up with is exactly the kind of rubbish this little video takes to task. Playground humiliation. Mean teasing from my own father. Innumerable instances where I (or my female friends) were mercilessly ridiculed, ceaselessly taunted–and no one ever stepped in to stop it, to defend us, to shame those who mistreated us. In fact, if we complained, we were just told we had to “learn to take it.”
I mean, having a sense of humor, being able to laugh at yourself, is one thing. Being brought up to absorb infinite insult is another. It’s like saying you deserve to be treated as a lesser person.
Years later, my own daughters put up with this same old shit. I tried to support them, but we learned very quickly that if girls pushed back at all, they would be reprimanded for it. The boys would not hear anything about having behaved badly in the first instance.
It’s not fair. It’s not right. But it’s what this whole women’s empowerment thing is about. We need to build our confidence, but we also need to put a stop to the things that drag us down, even as little girls, and last a lifetime.
Watch this video. Then share it.