So a friend (thanks mate!), sent me a article aptly titled ‘Fight for your Right to be Useless’ by Pilita Clark. In a nutshell Clark, cleverly articulates why she harbours an urge to see an International Crap Women’s Day.
You see, IWD has a habit of raising up those who are already propped. Those staunch, remarkable women who have made it in the world of men. Women who have done the extraordinary. But let’s think about it, does this actually reflect a cultural shift, or some new age of equality in our society today?
Or are we just perpetuating the image of the Super Woman who can do it all? The spectacular women who somehow manages to make it to the top of her field, whilst having a brood of kids and supporting her husband’s career goals at the same time. Reinforcing the idea that women have to ‘be the best’ for them to be considered equal to the Mediocre Man.
I’m going out on a limb to say that this was great reading and from my own reflections, very true. Dear reader, surely you’ve experienced this!? Having to be the absolute best in your game to make it! The constant, tiresome need to feel like you have to prove yourself. So often, I have found myself consciously making sure that I have explored every facet of my job description and more, just so that there was no excuse that I hadn’t tackled every aspect or hurdle that could be thrown my way. I often feel I have to be ‘the best’. I find myself asking, if I was a male would mediocre suffice? Maybe not… but hey, I can’t seem to get away from the internalised, or perhaps external pressure to be the best.
IWD is VERY geared towards superstar, super-women. These role models for young females are fantastic and inspiring to see. However, more often than not, for the average women aspiring to make it into a senior leadership position, their careers seem SO unattainable. You hear stories about how they often had a lucky break, or are well connected – and hey good for them. However, this doesn’t help us out here in the multitudes. Those of us who are trying to understand why there seems to be a underlying barrier to women at the top. Sometimes you can work super hard but not all of us are set for superstardom. Even if we feel the pressure to achieve it.
I find it irksome that we see one super star female and say ‘…see women can do anything and be anything, here is proof…’ and then we forget the unconscious bias, toxic masculinity, patriarchy, and misogyny that keeps the rest of us ‘in our place’. It’s an excuse for everyone to maintain the status quo, because one female made it in a man’s world.
Perhaps I seem cynical and jaded. Don’t get me wrong, I love IWD. But I also see past the fanfare, and see a need to acknowledge that true equality in all facets of diversity (not just gender), is still miles away. We can’t be complacent – we need to crack on and keep the up the good fight. And stop the super stars and their shiny glow, blinding us to the systematic inequality that still exists.
Don’t forget to share your opinion below. Happy IWD week all!
Photo by Jesse Graham – from his 1000 Portraits Project ( @1000portraitproject)