Social media site, About.me just this past week published a story about me (no pun) and two other women. It was actually a woman at the organisation who stumbled across my page some months ago and asked if she could interview me. Since then the social media site has been incredibly supportive, featuring me several times and sharing my story with their incredibly large network. It was the most recent mail out that sent close to two thousand people to my page within 24 hours, but this influx also granted me a small gender based case study.
Let me explain where I’m going with this – my Facebook page is mainly liked by men, men largely make up my YouTube subscribers and views, and those that favourite my tweets and click the thumbs up on my Facebook profile, are again, men. So, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that About.me proved no different.
The great thing with About.me is, it gives you the name and profile of those that have viewed your page and notifies you of who loved your page, liked your bio, thought you’re cool, or are impressed by you, (there are lots of options to choose how you compliment someone). You are also notified by whether you are added to a user’s list of say, “interesting people”.
It disappointed me that out of the many women that viewed my page in the first 24 hours, only one complimented me. One from almost 2,000 people. Sure, it was nice to have men in my field reach out and show their support, but to be honest, I was wondering what happened to my female colleagues? Now, if you’re sitting there saying that the men only reached out because I’m female, you can go ahead and have that stance, but it still doesn’t explain why only one woman could tell me she liked what I was trying to do. And if you’re now saying that’s because I’m not achieving anything at all, well, thank you for your honesty.
Personally, I can be pretty awkward around women. A good 20% of the time during first encounters, I throw up the lock-out blinds and weather the storm until it’s over and I’m safe again. That may sound extreme but it’s all a result of past experiences. I’m sure plenty of women reading this have also had scarring experiences at the hands of other women. It’s only understandable that for some of us that fear holds us back from seeing certain women as anything but the enemy.
It’s sad but I think this pattern starts off when we’re quite young. For some dumb, fucked up reason we were led to believe we were competing against each other; for men, for jobs, for attention, to get your period first, get married first, have a kid first! And this then leads to some extremely negative lines of thinking.
Haven’t we all at one point seen a confident woman and thought, “I wish I was like her” and if not that tame, “she looks like a bitch”, but I want to know why we don’t automatically say, I want to be friends with her, or, I’m going to go over there and tell her she’s amazing?!
Sure, we all have our personal insecurities to work through. I always see creative women who are incredibly comfortable in their skin and wonder how amazing my life would be if I could be so freakin’ cool and empowered. But instead of allowing myself to feel insignificant in comparison, I see these women as someone I can learn from.
I am certain we all arrive at this place eventually but I wish there was a way to speed up that journey, because we are all so incredibly strong and could do such great things if sisterhood is encouraged from an earlier age. Don’t you agree?
This week, I’m going to make an effort to compliment more women around me. If I see a woman who is achieving the things i hope to, or has great legs, or an amazing attitude, or even a woman driving a hot car (I love cars), I’m going to tell her that she’s killing it. That I like her style. That she deserves a raise!
Hunt down the women that inspire you this week. Tell them why they scare you :)
Maybe even tag them in this post?!