Today I wanted to tackle a common fear, i.e. that you will be disadvantaged and disliked once you let your inner feminist out. While I can’t speak for everybody and my environment certainly isn’t exceptionally conservative or ‘backwards’ in that regard, I think it is quite safe to say that becoming a feminist is likely to make you more successful rather than turning you into the universally-hated, notorious ‘feminazi’, like many womxn erroneously believe.
DISCLAIMER: I am neither a professional advisor nor actually qualified to give you any kind of advice! Apply this only after reflecting whether you think it’s appropriate in your workplace. It should be, but if you’re stuck in a clearly very backwards environment you might better not do anything to make the situation even more miserable and dire. Check with a local gender equality advisor how best to proceed.
Don’t “dial down” on the feminism, level up
For a long time, I felt that I was somehow ‘holding back’ on the feminism, even tough on the inside I really wanted to be more of a feminist. Society tends to tell you that it will make you look bossy, undesirable, etc. But at some point, I realized that this is exactly one of those subconscious habits which cause womxn to be less successful than they could be. Because not daring to displease some, trying to be universally liked, accepted and appreciated by everyone is a ‘trait’ which might end up making you seem less qualified than your male peers and come off like you’re not leadership material (btw, it’s actually literally not possible to be liked by everyone, even though womxn are taught to strive for this goal!). Because being edgy makes you interesting. It makes you look like a leader.
Don’t swallow your pride – swallow other people’s expectations
Daring to be yourself, asking for what you want and deserve, and not giving a hoot whether some idiot colleague (who doesn’t even matter to your success) might end up disliking you for your feminism will make you seem confident. People who only like you when you’re miserable and disadvantaged really don’t deserve your worries! Standing up for yourself will actually increase your worth in other people’s minds and once you start drawing boundaries and saying no, they will respect you more. In the beginning they might be a little annoyed; nobody really likes change after all. Change is hard. Gendered discrimination used to be the norm and it will remain so as long as we’re accepting accomplices to it. Just recently, I have personally had the experience that I felt so much more valued in the workplace after standing up for myself and against sexualized discrimination.
Love yourself first
Maybe it wasn’t even other people who behave differently now, maybe it’s just my perception which has changed. But I feel so much more empowered for it and thus, ready to tackle all sorts of things, not only discriminatory colleagues 😉 I feel much more respected and valued now, but that might just be a by-product of me respecting myself more. Standing up for your rights is a sign of self-love and self-respect. And like they say, maybe you need to love yourself first before others can love you.
So show yourself some self-respect! Love yourself first and allow yourself to unleash your inner feminist – we all have one of those!