The phenomenal response to The Grown Woman's Oath confirmed my suspicion that women are in search of something more. The majority of us are not about catfights and gossip and we refuse to define ourselves by the one-dimensional images often shown. At the same time, we realize that there are probably areas we could strengthen as individuals.
Over the next nine weeks we'll explore each of the nine principles the Oath outlines. Let's really have a discussion that is long overdue. Let's be introspective and honest about the places we've fallen short and that are in need of improvement. For example, perhaps you never gossip about other women, but you're still struggling to find your true voice. It's all relevant to the evolution of womanhood.
None of this changes until we get real.
Principle #1: Other women are not my competition.
The old paradigm of "there's only room for one" continues to be broken down. We still have a way to go, but it is up to us to create room for the next woman -- not elbow her out of the way.
The reality is that there was a time when the presence of even one woman was considered a serious disruption in the workplace. If you have time to waste, do a search for some of the old training videos addressing this issue.
As ridiculous as those films are, though they were supposedly intended to help welcome women into the workforce, they played to the stereotypes of women's capabilities. With an undesirable characterization, it follows that our numbers be kept to a minimum.
Even with much advancement since that time, several spaces still operate in that manner. That is just truth. We're not used to seeing ourselves represented equally, minority women even less so. The saddest part is that many of us have adopted this skewed reality and have applied it to other aspects of our lives.
Whether at work, or church, or the club the competition model is still the lens through which some of us view our counterparts. A perspective of scarcity keeps us competing for acknowledgement, titles, and men (or women).
How do we counter this manufactured illusion?
Quite simply, increase our numbers.
When we find ourselves in a position of exclusivity, it is our responsibility to create room for more of us. If we choose otherwise, then one of three things is at play:
1) You secretly believe and perpetuate the stereotypes while deeming yourself an exception.
2) You enjoy the privileged place that you hold and you don't intend share the spotlight with anyone no matter how qualified she is.
3) You are insecure about your position and fear replacement.
Here's a thought. GET OVER YOURSELF. As long as you let your ego run the show, none of us really win. You may feel like you're in the lead but when you look around and realize you haven't a girlfriend in sight, you just might re-evaluate.
Take a closer look at yourself. Do you have a me-me-me mentality or do you create space for other women? Have you viewed them as competition in the past? If so, how did you overcome it? Examine if there are any areas in your life where you find yourself competing.