Well it looks like women have finally gotten their bite of – or is it into – the Apple as VP of Apple Pay, Jennifer Bailey, and VP of Product Marketing, Susan Prescott, took/were given center stage at Apple’s Worldwide Development Conference, a rarefied spotlight previously occupied only by men (and only white men).
I know it has been a long time coming for women in technology, with a long way still to go and yet…
Now here is where I will show my “baby boomer” wistfulness (or is it whining?).
I was thinking of entitling this piece, “But will you still love me in the morning?” but you know as well as I do that far less of you would have read it.
Because women are following in the not-so-helpful-to-the-planet footsteps of want-a-piece-of-the-action men and sacrificing love and being loved, liking and being liked (except for sports, conspicuous consumption and the world of things) in order to be respected. It’s as if increasingly more women are saying, “I don’t care if you love or even like me, but you will respect me, you will take me seriously and you WILL NOT blow me off!”
Over the years I have coached and mentored many more women than men, spoken at women’s conferences and written extensively about women in the corporate world. That is because men won’t ask for directions and feel that they are less of a man if they ask for or even need help in the non-technical parts of life. On the other hand, women in the work world have felt “less than” forever and are open to and appreciative of any help that can assist them in managing their life better. They are not less of a woman if they ask or need such help.
However over time there is something insidious going on that can make many women feel like less of a woman.
About a decade ago, I would see women who would reveal to me that they were deeply troubled by losing their warmth. More than a few told me that a woman without warmth is not a woman (the male counterpart is a man without courage is not a man). However feeling duty bound to live up to all of the responsibilities in their multiple roles as employee, manager, boss, mother, daughter, friend, sibling… oh and yes, girlfriend or wife was driving all the warmth out of them. With regard to the last two roles, many women have been reduced to just giving sex to get men off their backs and possibly experience the “loveless” relief of intimacy free sex.
By the way, when women feel these responsibilities they fulfill them by the even more exhausting necessity to be present. On the other hand men will more often delegate them to others (as when they have custody of their children for a weekend and farm them out to housekeepers and nannies) and still feel that they are living up to their responsibilities even when not present.
In recent years, women I coach or mentor rarely talk about losing their warmth. If it does come up it will be in the form of feeling badly that they are so irritable and impatient with their children when they’re dawdling or not doing something they’re supposed to. Rarely if ever does it come up with regard to a boyfriend or husband (as in bemoaning their bitchiness which many feel justified in because of how immature and childish men can behave). As one client told me, couples would get along well if only men would realize that all women are crazy and women would realize and just accept that all men are babies (this may explain the anxious anticipation of my next book that is due in October, Talking to Crazy: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life).
Recently I was seeing a smart, strong, driven and beautiful woman named Alicia Dunams, CEO of Best Seller in a Weekend, and showed her the following video:
It made her very uncomfortable and she could hardly sit still. When we drilled down to find out why, what came out was that it touched a nerve deep within her and very close to her identity, ability and maybe even responsibility as a woman to bring patience, warmth and tenderness (an emotion that is all but extinct) into her world and into the world.
Her nervousness was that long ago she had denied and disavowed such core feelings in order to fulfill all her more practical responsibilities and more recently to get her piece of the action since she too had caught the adrenaline/pedal to metal bug of being an entrepreneur.
Now again, this may be the “baby boomer” in me coming out, but it seems to me that the rationality informed kindness of a man is a distant second to the unfettered warmth of a woman. And a world without warmth* is… er.. ah… the world that we seem to be moving into at the speed of Moore's Law.
It’s a world that is connected more than it connects, a world where compassion has been replaced by impatience, where joy had been replaced by excitement, where collaboration has been replaced by terrorism and counter terrorism.
Women are and have always been our best hope for the world, and if in their legitimate drive to get their piece of the action is at the cost of peace of mind and peace on earth, is that too dear a price to pay?
What do you think?
Is any of the above relevant or is it just the doddering of a baby boomer who should just shut up, move over, let all of you younger generations have your turn and just “go gently into that good night instead of raging against the dying of the light?”
*To counter this loss of warmth my partner, Emmy winning documentary filmmaker, Brian Bernhard, Owner/Producer at Blight Productions and I have begun a campaign to Heal the World, One Conversation at a Time by creating "Conversation Catalysts" to trigger healing and warm conversations such as;