As we make our way through Women’s History Month I feel like it’s incredibly necessary to state some of the myths, misconceptions and mess-up nonsense that women entrepreneurs have to deal with.
Having worked with the media basically my entire life, I’m aware of some of the unfair statements and ridiculousness that we business women have to deal with. Just recently took my daughter to work with me so she can see me in action first hand, because back in the day the media did a good job of not highlighting people like me doing the things I do. I don’t necessarily think this was intentional, after all, growing up we were all bombarded with images of white men and women doing great things and making money. Being black back then meant that you were the first to die in the movie, you were the ‘criminal’ or the ‘gangster’ or ‘you needed help for just .50cents a day’. It was infinitely worse if you were a black woman in that you were basically born to silently serve your man and raise his children all before the age of 30. It was just the way it was, but things have changed and I want my daughter and her friends to finally see that being black and a woman is more than just a blessing, it’s like literally hitting the lottery. I want them to feel like anything is possible so they can show up as their best selves.
So while I do my part helping women of color spread their message through the media, I am also very aware that I am being watched and admired. I see it as my duty to leave a legacy for the all up and coming Black Queens.
That being said, there are quite a few things the media gets wrong went addressing us
1: We can’t run a business because we’re too emotional, too difficult, too [insert nonsense here]
What is too emotional? Like what does that even mean? How is suggesting a new idea or offering an opinion ‘being difficult’? I have never heard a man being too emotional or difficult at anything, because he’s often described as assertive, confident and bold but a woman who has the exact same traits is labeled differently? To make matters worse, some conclude that the reason behind ‘her behavior’ is definitely because ‘it’s that time of the month’. Listen, it’s about high time the media portrays both men and women who exhibit the same qualities as equal. As women entrepreneurs, we have to be unafraid of being labeled and just do what we were born to do, regardless of what anyone says.
2: We have no idea what we’re doing (unless there’s a man on our team to guide us)
Didn’t you hear? Women in business are just glorified secretaries who have no business playing with the ‘big boys’. Our job is to sit, look pretty and probably grab coffee. Think about it, the media often portrays women as ‘eye candy’ and in no way savvy enough to make any meaningful impact in the boardroom. Such crap if you ask me. Don’t get me wrong, we women need men for a lot of things like opening a jar or killing a spider (I’m deathly afraid of them)…..but running a business isn’t one of them. We are smart, opinionated and strong and gone are the days where we’re overlooked, ignored or outright dismissed UNLESS our thoughts or opinions are validated by a man. Yeah….that crap has to stop. In business your gender does not give you an automatic deduction in points, we’re equal to everyone and we’re here to stay.
3: We don’t belong in any industry that doesn’t involve food, makeup or clothing
While it may seem like we do great in some industries, we can be included in all. Just like men can be chefs and fashion designers, women can dominate in technology and construction. It is what it is, so just deal with it.
4: We can’t make decisions
We’re basically bad at everything outside of cooking, cleaning or raising children. Money isn’t our thing either because we’re too busy shopping, spending our last dime on shoes and clothes. Like we’re all somehow Carrie Bradshaw of SATC. Listen, again this is how the media tries to portray us and for some reason we women internalize this and it manifests in us undercharging, offering discounts that no one asked for and questioning ourselves. Listen Queen, you are damn good at what you do and don’t devalue yourself. You are more than capable of making top level, executive decisions…see #1
5: We can’t work together
We’re catty, emotional backstabbers and too many women in a room means trouble. That comes out in many ways. “I can’t work with women, I prefer to work with men”……hun listen to yourself, that’s the man talking….divide and conquer. We’re not falling for it. Women need to come together, collaborate and build empires. We’re not enemies, we’re allies in business and quite frankly if I was a man, I’d be afraid too….could you imagine how much we could achieve if we just worked together? The possibilities would be endless.
6: We need to choose between motherhood and our careers
I have never heard a single man being asked “How do you juggle your career with your responsibilities of being a dad?” Never. Not once. Why the hell is that? And why do we have to choose? Seems crazy to me. We can have it all, do it all and be ok with it and if that means asking for help then it doesn’t make you less of a woman, it makes you human. Don’t let the media or society tell you otherwise.
7: We’re bound to fail because……..well, we’re women
It’s true that we have it harder than anyone else because we’re black women, but understand that it is not a recipe for failure. We’re hard working, tenacious and we’ve been through some things. I was outright told that my gender and ethnicity made me unqualified to do what I do, but here I am receiving awards, appearing on Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine and other prestigious media and serving my clients and helping them achieve global recognition. I’m doing pretty good for someone who shouldn’t even exist in the world I’m in.
Listen hun, I’m here, just like you are. We’re changing lives and making what once seemed impossible, possible. You belong and don’t let anyone dare tell you otherwise. By just showing up, you are doing your part by helping change the narrative and we need more courageous women like you to not just position yourselves as leaders but speak up for our sisters who might be struggling or who might be falling victim to the patriarchal rules of business. It’s possible and we’ve got to do it for our children and our children’s children. So I ask you……are you ready?