Have you ever thought or said to someone else, “don’t treat me differently, I’m just like them”? I have, and the who that defines the “them” for me is guys. For so many years, since being in high school and trying to fit in, I have focused on trying to be one of the guys. I’m not entirely sure what it was about being one of the guys back then, but I am starting to see it more clearly now for my adult life. I do know that a lot of what I’ve struggled with personally for the majority of my life is being seen as weak. I think a lot of us women struggle with this. That’s just one reason that we women try to be seen no differently than men.
But is being different really that bad? For some of us, yes. For some, no. I can look back to when I was working for my Fraternity and traveling and meeting with the Brothers who were older than me, and see that I was trying to fit in with the guys, especially when it came to being able to drink bourbon. As I’m reflecting, I can see that I was trying to be seen as strong as the guys. I didn’t want to be considered to be weak. As the years have gone by, I’ve still tried to fit into being “one of the guys”.
As I progressed professionally, I really wanted to be considered one of the guys. I didn’t know why, but that is what my subconscious drove me to do. At the same time, I ensured that I stayed away from any notion of being considered a feminist. I saw that title as something that would be harmful to my dreams. Now that so much has changed in the past couple of years, I realize that I was doing what society deemed normal: women who want to advance in their careers cannot be seen as being a girly girl, emotional, or even just a woman. I’ve also learned that there are so many different definitions of being a feminist.
Growing up being told, “you better not cry or I’ll give you something to cry about”, not having any close role models of successful women, and seeing that business involved a lot of men who work hard and drink harder, I had the stage set for what I knew was “acceptable.” The problem is that all of this was holding me back from being who I am as a human and as a woman. Hell, I even joined some local Toyota and offroad groups that are primarily made up of men and tried to be “one of the guys.” This need to be “one of the guys” is so deeply ingrained in my subconscious that I have a lot of work to do to lean into being me, a strong, emotional, and successful woman.
I am learning that I don’t want to be “one of the guys”. I want to be me. I want to embrace being a woman. I want to let myself be a girly girl if I want to be. I want to let myself like the color pink. I want to embrace friendships with women. I want to look to women mentors and advocates. I want to embrace being a woman who loves to be outdoors with my 4Runner. I want to inspire and be a role model for young girls and women to be who they are regardless of their gender.
I am finding that the more I open my mind to myself leaning into my womanness, I want to advocate for other women. I realize how damaging society is to us women. I finally recognize so much about how our society minimizes and harms so many people. I am reading my second professional growth book written by a woman and just realized that while yes, I’ve read many personal growth books by women, I read professional growth books primarily by men. I follow more professional men than I do women. Why? Because there are far fewer professional women that we hear about.
I am tired of trying to be “one of the guys.” I am going to start blazing my own trail to be me: a multi-passionate woman who leads the way for other women. I don’t know how I’m going to do this yet, but I do know that I am turning a page in my book to find new ways to do things that do not limit the fact that I am a woman.
I’m one of them. What does that mean? To me, now that means that I am one of the women who say enough is enough. Women are human and deserve to be acknowledged for their accomplishments and looked to as role models independently from being compared to men. It is time to stop limiting ourselves because we are women. It is time to stop letting society define us because we are women. We are not weak. We are human, and we matter.
I’m one of them. I am a multi-passionate woman who works hard and plays hard. I am me.