How did you react to the “#girlblog” title? Maybe you smiled. Or maybe you thought, “Who is she calling a “girl” … and why? Or maybe you shrugged and moved on. Your response may well depend on your age. And your familiarity with TikTok. We’ve seen a wave of #girl the past few months. Girl dinners, random food from the fridge, eaten alone, possibly standing over the sink. Hot girl walks, taken without a companion and without regard to how the walker looks. Even girl rotting, which seems to mean lying around your room doing nothing for hours on end. Young women have shared images of their girl moments on social media. Eating, walking, or lounging, what they have in common the absence of male participation. Thus #girl. For many of us, “girl” has long felt insulting or patronizing. As full-grown adult women, we want to be seen as equals to our male counterparts, not children to be patted on the head and indulged. Or dismissed.
Women in Business
Weak words? Soft talk? There it is, in the New York Times. Women have permission for soft talk. “’Stop using weak language.’ If you’re a woman, you’ve probably gotten this advice from a mentor, a coach or a teacher. If you want to be heard, use more forceful language. This advice may be well intentioned, but it’s misguided.” Having been one of those mentors, coaches, or teachers, I’d like a word … In his NYT Guest Essay, Dr. Adam Grant explains why “weak language” is beneficial for women. The gist is that when women are direct, strong, and straight-forward, they ruffle men’s feathers and wind up getting slapped down in the end.
Set the stage for a little laughter. There’s a reason radio stations still tout their “morning man.” The main players in morning drive radio are, in fact, still men. There’s a reason for that too. Everybody knows women are not funny. I’m not kidding. The broadcasting bigwigs will tell you that, to your face. And they’ll use it as an excuse to hire women for the later time slots with smaller audiences, or for morning sidekick roles doing the news or the traffic. This assumption that humor is exclusively a male purview has implications way beyond broadcasting though. It influences how women are perceived when we’re speaking at conferences, board meetings, and even on webinars. Here’s what turned up in research for a piece in Harvard Business Review:
One sure way to have a more powerful, professional presence is to fully occupy our space. And we can’t possibly do that if we’re slouching or slumping or hunching. Sitting at a conference table, or at our desk in front of a Zoom screen, we make a stronger impression when we’re grounded, centered, and upright. That means both feet are flat on the floor and our seat is firmly in the chair. Our spine is straight, our shoulders are back and down, and we hold our head up high. It’s probably not a surprise that the men in a meeting are more likely than women to take up space. Sometimes to a fault.
We need to show up. Women of “a certain age” often complain that they’ve somehow become invisible. You’ll hear 44-year-olds say nobody notices them anymore! I’m saying we don’t have to settle into invisibility, no matter how many years we have behind us. There are steps we can take on the outside and on the inside to make sure we’re seen and heard. We can make the kind of impact we’ve always made. Get noticed the way we always have. And let go of the impulse to hide our age from the rest of the world.