I recently walked past a gathering of women who were chanting “proud to be a woman.” Most of them wore pink knit hats and ill-fitting clothes that may or may not have been clean. And being from a very small town, I knew most of them, or at least have seen them a time or two. One woman in particular stopped her chanting to come say hello to me. She asked if I was there to support women. I told her that I support women every day, not just today. I support myself by going to my job every morning and giving my very best effort. I support other women by not wasting the opportunity to complement them sincerely on good behavior, professional clothing, or personal accomplishments. I don’t have to own a pink knit hat or chant in the streets to bash over the heads of people that I am a proud woman. What else would I be?
I really never thought of myself as a conservative woman until the last few years. I have always believed in things that a conservative woman tends to believe, but never really put myself in the position of conservative. Until, I would be against stiff opposition when I would say that there are jobs and career choices where women have no business belonging. Sure, if a woman is truly capable of performing the task at hand without any assistance, then maybe she would fit. However, if a woman is a wildland firefighter, she had better be able to pick up her equipment, firehose, and anything else needed when there is a “bug out.” If she breaks down and cries because there is no one to help her, she is creating a very dangerous situation, not just for her, but also for the entire crew.
I would be ridiculed for believing that women should act like women. One does not need to insist on dressing and behaving like a man, to make your platform known. In the corporate world, Mary Kay Ash would often be accused of “thinking like a woman.” But that did not change the way she dressed or presented herself. With dignity and grace, she made corporate men understand that thinking like a woman was not a bad thing.
Mary Kay Ash and her vision to help women become who they were intended to be has fueled my motivation to, not only help myself become who I am intended to be, but also help women around me. In her company, Mary Kay Cosmetics, she insisted that women wear skirts and pantyhose when corporate women were wearing pantsuits. She believed that when a woman looked go, she also felt good. And when a woman felt good, she was unstoppable.
Don’t get my words twisted, thinking and acting like a woman does not necessarily mean being meek or bashful. It means that you know who you are. Knowing who you are gives you freedom. Because when you are the person you are intended to be, you are able to give freedom to others to be who they are intended to be.
Truly, the top issue that drives me would be simply, think like a woman and you will act like a woman, then others will treat you with a greater respect.