Thursday, March 13, 2008
My first stab at femininity
So, I mentioned before that one of the big topics for me is femininity.
I realize this can be a hot topic for a lot of people. But I hope that you'll give me a chance before you blow me off. Just consider what I have to say about it.
What is the first thing you think of when I say the word 'femininity'? Do you think of a 1950's housewife, in the kitchen cooking the perfect dinner? Do you think of that pair of high heeled shoes that you either own or would love to own? Do you think of your makeup bag? Whatever it is that you picture, I would like to share my thoughts on femininity.
I mentioned before that I am a Mary Kay consultant. It is easy to see where being feminine fits into that world isn't it? Everything is pink (in fact we call it our 'pink bubble'), we are selling cosmetics after all, and the majority of the company is made up of women. This is a company which truly understands what the most important things in a woman's life are. God, Family, and Career. Not only do they understand that, but they expect every woman in the company to order her life that way. God first, Family second, Career third. I don't know what you think, but that blew me away. This company embraces family so closely, that it is still a privately owned family company even! This company encourages women to think like women, to do business like women, to lift each other up like women naturally do. Wait a minute--women lift each other up? They do! I know it doesn't always seem that way...but women naturally want to help each other, and befriend each other. The world may not always encourage that, but this company does. You actually will not succeed in this company unless you help the women around you. I love that.
What I haven't mentioned is that my full time job is selling Power Tools. Power Tools? What? What is feminine about that? Well, honestly, not much. I'd say that 99% of the business I am in is male dominated...obviously. As a woman in this business, there are times that I have to 'prove' my knowledge. I have to prove that I know what I'm talking about. I have to prove that I am knowledgeable about the tools that I sell. And it isn't always easy. There are times (though it is rare) when the man on the other side of the phone, asks to speak to a male before he even gives me a chance. Like I said, it is rare. It maybe happens twice a year. Maybe. When that happens, it isn't worth the argument, and I transfer them off to one of my coworkers. But most of the time, the man on the other end of the phone is very receptive to me. Especially once they realize that I really do know what I'm talking about. What is my point? Well, even through selling power tools, and speaking knowledgeably, I remain obviously female. I am not talking just about the sound of my voice (which obviously I cannot change), I am talking about the way that I speak, the phrases I use, the way I converse. I am not willing to 'become a man' and jeopardize myself as a woman in order to survive in this job. It isn't necessary first of all. My customers expect me to answer when they call, and they even ask for me if I don't answer the phone. Am I proud of that? Absolutely. Did I have to work hard to gain that respect? Very. But did I loose my femininity in the process? Nope. Most of them even know that I sell Mary Kay too. They think it is fantastic. Yes, most of the time I wear boots and jeans to work--on the off chance that I'm going to have to give a tool demo to a walk-in customer, but I wear makeup everyday (even though most of my business is on the phone), I wear pink shirts (and shoes!), I look like a girl everyday! I actually really love being feminine in a male world. It took some getting used to...but I really love it.
I am going to end this post for the moment (hopefully I'll get to at least one more tonight) but I am nowhere near done on this topic. I just think I should break it up into smaller pieces, rather than make a whole long one. :)