I once had a boss tell me I should show more cleavage, drink and flirt on a business trip with a potential client. I didn't know how to handle it particularly well, ended up doing as suggested, then telling the client and wound up getting written up for bad judgement by my boss. Another boss told me once, while I was producing shows in a male dominated industry, that it wasn't his fault I was a woman. I should bring it up less. I could go on with examples, but I won't. I left that industry.
Now of course every conversation and story can be seen from lots of different perspectives. Certainly as a late twenties woman, I struggled with understanding how to balance femininity, my natural flirty personality, my intellectual capacity and power. I wasn't EVER perfect.
I created and wrote Caution Curves Ahead to explore that feminine and powerful experience. I learned a lot through that project and many of you learned with me. I still struggle today with balancing a strong personality and the expected helpful happy bubbly Summers. At times I'm too bossy and bitchy and at other times too nice and sweet to be effective in getting others to do their share. Learning self advocacy as a woman in business isn't easy. It affects my career and my personal relationships.
This recent Newsweek article is an extremely well written, accurate depiction of the experience of being a feminine entrepreneur. It illustrates the integrated misogyny in so many of our society's structures. I have been petrified to repost it as it might incite the "it's harder to be a white guy because" response. But I am willing to take those punches if they are thrown.
This is what I've set out to change. It is why I have started my company, Delight Wipes and why I am putting everything on the line to do business different. It is scary and I don't know for sure how to pull it off. Through business, I am determined to prove that Beautiful IS Powerful, women can be powerful business leaders, loving wives and generous mothers all at the same time. Hopefully someday, I myself can become someone girls look up to and see that they can have whatever they want.