Status Quo? These 13 Women Said “NO!”
I don’t remember ever having a gut-level emotional response from reading a book introduction. Not just an “okay, this sounds interesting.” I’m talking a squint-eyed, pursed lips, angry response. If you’re passionate about #MeToo and #TimesUp, get ready to have your blood boil a bit when you read Female Firebrands by Mikaela Kiner.
Too often, women forget that what’s happened to them has happened to countless other women. From being overlooked when a well-deserved opportunity comes along to being flatly told to shut up and sit down, it’s all too familiar. Why? Mikaela asks it more pointedly. What’s your too?
What’s Your Too?
Have you been told you’re too ambitious? Not ambitious enough? Or perhaps you’re too direct, or too nice, too strong, or simply “too much.” No matter the label, it’s a reflection of the impossible double standard that women are subjected to. The double standard that
“requires women to be nice but assertive, direct but not aggressive, passionate but not emotional . . .”
If that’s not enough to raise your bp a notch or two, imagine being passed over for a promotion because of “intangible reasons.”
Ms. Kiner does a masterful job of getting the reader’s attention and eliciting a response. Thankfully, she goes on to offer a feast of insights and the inspired words of thirteen women who have risen above the soul-killing negative messages that women encounter on a daily basis.
Here’s a sample of some of my favorites:
“I don’t have a medium setting for caring. I just don’t. If I am going to be true to myself and continue to give my heart, soul, and time to a professional endeavor, then I’m going to do it for something that I care about – – something that I truly, truly, truly care about.”
“My primary goal is to always educate. Meet the person where they are and communicate so they can understand the message you want them to hear. Never hold back . . . My second goal is to make sure I am authentic and courageous – – that I say what I need to say.”
“Sometimes on the weekend my daughter Amala comes to the office with me. She’s very comfortable here. . . her understanding of the kind of work women can do is being shaped by what I do. And I feel responsible for that.”
“There have been times when I’ve been asked to make sure I wear a certain dress and heels and have my hair a certain way, and then to make sure I sit next to certain men in meetings. I’m not going to do that again. That crossed the line for me.”
Knowledge is Power
Yes, knowledge is power. And imparting that knowledge through inspirational stories and messages is the fuel for that power. If you read only one book this year, Female Firebrands should be it. And share its energy with your daughters, your friends . . . or even that woman you know whose eyes are begging for a lifeline that leads to a better tomorrow. They, like you, are all capable of leading magnificent lives.