It felt like a lovely bit of serendipity that yesterday Mila Kunis released an inspiring piece about pushing back against misogyny in the entertainment business, and today inspiring new visuals for the Wonder Woman movie were released.
First off, Mila Kunis, amazing actress and producer, came out this week in an Op-Ed on a-plus with her harrowing experiences in the workplace feeling threatened and being diminished or 'compromised' and 'compromising' to serve men's interest.
Most inspiring was her powerful message that moving forward she will aggressively defend herself with overt push back to micro aggressions, and will cease working with offenders. "I will work again in this town, but I won't work with you."
As a woman in business myself I've frequently felt compromised or compromising. Even as a business owner/CEO and entrepreneur (at The Ten Spot Beauty Bars) I've been mansplained to death by colleagues and contractors alike.
Worse yet, I've frequently been in situations where professional men with whom I have to interact come off as unknowingly condescending, and evidently because I am a woman.
Complicating this is sometimes the people who make these comments are people you like, or people your success requires you to continue working with.
The most acute example that comes to mind for me involved a mission-critical meeting several years ago. We were hashing out an agreement that would have a major impact on our cross-Canada beauty business, and the majority of the room were women including myself and my accomplished CFO -- a CPA and all around bright person (love ya, Laura).
The other three women represented the other organization, and the sixth participant was a very senior man in that company. As I mentioned, he was someone I liked (and continue to like). some time into the chat he'd not participated in a while and literally said "Look at you ladies, you don't even need me here." After an awkward pause with awkward smiles and maybe an awkward laugh, we all kept going, continuing the negotiation, and letting the infraction pass.
It's funny because for me it took some time to sink in how insidious the comment was. Imagine applying the same comment to a minority group, for example. It seemed to be a window into how patronizing some privileged men can be; their inner thoughts about women being that we are like children. He was pleasantly surprised we were capable of conducting this business.
And as I said, and as Kunis implies, it is all the more insidious because it is hardwired. He wasn't intentionally malicious. He didn't mean to offend or even realize this 'humour' would be offensive. This is a widespread cognitive distortion and it's really not entirely his fault that 'Don Draper maleness' remains an archetype in so many facets of our lives.
But Mila's right. We have to push back and I didn't. In my example we signed a deal. But where Mila is right I also question how 'mere mortals' action her powerful approach.
I love Wonder Woman as a symbol and I do like the UN's move to appoint her UN Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and girls.
I enjoyed the Batman v. Superman movie, but I really loved her depiction in it and I love the new trailer for a full length Wonder Woman movie
She exceeds her male counterparts in every way. The recently released movie posters emphasize 'wonder', 'power,' and 'courage'.
I feel we all have the wonder and power to change the workplace for all women, but man will it take a lot of courage to live up to Mila's battle cry. Time to polish our shields and swords and steel ourselves to lean in hard!
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