FIRST THOUGHT: What Happens When You Speak Up
Is there anything scarier than awkwardly mingling with co-workers at a company party? You betcha! It’s when one of them brings up the dreaded subject of politics. You cringe, suck down your chardonnay too fast and conjure up an escape plan. You will your phone to ring. You’re stuck. You nod and smile. “I can totally keep my mouth closed,” you think. Then, Greg from accounting starts talking about how women’s rights are no big deal. For a second, you think you must be in an episode of Mad Men. No one says a single word. So you stand tall, take a deep breath and speak up. After all, you are a woman, so why wouldn’t you?
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 4
Advertisements can do amazing things. They can also make girls and women feel like complete crap. Because of this, Madonna Badger from advertising agency Badger & Winters started an awareness campaign called #WomenNotObjects, and four is the number of filters it uses to identify when women are being objectified in advertisements, like asking if a woman has been reduced to a single body part or retouched beyond recognition. The movement intends to show how ads objectify women. Because we see those ads every dang day, they’re negatively affecting our self-esteem and self-worth. So, the next time you’re feeling bad about yourself because you have pores and cellulite and frizzy hair because—hey, you’re real—check out this Tumblr: womennotobjects.tumblr.com. It’ll remind you to separate fact from fiction.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Wendy Davis, Founder of Deeds Not Words
You remember her 11-hour-long filibuster in 2013, and you probably even remember the coral-colored tennis shoes she wore. Her name is Wendy Davis. Davis was elected to the Texas Senate in 2008. Fast-forward six years, and Davis was running for governor of Texas. Spoiler alert: She lost, big time. As a single mom working her way up through Harvard Law School and now, as a defeated gubernatorial candidate, Davis did what she always did. She pulled herself up by her bootstraps. (How very Texan!)
Davis admits that when met with the loss, she was worried her days of inspiring women were over. But Davis’ genuine devotion to women’s rights didn’t vanish when the haters pushed her out of the political ring. In fact, it gave her a greater platform to stand on and a more strategic position to reach and expand her audience from one state to 50. At South By Southwest 2016, Davis launched a super cool concept: Deeds Not Words, a spin on a century-old women’s-rights motto. While the motto was coined by England’s suffragettes, who rallied behind the slogan “deeds not words,” it was American activist Alice Paul who brought the motto to the United States. History lesson aside, the concept is a call for women to stand up for what they believe is right.
The online engagement initiative summons 38 million millennial women to use the site as a way to connect with other activists, receive advice, meet allies and exchange ideas. Instructive toolkits highlight worthy topics women must still fight for, such as equal pay, paid family leave, reproductive rights, health care and more.
It is Davis’ hope that Deeds Not Words will empower women to unite and become leaders of change in their own communities. Because, remember: We’re all in this together, ladies.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Wendy Davis wrote an article once admitting she voted for an issue she didn’t stand for. Hindsight is 20/20, and I think she took F. Scott Fitzgerald’s advice to heart when he said:
“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. And if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.