Women Supporting Women?

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Motivation Monday Edition

Women Supporting Women?

I have always been a strong advocate for women supporting women, especially when it comes to women in male-dominated industries. In broad terms, that might categorize me as a feminist However, if I am a feminist, then I am one with a twist. You see, I do not support many of these so-called female empowerment events. My observation is that many of the influencers hosting these events are Narcissists.

Narcissists and Feminism

Narcissists act confident and superior, but in reality, they are fragile and lack self-esteem.  They have the ability to put out a false persona to get what they want, such as followers, attention, and gifts, but they truly do not care about you or your wellbeing. Overall, their goal is to be seen and take away as much focus from the women needing support so they can use that as a vehicle to further their careers. They pride themselves on finding business weaknesses and use it to garner opportunities for themselves, packaged as an aid for struggling female business owners.  

My Firsthand Experience

I was assisting an influencer with her event not that long ago, but due to COVID-19, it was canceled. She pivoted her event, and it wasn’t until it was close to the date that I observed she started engaging on my social media accounts, most likely in an effort to re-enroll me into promoting her event. At this point, I made the conscious decision to engage in the necessary tasks to build my own business and did not help further her promotions. I’ve had my fair share of interactions with women who pretend that they care about the collective, but really just care about what they will wear for their next posting.

What Women Supporting Women Should Look Like

I am going to share with you what it looks like when women truly, sincerely, and authentically empower one another. During my tenure at a Residential Treatment Facility, I pitched the idea to my boss for us to host an event for the impressionable teenage girls on the campus. RTC was an educational facility for kids and teens in foster care needing a higher level of treatment in regards to mental health. Some were also referred by the PINS petition from Juvenile/Family Court, and others via CSE through the Department of Education.

I listened attentively as my colleagues shared their frustrations about the teenage girls’ sexual experiences, home life, and boredom on the weekends, which would result in criminal-like activities leading to a trip to downtown Brooklyn for central booking. For me, my role was to work with the campus male population. At the time, I was connected to an organization called the Teen Queen Experience (TQE), whose mission is to encourage and empower every young lady to live their very best life by providing the tools and foundation necessary for them to build a secure and positive future. We are committed to changing our community by working in the youth and expanding outward to parents, adults, and neighbors.

I reached out to my contact, shared my concerns, and the founder of TQE agreed to bring the event to the campus. I worked with the TQE for about four months, along with the solicited help of other staff. When the day arrived, staff found excuses not to be a part of the event, placing more strain on me. I informed TQE, and they told me that they recruited additional volunteers for the day.

On the day of the event, 6 students out of 24 registered students showed up. The leading cottage manager wasn’t allowing one of the cottages to attend unless they cleaned up the entire space. I walked into the cottage and assertively informed the cottage manager that they complained that there isn’t enough support for these kids on the weekend, and now that there is something, they are trying to keep the girls away. This is one of the reasons why the kids do not receive the services they need, staff limitations.

Eventually, the girls attended and experienced a wonderful day of engaging with female business owners, free giveaways, swag bags, and engaging in various topics. A few months later, I applied for an internal position in the same company and transferred from their Westchester county location to a Brooklyn site. Here I was able to, again, advocate for TQE to another cohort of girls, giving the organization access to a broader community. I had a connection to Hey There Beautiful Incorporated (HTB), a non-profit whose mission is to empower women and young girls to foster confidence and achieve success. Their vision is to provide support, connection, trust, inspiration, and cultivate leadership skills.

Though I am ardent in what I do, I was concerned about the youth we served in the summer, as this is the season when there is a spike in teens going AWOL. From running away, sex trafficking, rampant psychiatric hospitalizations, and criminal like activities, it feared me. I expressed my concern to the founder of HTB, who responded by offering to create a summer program for our youth. The following summer, HTB set up a summer camp program geared to kids ages 8-12, and a summer internship program for our teens. The program I worked in had a feature where foster parents could meet once a month for trainings and support over an agency-sponsored dinner that I organized.

After my tenure with that company, I was offered a Supervisor position for a well-known Domestic Violence program in New York City. During my time there, I was able to utilize my community resources and connect with Meredith Mallory of 500backpacks.  Meredith Mallory donated 30 backpacks for the 2019 school year to kids in our shelter and a few other programs within the agency. In addition, an artist came to our Survivor Support Group and engaged our clients in beginners drawing as a means to a therapeutic end.

This is what women supporting women and their community looks like without looking for a kickback.

Final Thoughts

I am challenging each and every woman reading this to do something for another female business owner, someone you don’t know, and not look for anything in return. No damn social media shout outs and no “remember me” double-sided comments. Why am I asking this of you? Because “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” Proverbs 11:25.

Notice that I did not command or direct you to do something for someone else. I am challenging you, meaning you do not have to participate if you do not want to.

And, for God’s sake, if anyone is telling you that you must help certain people because you are blessed and should do so because you have a lot to offer, don’t be fooled. That is manipulation. When you listen to this and continue giving from an empty cup, you are going to burn yourself out. Helping others is great, but make sure your own cup is filled first. So, no, there are no obligations here. I am offering you to follow your heart to support someone that you are DRAWN to. Not because you have to.

Before you book a ticket to your next female empowerment event, look at the number of followers the host(s) have versus how many people they are following back. Look at their engagement too. Are they always dressed up in their posted photos? Are they publishing more selfies and content centered around them than the actual cause?

As a final note, seek authenticity, goal-driven, open-hearted influencers. Don’t be blinded by their perfect profile, smiles, and outfits. Dig deeper than that to see what their core values are, and if it is anything other than helping and supporting women like they proclaim, then leave them behind. You and women across the globe deserve much better than that.

You have to be the CHANGE you want to SEE!

Confectionately Yours,