You see a group of women sitting in a cafe. What do you think they are talking about? I keep asking this question from practically everyone I meet these days as this is part of my research routine for DrivenWoman. I want to understand what is going on, what is happening in women’s world. I can’t take myself as a very good average representation as I’m often a bit off the charts, so ‘driven’ that I hardly speak to anyone!
Invariably the answer is ‘babies and shopping’. BABIES AND SHOPPING, I scream! Don’t get me wrong, I love babies and it is important to talk about them every now and again. Especially when you are a new mother (I have 4 year old twin boys) the only thing you are is A Mother. And shopping, oh yes, I always need a new wardrobe! But I just refuse to believe we have not got much more to offer to the world. When I research the most popular women’s websites and forums I get more validation for this view. We really are obsessed with babies, beauty and shopping! Then there is the other extreme, high flying career advice websites, ‘be tough and lean in’. In the career end of the spectrum one is supposed to stop the baby talk and never compare lipsticks again! Is the world really so black and white? Are we so black and white? Or are we yet to define our own rules how we want to play?
I have the greatest dermatologist in the world. From the first moment I met her I know she was special. She was just oozing dedication and love for what she was doing. I have seen her for about two years now. We’ve gotten to know each other slowly and she has started to reveal her ambitions to me. She wants to start her own salon. Our beauty sessions have turned into entrepreneurship coaching. I asked her my cafe shop question and she gave me the same answer as everybody else. Then I asked her if she talked about her dream with her friends. She said, oh god no. Why? Because she would feel embarrassed, her friends might think she would try and fail.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Sleepwalk all our lives conforming to what we think we should be talking and thinking? Or do we really not want anything for ourselves (and I don’t mean new shoes or love)? Do we not want to MAKE anything of ourselves? Are women really just happy to shop? Are we so fixated to please others (our parents, friends, men, society) and to confirm to other people’s expectations that we can’t break free and do something remarkable? It is like that silly marriage I was talking about in my earlier post where one self-censors to the imaginary ideals of the other person.
What if one day women in that fictional cafe would decide to open up and share their dreams and ambitions with each other? What if women would not be afraid of the reaction from other people and would be free to express what they want? What could happen? Miracles, I think!
On our mission to fix this, we are announcing our first live event in London on 24th of April 5 pm. It will be a free event in a Central London location. The topic is ‘What women want and how are their going to get it.’ We want to discuss the real frustrations and fears of women who dream of doing something for themselves, be if picking up on their exercise routine, starting a business or re-defining themselves after motherhood. Please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend.