Women – we are a territorial, fierce lot. Like female lions, we often do the hunting, take care of the cubs, and lament over our male counterparts who are lounging under the tree.
So, why do we talk to each other as if we’re anything but fierce? Why do we ignore our vast intelligence and focus, instead, on our shades of lipstick?
We greet each other like we’re still in the era of Mad Men . . .
The first time I watched Mad Men, I actually ended up being mad. Not so much at the advertising agency, but at what women had to endure in that time period. Every positive contribution made was altered by some comment about the woman’s physical appearance.
Now, it seems we’ve adopted this approach with each other.
I’ve collected a series of greetings that I’ve heard women use over the past few weeks. I’ve listened in restaurants, and stores, and anywhere women are meeting and greeting. I stopped listening after the initial greeting lest they arrest me for being a creeper:
- “Hey there, sweetie, it’s been too long! You look wonderful. Have you lost weight?”
- “My bitches are here! “
- “Good to see you. I love that shade of lipstick on you.”
- “Wow, did you get a haircut? It’s just adorable.”
- “I heard you got a new job. That’s awesome. Have you gone shopping yet for your new work outfits?”
Maybe if we just start with names . . .
One of the first things you’ll learn in communications classes is the importance of names. Names personalize interactions and declare that the person we’re addressing has value. So why do women so often get referenced with vaguaries such as honey, darling, sweetie, bitch, and ho? [quote button_text=”Tweet the Quote”]So many terms for females are used to remove our power.[/quote] Unless it’s your great Aunt Martha who calls everybody sweetie, or Flo from Alice, we shouldn’t accept weaker references . . .especially in the workplace.
I’m not sure what you’ve experienced, but I don’t hear many male CEO’s enter a room, only to have their Head of Risk Management say, “Hey darlin’, did you get those reports I sent you?” OR “Hi Bill, I have your reports but let me say that suit you’re wearing is really slimming.”
We have been educated over decades to pay very close attention to how we look. Click here to check out the media messages women have received on a regular basis.
Our new power phrases could be . . .
I don’t know, I’m just thinking that none of these comments reflect the ferocity that is a part of the female make-up. Perhaps we could try these greetings:
- “Hey there, [use name], it’s been too long! You look as strong as ever. Tell me all about your latest accomplishment!
- “My power women are here!”
- “Good to see you [name], I love the confidence I see in your face. It makes you glow.”
- “Did you get a new haircut, [name]? It complements your intelligent face.”
- “I heard you got a new job, [name]. That’s awesome. Tell me all about your responsibilities and your plans for success.”
Yes, I know sometimes we are just friends using familiar terms . . .
But, words matter. They impact our confidence — even the compliments. Our words remind us to be self-conscious, to feel that our looks will make or break us.
Try this: The next time a male you know is getting ready to make a presentation, say, “Hey Dude, good luck. That suit is something, and, darlin’, your hair is so cute. Good luck on your presentation!”
See how much power he exudes on that podium.
P.S. Click here to see a wonderful presentation by Amy Cuddy on TED about power poses. If you haven’t seen it, you should!