Last night’s election seems to have sent the majority of this country into a tailspin of emotion, confusion and frustration. People are wondering where we go from here and what this election means for us as a people. I know for me, like many, it was a somber morning. I was angry. Restless. Emotional. But also, fired up. Enlivened. Ready to pounce.
I’m tired of being told that our country isn’t sexist. I’m tired of being told that in today’s world, women truly have no limitations. I’m tired of people telling me that being a woman has nothing to do with the fact that it was difficult to raise money in Silicon Valley – that the real issue was in our growth and traction. I’m tired of hearing that I was wrong to assume it was sexism that allowed a company (now defunct, I might had) in the exact same space with a male CEO go out and raise millions (literally, millions) on their first round. This male CEO had ZERO experience in the fitness industry and magically raised millions without even a working prototype. We couldn’t even raise $1M – let alone plural millions – and we had customers. We had a product. And numbers. And most importantly, a damn good vision. At the time, I would think to myself, what the fuck gives? Seriously. What am I not doing? How are we NOT winning?
I NEVER talk about this. I’ve almost been trained NOT to talk about this. It’s taboo. It’s just not what you do. Even other female founders I’d talk to would say, yeah sometimes people can be a little sexist but ultimately, it’s not a gender thing. And I’d walk away thinking, ok then it’s me. It’s a me thing. What don’t I have? I have the hustle, the passion, the fortitude, the vision and the team. I have the endurance and willingness. What is it that I’m truly missing? Ultimately, I decided it wasn’t just that I was missing a penis, it must have been, it had to be something else. Because…..they said so.
It wasn’t because we went into meetings and had investors actually call us and our “little ideas” cute. It wasn’t because one “meeting” started to feel a lot more like a date than an actual meeting. It wasn’t even because we had boobs as one investor so blatantly said during a startup event. It couldn’t be any of those things because this country isn’t sexist. And if this country isn’t sexist, then surely I must know that Silicon Valley isn’t sexist either.
I decided that I was wrong. That people weren’t actually judging my ability, my worth, my value, my intelligence by the way I look. By who I am. By my gender. Or hair color. Or by my short stature and high pitched voice. Or by the clothes that I was wearing. I made myself believe that I was a failure on merit and merit alone.
But after last night’s tragedy, I’m just not so sure anymore.
I’m not so sure that the world is as ready for me as they say they are. Lady bosses. Women in business. Women in power. Listen up. We’ve just begun this battle. We finally made it into the room – but now, more than ever, we need to refuse to be quiet – we need to standup even taller, make our voices even louder, and rise up together.
Let’s stop finding ways to pick at each other. Let’s not drag each other down. We’re in this together.
While our voices may not be as deep, our words are still profound. While we might be smaller in frame, we are just as powerful. And even if our muscles are smaller, they are just as strong.
Stay sweaty friends,