A new ally

Sometimes, out of the blue, you just meet some people that inspire you. Those people whose charisma is palpable and that inject some new energy in you, just by “being themselves”.

I was going through a bit of a difficult time. You know, those moments in life in which you ask yourself some questions and can’t get to an answer. It was during those days that I had the chance to talk to her.

I did see her already around our office floor. Impossible not to like her and notice the fierce look and the confidence. But it has been during a girls-only dinner, organised by our Company, that she said couple of things that I am going to write here as well. We were talking about equity, about feminism. Almost a mandatory topic in a girls-only dinner for celebrating Woman’s day, where girls are the minority in a Company.

I never write posts about feminism (equality, not supremacy!), because I probably worry about how people would read and judge them. Because, you know, there have been so many misleading comments and theories that it would take too much to explain my point of view.

However, I have a different background than my male counterparts and I can see the differences. I know what it means being catcalled, for instance, which never happens (or happened!) to my male friends. I can see the cultural flaws and, while I do not consider myself a “victim” of any sort, I admit there are some reaction differences towards the one or the other sex’s life/work choices that should not be there in a generic case.

As follows, some illustrations by Carol Rossetti that bring some examples.

Find many others on her website (I picked the ones that seemed more accurate for this post, but there are so many others covering different topics!)

What that girl taught me, that evening, is that I do not have to be scared about speaking my mind, or care too much about what others could think. Because, well, if I motivate at least one person, then my job is done.

She has a name though; her name is Frida. Yes. Isn’t it amazing?

Her name, together with her as a person, defines the revolution within that body. A beautiful, successful young woman who cares about other women. That educates them to empower each other, because “we have been taught that, if there is another woman in the room, she is going to get our job or we are going to lose something. This is not true. We should help each other, and not think that there is space for only one of us”.

She also tried to bring to attention the fact that “it is so easy to say feminism and equality is defined by obvious things such as salaries, employment, parenthood etc.” For her it should always be that “women and men, no matter sexual orientation, have the same playground and can play by the same rules”.

And again, “We, women, can own our sexuality in the same way a man can. That we can be sexual and serious, and not valued or defined by our looks. Never excuse yourself for who you are just because it doesn’t fit the box.”

I also loved when she explained some stuff to another bunch of girls, by describing it this way: “You can decide to be pretty, and thick that box. Then you can do something well, and thick that one. But you can’t thick too many boxes, you can’t be too much, otherwise there is something that does not work. For instance you cannot be beautiful, dress sexy and be professional – and this is wrong” (mind this quote might not be 100% accurate)

She said she’s on a mission. I sat next to her, munching my salad, very interested at other people’s reactions to her speech. Some appeared surprised, as if they never realized it before. A girl said that she does not see the need of equality since she never had problems with that. Another one complained about that kind of “feminists” that keep repeating women are above men. But of all them, Frida surprised me. Not only she really cared, but she shared quite a big part of what I think… and said them with a much better wording :)

The day after, I sent her a message. To thank her for what she did. To let her know it has been appreciated, and that she has been good. Because you know, you always have to give credit when it’s due. You are making people happy and feel worthy. You fuel their passions. You help making the world a better place.