Yesterday, I wore pleather. Oddly enough, it caused me to think a lot about women and how we interact with one another.
My first pair of pleather pants? University. Very shiny. I still have those pants. They'll never fit me again (and that's cool), but they stay in the Halloween box. Because those pants were fun.
They also seemed to bring judgment. Generally from other women. Actually, always from other women. But only the ones I didn't know.
Today I was wearing my modern day pleather pants. Also very shiny.
One woman client complimented me on them. That was lovely. Lots of my friend have complimented me.
But it's not why I'm writing this post. I'm not looking for compliments.
I'm writing it because a woman I didn't know, in the supermarket, looked me up and down in that way women only do to other women. In that icky, aggressive way.
This still triggers me. Probably because it physically hurts to feel judged. For all of us. And I think women are tired of being judged for the little tiny choices they make every day, not to mention the bigger ones like staying at home with kids or going to work with kids, or choosing not to have kids at all, or for daring to have a position of power.
In this case, I knew it wasn't really judgment of me.
I know that when we don't feel safe (secure) in ourselves, it manifests as in-security. We feel un-secured, and the ego mind tries to ground itself to something, even if that something is judgment.
That judgment is generally of ourselves. We get stuck in stories of not enough or too much or what is or is not appropriate based on our own worldview. But because it's easier to project than to own (or we don't know how to own it), we externalise it.
This isn't surprising given the insidiousness of the conditioning every one of us has had to deal with around what's considered beautiful, what body type we "should" have, the achievements we "should" have, who or what we think we should be and in this case - what we should or shouldn't wear.
We've been made to believe that we have to compete with other women - for men, for partners, for jobs, for friendships, because in too many cases we have. For much of the time resources for women have been scarce.
So, it's a hard cycle to break which clearly has very little to do with pleather and much to do with allowing ourselves to flourish. Giving ourselves permission. And giving it to other women too.
Women's inherent tendency to nurture and support seems to translate pretty well to people we know, but not always to those we don't. That whole tribe thing. We find it easier to support those we know, those that are like us.
This is awesome, but we can move further. Because as long as we're busy policing, judging and/or competing with any woman, none of us can really thrive.
In the past few years, especially in business, I've seen so much evidence of women that are moving beyond. I'm lucky to be involved in several women's business group founded on support rather than selling and I've seen younger women pulling together creating Facebook groups to help each other out. I admire the incredible human beings who started these groups because they want us all to succeed.
And really, I think that deep down we all want that. Because deep down we all know that we're so much better off when that happens. Sometimes we just let the distraction of scarcity get in the way.
So rock whatever you feel like rocking. Be proud. Do you. And give all the awesome women around you permission to do the same. x