“I’ve never had a woman ask for a raise.” – Donny Deutsch, on MSNBC
“Uh, that’s not exactly true…but point taken.” -Me having worked at Deutsch
Katherine Stone’s sleeve, according to her friends and fans.
And psst…thanks to Olympus which is letting me test out the Pen Lite E-PL3 for review. I’m still working on the indoor settings as you can tell.
One of the first things you learn in school when you’re writing ad copy is to ask for the order. “Act now!” “Call this number.” “Get yours today.” And yet if you think about women in general, that seems to be one of the hardest things to do: to know our worth. To be confident in what we do. To believe in ourselves.
To say Pay me, dammit.
But believing in ourselves and knowing our worth goes far beyond money. I saw it play out in full force this weekend.
This year I had the great pleasure to start the Blogher Conference by leading an all-day workshop on blogs as businesses along with Susan Getgood and Lauren Marie Fleming. (Let me tell you, presenting with these two women seriously keeps you on your game. Whoa.) We spent a lot of time talking about how important it is to describe your blog pretty much any way besides, well, I just kinda write a little…whatever…it’s just a blog, ya know…about stuff…no one reads it…and uh…it’s not really important.
We also talked about the value of our time and effort, and Susan had a great line: Don’t work anywhere for free where you’d like to get paid later.
I’d say with few exceptions, that’s fairly accurate.
I left the workshop so inspired by the women in our group, seeing their confidence and enthusiasm and excitement about all the potential in their work and their lives. As I saw them hustle out the door to catch President Obama’s address which kicked off the conference (!!), I remember thinking they’re owning it.
Interestingly, it seemed like the recurring theme of the entire weekend as I saw it.
I felt it in the Voices of the Year readings which were as perfectly curated as any previous year. Not a single woman seemed nervous or anxious or wiggly. Not Dresden Shumaker who had the room in tears writing about overcoming the Welfare Queen label. Not Suzanne Barston who spectacularly described why supporting formula feeders is a feminist issue without pulling punches. Not Arnebya Hernon who tackled racism and Travyon Martin’s shooting from a Black mother’s painful perspective. Not Shari Simpson who brought the house down with a hilarious (really) story about a desperate search for sanitary items at a party at Tori Spelling’s mansion.
They owned their words, their presence, their stories, their ideas. Spectacularly.
It was something I had to do myself when I hosted a luncheon for Zarbees (like, the best product/sponsor/parent’s lifesaver ever) and found out that I was going to interview someone I had admired for ages. Interviewing famous people publicly isn’t something that comes as naturally to me as say, writing blog posts or feeding my kids cereal for dinner. But I’m learning that each new challenge I take on helps to convince me I’m ready for the next one.
Kristin Davis – lovely inside and out.
My role models this weekend included women who got to where they are because they were never afraid to go for it. Katie Couric brought the house down with her keynote; I was so happy seeing a major public figure unafraid to address the “women doing it all question” with a statement like “Brian Williams never gets asked that.” Or to take on the mommy wars essentially by telling the media to STFU. In fact, I’m in love with the fact that she’s attempting to go smart with her new daytime show, and not dumb it down with paternity test surprises and reality show gossip.
I can safely say I’m not the only one rooting for it to work.
We can also learn from Martha Stewart (whose keynote I was so sad to miss), who answered the question “is there anything you’re not good at?” with, “Well, I suppose there are some things I haven’t yet tried.”
But you know, you don’t have to be a superstar to have confidence in your thoughts, your words, your selves.
Which is why event that I think was the highlight of the weekend for anyone who was there, was the Saturday Night Blogher Fashion show – more than a dozen gorgeous, fearless (mostly) women of every shape and size, walking the runway with the biggest smiles on their faces you’ve ever seen.
As they hit their marks at the front of the runway, all gorgeous hips and fierce shiny lips and waves to the crowd–a longtime male friend of the single variety who was sitting with me kept saying, “wow, look at that confidence– that’s sexy.”
He wasn’t talking about size fours.
My hero, Erin Koteki Vest
You want to know about owning it? Talk to Erin Vest, who emerged from two years of steroids and wheelchairs and Lupus and self-doubt to rock our fucking socks off. And then, at the end of her walk she turned, back to the audience, brushed who knows what invisible demons off her shoulder, and strutted off–all smiles.
You’re not “just a stay at home mom.”
You’re not “just a blogger.”
You’re not “just a wife.”
You’re not “just a writer.”
You’re not “just a size 16.”
You’re not “just a woman.”
You’re not “just someone with dreams.”
You are someone who matters to someone. But most of all, I hope you matter to yourself.