I attended the birthday bash of Doyenne last night. What a wonderful treat it was to celebrate an organization that took a risk on behalf of me! Quite frankly it was thanks to many who helped me get my start, but honestly it was Doyenne’s team of badassery who said: you are playing small; you can and should do more… stop being afraid and do it, and I quote “tits out!”
Last night’s celebration of Doyenne was a remarkable moment because it represented and reflected what oppression and liberation of women entrepreneurs look like in this community! In the room we had women who started this revolution looking on at women who are taking it to the next level as is needed and required in a movement. The hard part is when you realize you are not in the center of it but a part of the story on how it came to be.
I also witnessed last night what it meant to be oppressed by society (externally) but more importantly, by the society of woman (internally). I was in the presence of women including myself who have consumed this oppression for so long that when we witnessed women being liberated it was scary and uncomfortable! Yes, I said it — scary and uncomfortable.
Not only were we celebrating the growth of a new organization that speaks, represents, and aspires to be empowering and a reflection and support of all women; we were also celebrating women through a comedy tear down that made public our “womanhood” as seen through sex, gender identity, shaming, and love! These badass comics did not hold back as they put all our business out there on what it can be like to be a “woman” and more importantly, they put in our face how we have been “kept” in our place as women in this culture by our own hand. Case in point, there were many who were uncomfortable of the directness and irreverence of the topics. The laughter was uncomfortable and at times it was clear that many were unsure how to lean in…should I laugh, can I laugh, is it funny? Granted it was the dinner hour and not a late night venue, but still. This room of women badass by day…were uncomfortable in looking in the mirror of what it means to be liberated and irreverent about it. These comics pushed our boundaries and it was evident.
Yet, to me that was the most significant example and moment of equity and inclusion and more importantly, what internalized oppression looks like. It is and was uncomfortable. We felt it… all of us, I felt it. And, I am so glad I did. We run around talking and extolling the virtues of equity, inclusion, and diversity but we are silent on the level of discomfort and shame that comes with it. The shame of realizing how you can be complicit in the very system and oppressive practices you say you want to eradicate. Or you realize that how you came to be was not the full version of what you desired but only of what is permissible by the system you seek to deconstruct as you watch the 3.0 version of a liberated system in front of you rise out of the ashes of what you started.
That is the dirty secret of oppression and inequity…when you liberate it it means that many times you are the shoulders that the 3.0 version stands upon and you may not be in the center of that journey but you did create the path by which they were able to seek the next level. The next level of what it means to not be oppressed and to live fully as you desire and be encouraged to fly as high as you can go!
So for the women in the room who felt that discomfort, myself included, remember — you have to let go to let come, and that means we may not be 3.0 but we certainly are the shoulders for how it came to be. So, fear not the irreverence and lean into the pride of knowing that without you there could not have been a they, them, theirs!
Happy Birthday, Doyenne, and thank you for daring to fly higher! #CheerstoSevenYears #BeAudacious