TWO MILLION people read my status update about not mistaking LinkedIn for a dating site. I posted it in response to an encounter I’d had earlier that day.
What happened was I received a valid and reasonable connection request from a prospective client, and I accepted him as a connection. What followed was a short IM exchange that quickly felt more like we met on Ok Cupid. So… You live in LA? Let’s grab coffee sometime.
The best intentions…
Little did I know that my desire to keep things professional on LinkedIn would put me in the eye of the hurricane.
I’ve already posted about the different types of male responders. To recap, there are luckily 80% of men who agree with the simple fact that men need to take responsibility for their actions. And there are the outspoken 20% who sent me obscene anonymous email and accused me of every cliché— from not being “all that” (hot), to wearing provocative clothing (a red dress), to having ulterior motives, to having made up the story, to this being a publicity stunt. The crowd favourite has been, “Why don’t you wear a burka?”
I expected some of this. The responses I received are exactly what happens when men feel women are ganging up on them to point out “another thing they are doing wrong.”
Those 20% of men certainly seem to buckle under the pressure of these crazy ideas of all-inclusive, diverse, and equal.
As I have explained many times before, some men actually believe women don’t have a right to speak up about their own issues. And when we do, they deny it is a women’s issue and insist men experience it to the same degree, too.
But we know the truth and we have the facts. That is why in The Women’s Code and our flagship idea, Balanced Leadership, we include men in the dialogue from the get-go.
Having read through all 1500 comments, some deep breathing was required at times. “Don’t take it personally” is what I kept thinking, even though many comments were directed at me and I was told I did something wrong.
At the end of the day, the issue was raised
Although some comments from men did get under my skin, the ones that hurt most were from my fellow women.
Sadly, I report that many women still cannot support other women.
Especially the younger women blatantly denied that what I experienced was even an issue. Well, that kind of makes sense. Think about it—women without children or those who have simply had too few years in their professional lives have never experienced fighting the Mom bias or hitting that glass ceiling.
That group of young women was the most cruel, snide, and brutal in their responses. “Get over it, because I like attention from hot young guys.” Women over 40 seemed, for the most part, to be on board and were as exasperated as I was.
That’s what 20+ years of dealing with this issue does to you. You want it fixed.
Most often, however, I was told to go back into isolation. Don’t bring this up. Don’t talk about it. Keep it private. You have no right to discuss this in public. It’s you—just change yourself and you will be fine.
What this means for you
Is it so ingrained in women that we are not supposed to upset men, that we just don’t understand when an issue requires we band together and demand equal treatment?
All in all, I renew my commitment to talking about things that many just don’t want to talk about. Women need to be equal in our careers, which means we need more men to buy-in and more women on board to support each other.
At her lowest point, Beate Chelette was $135,000 in debt, a single mother, and forced to leave her home. Only 18 months later, she sold her image licensing business to Bill Gates in a multimillion dollar deal. Chelette is a nationally known ‘gender decoder’ who has appeared in over 60 radio shows, respected speaker, career coach, consummate creative entrepreneur, and author of Happy Woman Happy World. Beate is also the founder of The Women’s Code, a unique guide to women leadership and personal and career success that offers a new code of conduct for today’s business, private, and digital worlds. Determined to build a community of women supporting each other, she took her life-changing formula documented it all in a book Brian Tracy calls “an amazing handbook for every woman who wants health, happiness, love and success!”
Through her corporate initiative “Why Acting Like a Girl Is Good For Business” she helps companies with gender diversification training, and to develop and retain women.
If you’d like to book Beate as a speaker on New Leadership Balance or Creative Entrepreneurship for your next event please connect with me.