A couple of weeks ago I shared this post on instagram and was floored by the response. What started out as a fun doodle, I quickly realized struck a chord with a lot of women. In the days following that post I had dozens of women tag me in their own “and” lists and I was truly moved and inspired.
Since then, I have been thinking a lot about the idea behind the post and how/why it resonated with so many young women. So much so, that I decided to dedicate an entire post to talking about it.
As you know, I am a lawyer by day; a career that I love and work extremely hard at. But, I am also a fashion blogger. I have really struggled the past two years with whether or not I can or should be both. I worry constantly about clients or colleagues finding out about my fashion blog and judging me. This really came to a tipping point shortly before I made that instagram post, following an incident where someone did suggest that I shouldn’t have a fashion blog. After a couple of teary phone calls to friends (and my mom haha) I calmed down and realized that I had done nothing wrong. As my mom said; “you’re allowed to have hobbies”.
The reason I think my instagram post resonated with so many young women is for the exact reason that I was initially upset. Many women feel that to be taken seriously as an engineer, or a lawyer, or a business woman, that that is the only piece of you that the world should see. Millennial women are in an odd position because so many of us have the great privilege of being in careers and ‘worlds’ that previous generations of women have not had access to. I think we carry a pretty heavy burden because of that, and feel the need to ensure that we are taken seriously in our roles.
I firmly believe that the best way to advance our role as women is to stop shying away from being multi-faceted. From expressing our interests. From being diverse. We have the privilege of being in a generation that can advance women’s rights in the workplace by kicking butt at our careers, while simultaneously taking the risk of showing the world more of who we truly are. My hope is that by the time my little nieces are starting their careers they won’t even think twice about being a ballet-dancing doctor or a pop-culture obsessed accountant.
Screw expectations, let’s be ourselves. Be an “and” person.
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Love this post. I'm a High School Teacher by day and fashion blogger by night and can barely get one post up a week because of all the time teaching takes. Despite that, I can't give up blogging. I love blogging – it's my "me" time. Right now I am substitute teaching and get compliments on my outfits all the time and yet only a few times have I mentioned that I am a fashion blogger after thanking them for the compliment. Your post made me realize this. I'm afraid to tell people because I feel like I'm not going to be taken seriously and YET – as I think about it – I realize sometimes we contribute to the problem. Women who love fashion are pictured as bimbos and I think even "regular" women are sometimes guilty of making comments to that effect. It has made me realize that it really is up to those of us who understand the "ands" to own up to our own "ands" so that the next generation thinks nothing of being an academic and a fashionista!
Anyway…that was long, ha! Thanks for bringing this to my attention today. 🙂 Glad I stopped by!
I don't even know where to start with this reply! Thank you SO much for taking the time to share all of that with me, I really appreciate it! It's been such an interesting ride since sharing the 'and' IG post, seeing how many women feel the same way I do. At the beginning I definitely felt like I was going out on a limb expressing this idea, and that maybe no one would feel the same way. It's been really motivating to me to see how many women are in a similar situation and feel the same way. It has made me more confident in my belief that I need to start sharing my "ands" more, because I have the platform and the ability to do so, and if I can be a part of making things easier for the next generation of women then that is something I need to do.
I totally agree with you on the part about the stereotypes around women who like fashion and the fact that all women can be guilty of contributing to that. Im hoping we can change that 🙂
PS. congrats on the substitute teaching – you are a ROCK STAR. Sooooo much respect for you and everyone else working with teenagers; it can't be easy!!! Keep being your fashionista-teaching self. I think it's an awesome 'and' 😀 <3
Yes! There are so many ways you can have an and in your life! Thank you for your honesty and you go girl!
Aw thank you Ruth! So sweet of you to say. I'm so glad you liked the post <3
Such a great post!! Love it!
Thank you so much Elise!
This post resonates with me so much! I used to be in the military, and worrying that my love of fashion would affect people's opinions of me at work always bothered me. Honestly I think that's one of the hardest professions to be an 'and' person, and it will take time for that judgment to go away. But it's better than it was before, and I hope it will continue to progress. Great post!
That is so interesting! Good for you on being able to serve in such a male dominated world – I'm sure it was really tough in a lot of different ways and I can only imagine that you definitely felt this "and"struggle.
Thank you so much for commenting <3
Amazing post!! It really resonated with me and you're such an inspiration!!!
Trendy & Tidy
You are so kind, thank you so much!!