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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