There is something about being described as "difficult", especially as a woman, that gets my feminine radar going. It is as if we should not voice our concerns or opinions and that we should just shut up and look pretty. We have seen even women at the highest levels of government chastised for basically being intelligent and strong, women like Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and they are just the ones in American politics. Click on the links to read articles about how they have been perceived and the challenges they face for just being who they are.
I applaud Union's convictions and her ability to stand up for herself and others despite the constant knock backs and knock downs. I recall watching an eye-opening interview with her and her honesty about working in an industry that just doesn't get it when it comes to recognising and evolving from an archaic mentality of male superiority and white privilege. In her wonderfully straightforward manner, Union laid bare the challenges she has faced, and continues to face despite her accomplishments and abilities as an actress and an executive producer. She said in that interview, "I don't have the luxury of delivering the "fuck you" that I want to deliver. Every day, I have to make a decision on how I'm going to eat shit or deliver the truth and we all are in the same space. Sometimes those Executive Producer credits are just credits. There's not actual real power that comes with that. So when I'm going from an LA's Finest day (the tv show where Jessica Alba and I have the ability to shape the entire experience from top to bottom) to something else and you get slapped in the face with reality, it's fucking jarring. It's like thinking you're running through an open door and it's a brick wall. And you're shocked. You know, you hit and you fall and you're like "I'm bleeding. I broke my nose. I'm bleeding." And then it's like "oh, right, bitch, it's reality. Welcome back! Welcome back! You've been gone for minute. Welcome back!""
That interview really had an impact on me. I just kept thinking that no matter how hard we work, how high we climb it just never feels enough, that there is always someone who will pull us down to "reality" to keep us in "our place". Well, I for one, believe that unless there are more Gabrielle Unions out there, unless there more people who are willing to speak out and spit out that "shit", as Union has described it, instead of swallowing it, nothing will change. And even having women in positions of power doesn't necessarily change things for the better. It is about having both men and women, people who have a mindset, a belief, and strength to recognise equality and not live on that proverbial Kool-aid where a title on a business card is gospel as seen in some 1950s hierarchical and old fashioned corporate structure. It is about people who act when they know something is wrong and not feel afraid to rock the boat because frankly, that boat is already rocking. Time to sink or swim.
I hope wherever you are in your life you feel a strength to stand up for what you believe in. It isn't easy, trust me I know. For some the risks are high but I always go by how I feel in my gut. The reward may not be immediate or ever be realised, but the most important person we have to assuage is ourselves, after all we have to live with the choices we make.
"Don't ever let anyone break your soul. You have to stand on your own two feet and fight. There are those who would give anything to see you fall, never give them the satisfaction, hold your head up high, put a smile on your face and stand your ground." -Unknown
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