The past couple months have been a doozie when it comes to the news, no?
John Besh (one of my former favorite celebrity chefs)
Another tragic mass shooting (by a man previously convicted of beating his wife)
Disturbing allegations surrounding Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore
Female candidates defeating openly misogynist male candidates (that one’s a positive!)
I’ve wanted to speak out, but, for maybe the first time in my life, I haven’t really known what to say.
I’ve mostly let others do the talking, but today I thought I’d share some reflections on a new (to me) concept: Shine Theory.
What is Shine Theory and Why Is It Important Now?
Shine Theory is a principle of friendship and respect that was invented by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, co-hosts of the podcast, Call Your Girlfriend. Friedman coined the term in a 2013 article from The Cut, and at its core, Shine Theory is a solution to relentless competition among successful females, aiming to transform the overwhelming and damaging feelings of envy and inadequacy into friendship.
Essentially, by befriending smart, talented, successful women, you both shine.
And, this is important: by reaching out to strong women whom we admire and supporting one another in our pursuits, we are more equipped to fight unfairness in the workplace, the abuse of men in positions of power, and other assaults against us, be they “locker room talk” and “nasty woman” remarks or the stripping of our medical benefits and access to affordable contraception.
Hence why I believe Shine Theory is incredibly important in today’s world.
How I’m Embracing Shine Theory
I am ashamed to say this, but for many years—particularly my college and younger adult years—I was one of those young women who swore I “hated hanging out with girls” and “got along much better with guys.”
While I have a handful of female friends who will always be like sisters to me, I’ve never had that large group of girlfriends who stood in one another’s weddings as bridesmaids, took annual girls’ weekends to the beach, hosted dinner parties together, hosted playdates together for our kids, and whatnot.
When I moved to a new department at work, I joked that I was terrified of working in a department primarily filled with women because I just knew there would be cattiness and drama.
And more times than I’d like to admit, I’ve been guilty of letting my own insecurities cloud my opinions of other women who may be more successful than me.
But here’s the thing. How does tearing a woman down because she’s prettier, smarter, wittier, more driven, or more successful than I am improve my worth?
Simple: it doesn’t.Bringing other women down doesn't build YOU up. #shinetheory #feminism Click To Tweet
Women as a whole already feel enough discouragement and resentment from the patriarchal structure of our society.
If we speak out, we’re too shrill (I loathe that word).
If we become CEO of a big company, we’re opportunists who’ve neglected our families.
If we stay home to raise kids and keep a nice home, we don’t have any ambition.
If we choose to date around rather than settle into a fairy-tale marriage by age 30, we’re slutty.
If we don’t have children or choose some “alternative” lifestyle of traveling or living off the grid, there’s something mentally wrong with us.
If we get those kinds of judgments from society itself, then why the hell do we amplify the hurt and unfairness by criticizing one another?
It’s sickening, and we owe it to ourselves to resist the negativity.
In the age of #metoo, women must support other women.In the age of #metoo, women must support other women Click To Tweet
To Put Shine Theory Into Action, We Must:
Befriend the high-achiever because we may learn something valuable from her.
Spend time with the stay-at-home mother because she may help us discover our nurturing side.
Compliment another woman who rocks her little black dress or awesome pixie cut, because a little bit of positivity can turn dark days brighter.
Shop at women-owned businesses and get to know female entrepreneurs.
Reach out to the women who intimidate us.
And, god-forbid, when a woman is harmed (sexually or otherwise) by a man, believe her and be there to listen, not to ridicule or place blame. We must encourage her to speak out or seek help, because nothing will change if we don’t break the silence together.
Y’all, we almost elected our first female president last year. And, despite having an impressive resume and lifelong devotion to public service (whether you agreed with her politics or not, at least give her credit for her qualifications), she was defeated by a bona fide misogynist who continues to disgrace women and men alike.
Feminism isn’t dead. It’s more important now than ever, which is why we women must support each other to shine.
We have a long way to go before things change, but thanks to the strong women who’ve already left their mark and spoken up when it wasn’t popular to do so, we can get there.Why #shinetheory is so important in today’s world #feminism Click To Tweet
[linking up with Amanda for thinking out loud]
So tell me…
- Have you ever heard of Shine Theory?
- In what ways could you do better to support women?
- What gender stereotypes have you fallen for or struggled to accept?