I was sitting at a table last week with five men in suits from all over the world. Their diplomatic titles ranges from past Minister of Foreign Affairs, Advisor to the Prime Minister and Ambassador amongst various nations. How did I get a seat at this table? I was there as arm candy. Or, I was there with a man I was dating. For the first time in many years, I felt the fact that I was a woman typecast me into a role of minimized appreciation for my thoughts and feelings and maximized expectation for my appearance and ability to acquiesce. No one said a word to me at the table except to tell me how beautiful my dress was and to ask if I liked my dinner.
Some statistics I shared in my Huffington Post blog last summer while setting out on a pilgrimage to reclaim the divine feminine came back to my memory.
Business: 488 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are men (that's almost 98 percent).
Art: In a recent survey out of 400 works of art in the Museum of Modern Art, 386 were by men (97 percent).
Media: In a 2009 study based on G, PG and PG-13 movies, 93 percent of directors, 87 percent of writers, and 80 percent of producers were men.
Religion: Unfortunately, the statistics on this topic are few and scattered. It looks as if the percentage of men in leadership roles for most organized religions is somewhere around 85 percent.
I am also aware that to use the title of being a feminist may lead me to being misunderstood and putting me in a man-hating, victimized, angry at the world, pity party box. Said or unsaid, this stigma still dances around the word feminist and it's ridiculous, untrue and in desperate need for some rebranding. With an ocean of gratitude for all of the men and women who have used their voice and stood for feminism up to this point and filled with inspiration for evolving the conversation for our children's children, I wonder...
What if we saw Feminist issues not just belonging to women, but that they belong to people as a collective and men are an integral part of this community?
What if Feminism is not a movement of seclusion, separation, competition or comparison. Rather it is all things celebratory, inclusive and desirable?
What if Feminism is about elevating the inherently female attributes that are essential to moving progress, power and the entire leadership conversation forward?
What if Feminism was not a sidebar discussion, but seen as central to all that’s relevant from pop culture to politics to international development?
Thank Goddess, some of my dearest friends, Kassidy Brown and Allison Rapson, were already on the case. Today is the launch of We Are the XX.
And the questions above are their new feminist manifesto.
The beauty of this campaign is that anyone with a computer or smart phone, anywhere from around the world can get on board. Draw an xx on your body and take a photo. Then post on Instagram and Twitter with @WearetheXX and #Weare. The goal is that in a little less than six months, on International Women's Day, we can gather a million photos of people who are on board with this feminist manifesto and see the diverse and evolving face of feminism.
Kassidy and Allison are so committed to this cause, they got xx tattoos!!!! (See photo above and live tattoo footage in their launch video below!) Get inspired and show your support by writing your xx, taking a photo and remember to tag #weare and @wearethexx.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Qoya classes in NYC Tuesday, October 1st and Tuesday, October 8th, 7-8pm
I am so grateful for your desire to dance with Qoya and encourage you to support this initiative to rebrand feminism with We are the XX.