I called myself a leader 18w

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“How DARE you call yourself a leader?” a woman wrote on a FB thread in October as others piled on attacking me, screaming at me about things that weren’t even relevant to the original post. I had suggested we break down into committees and work on different issues. But it didn’t matter what I wrote. They wanted to attack!

They saw a woman who was confidently trying to lead and they didn’t like it. They hadn’t liked it for months. It didn’t matter to them how intersectional I am - or how much I share my mental health status publicly - or that I’m disabled and could be dead within a few years. 

These people would definitely yell at a dying woman. 

I was first initiated into the lovely world of online bullying when I joined nutrition list-serves in 2008/2009. I could not have been in a better industry to prepare myself for cruel behavior on the Internet. 

I honed my writing skills during those years. But I was also healthy then. Strong. 

These woman attacked me because they perceive me as vulnerable. As if crying on the Internet is mutually exclusive from being a tough New Yorker. Ha.

Many of these women have internalized society’s misogyny. Or feel powerless in their own lives. Or been taught to automatically hate other women. 

This narrative is conditioning from the Patriarchy OF COURSE. Because if women hate themselves and each other, then we won’t work together to take them down. Clever shits, aren’t they?

I’ve made mistakes in female friendships, of course, but I truly do love women! I love mentoring young women and helping friends get jobs. This is in large part why I have such a lovely, vibrant online community! I’ve taken care of people over the years. And now, they are so sweet about taking care of me!

This photo is from high school when I was very involved in B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO). It was entirely youth-run and I LOVED it. 

We planned 3-day conferences with little to no help from adults. We planned dances, after-school activities, charity events, and even ran our own elections which is why I think I’m giving a speech here. I think a lot of why I ended up being a youth educator for a living is because of these positive experiences in high school. 

Until women address their discomfort with other women taking the lead, learning how to share leadership roles and supporting each other, I worry about how we will get female leaders elected. 

I watched a lot of this happen in the Food Movement. Women getting competitive with each other instead of doing what Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler and now Tina Fey and Chelsea Handler do - HIRE THEIR FRIENDS. SUPPORT EACH OTHER. It's AMAZING how many women think that attacking others and/or trying to race to the top BY THEMSELVES will get them where they want to go. 

EVEN THOUGH MEN NEVER DO IT. Look at these Republicans! They’d drive off a cliff if their alpha-male told them to. But women, so many struggle with competitive feelings that they end up isolating themselves. It’s simply illogical strategy to antagonize people instead of build a network. 

I remember a friend saying about a room full of nutritionists “these are my competitors.” 

I said, how strange, because I’m looking around the room and deciding who would be fun to collaborate with. 

Seeing fellow women as collaborators. Not competition. 

IMAGINE THAT.

The Movement is messy right now. As all Movements are. It’s only in history books that they look tidy and linear. 

War brings out the best in some people. And the worst. 

I do hope that it continues to bring out the best in women, and that we finally shed that Patriarchal bullshit that we shouldn’t be leaders and that we shouldn’t help other women.

It is time for us to embrace our own power. And importantly, help others embrace THEIR power too!!

Think of what we can accomplish if we spent time working on ourselves instead of telling others how to improve themselves. 

Not easy to do. But so liberating!!

I LOVE YOU FEMALE FRIENDS!!!!!! 

Love, Jules