For New Girls In Male Dominated Industries
When I first started out in music, I was CLUELESS. Dealing with a certain breed of men in the business confused me. Every move I made felt like the wrong move. Does this person want to work with me or sleep with me? Is this a date or ANOTHER business dinner? Should I ask? Why is he calling me after midnight? Do I pick up?
In the beginning, I didn’t understand what was industry standard and what was inappropriate. In many ways, I was extremely naive. The real creeps could sniff out naiveté. They’re drawn to it.
It seemed like other women had figured this out, but it was all very hush hush.
All through the industry, some women seemed to share secrets about navigating the clouds of testosterone.
It always felt like walking into a room where everyone was whispering about something enlightening, only to fall silent when I walked in. I thought I needed those secrets to survive.
The bonds between women always seemed to hang by nylon thread. They were strong enough to pass a few trying times, but a man in any position of (perceived) power could manipulate things and *snip snip*, there went another industry friend that I thought was becoming a sister to me.
I was riddled with my own personal insecurities as it was, then this new level of anxiety and self doubt was added to it. This may be, in part, what always lead me to partnerships in writing. It was important to me to feel safe, and hidden. I became painfully introverted and always needed someone who was the opposite of me to navigate the clouds. I just wanted to make music.
I changed the way I dressed, wore my hair in a way that covered my face almost entirely, and hats so far down, my eyes were mostly covered. There was a time when I wouldn’t even talk to producers. My ideas would be whispered to whomever my writing partner was at the time, the only one I felt I could trust in the room.
This went on for years. I was lost.
Suddenly I started to have people and books come into my life that started me on a quest of self discovery. I didn’t even know to call it that at first. The path I was on wasn’t my path, it was just the standard path.
I was too afraid to discover anything else. Lacking the confidence, which in turn limited my imagination, I couldn’t envision anything else for myself.
Trust me, it took years to find that confidence.
When I found it, this is what I realized about being a new girl in a male dominated industry:
I didn’t have to know what those men had in mind. It didn’t matter. All I needed to know was myself, my intentions and my craft.
It’s ok to be straightforward.
When I felt uncomfortable, it was ok to express it and not be afraid of the reaction. There is no “code” unless your ethics/morals/values are situational.
I realized that I could rely on my work ethic and talent, and any man that tried to make me feel like I needed him could FUCK OFF.
When I stayed true to this and stopped accepting bullshit, I started to meet the jewels. There are men who are equally passionate about the work, and I started to be surrounded by them.
As a girl in a male dominated industry, I had to set a standard for myself, then protect it like a lioness guarding the life of her baby cub. In this action, repeatedly, over time — I set in motion new possibilities for myself.
So to all my bby girls feeling like little lambs in the land of wolves, start by realizing you’re a fucking lion.