Over the long Labor Day weekend, I had a lovely evening meeting several ladies in type. In some respects, it was one of those moments where you suddenly realize that you’re not quite alone in the world anymore as both a woman and creative individual. Sadly, it’s not often that you meet so many women in the creative field in one place. That being said, there should definitely be more opportunities to make it so.
In my early days after graduating college, I remember how shocked I was upon jumping into the corporate world of Typography and Design. Contrary to the gender-neutral classroom environment, the studios, agencies, and companies I worked for were overwhelmingly male-oriented. Could it be that women didn’t want to work at these places for specific reasons that I wasn’t seeing? If not, where did all these educated women go after they earned their diplomas?
Whatever the reason may be, sadly enough, I quickly got used to being one of the handful of female creatives in a given environment. With being somewhat of a unicorn comes a lot of self-consciousness and lots of second-guessing: “Should I have said this differently being a woman?” “Am I being too feminine in such a masculine environment?” Or, on the flip-side, “am I being too much of a dude?” Perhaps this was all in my head, but I really didn’t have many female creatives around the workplace to whom I could compare myself to or see as a role model. At the same time, I never wanted to admit my self-paranoia. Thinking back, I’m not sure why this was; maybe I was afraid of admitting that I felt vulnerable, and in the back of my head I was nervous that colleagues might laugh it off.
One of the best aspects of meeting so many strong and brilliant women this weekend was that I felt comfortable voicing my thoughts and concerns without fear of judgement. From creepy flirtatious cab drivers to all the penis jokes that perpetrate an overtly masculine workplace, it just made me relieved that there were others out there that had gone through similar experiences. I guess I wasn’t aware that I always had a guard up while talking to others.
Something Dyana mentioned resonates with me quite a lot: we should not feel afraid to put ourselves out there; that real courage comes from being able to cope with our own vulnerability. I’m sure that there are lots of women out there that have been afraid of voicing their thoughts. We, as the under-represented gender in our field, should reach out to one another to form a supportive network. Just realizing that there are others out there in the same boat can make the day seem a little brighter.
Many thanks to Dyana, Ksenya, Caren, and Chavelli for making my evening such an optimistic one. We, as ladies in type, should rally more often to hear each other’s voices and make positive change. Cheers to all of you kickass ladies out there.