When my Mum was a teenager in the 70’s, she was expected to have sex with men, but not to be too horny or too experienced. They actually expected her to be virginal but also good at sex. Women admitting they enjoy sex, never mind that they actively seek it was seen as a bit extreme and people attempted to push them back into a more virtuous role.
I feel like this sexual taboo doesn’t exist in the same way today (in British culture). For sure it’s seen as edgy to be an open ‘slut’. I think you would run into difficulties when it comes to being respected and getting ‘wifed’ if you were as open about sex as men are. But I definitely think the sex taboo is improving. Young men are faaaaar more liberal about a woman’s sexual desire than say, my Dad is.
I think it’s fair to say as well that the pressure to be sexually virtuous also comes from other women. The ‘I’m not like other girls, tee hee’ kind of women.
So if I’m right and this taboo is becoming less of a thing and it’s becoming ok to say ‘I like sex, I want sex’, there is something that’s still not really ok to admit than you want. And that’s:
Money & Power
I feel like it’s not ok to say I want to be rich. I feel like it’s not ok to say I am a leader. I feel like it’s not ok to say I am studying how to become a person or power. Before you tell me that it is ok, and I’m talking shit, first make sure that you actually have tried to become a successful female CEO and not encountered any problems.
When I say these things, I feel like people react as if I’m 5 years old and I’ve told them I want to be an astronaut someday. They act like doubling my income this year is not a realistic goal, but just Katie being Katie, cute.
When I tell women in my peer group what my goals are they literally raise their eyebrows.
The truth is, I only have to go on my own experiences of this, because I don’t actually know any other women in real life who aren’t running a creative business, or a helpful business, or a ‘my little business’. But a business which is purely focused around profit, for me and my customers. I’m not sure how people react to women who are money driven, because I can’t find many who are open about it. I have spent many hours plotting with other men how to make more money together and buzzing off each others plans, but I haven’t met many women who are about that.
I meet a lot of women who are afraid of money. They’re afraid to ask for it, not just for a pay rise, but they’re afraid to send an invoice and chase it. They’re afraid of sending a quote. They’re afraid of saying ‘if you want that you’ll have to pay me’. They’re afraid of saying ‘don’t insult me by asking me to work for free’. They’re afraid of charging more than their competitors and defending the high price. And I feel like yes, they’re afraid of admitting they want lots and lots of it, and asserting that that’s not cute, it’s realistic. I don’t think this is purely a female thing, I think some women are very good at this and some men are very bad at it, but in general, I think it’s something that affects women more. If it didn’t, I’d have at least one female competitor. It’s not like I’m in an obscure industry.
I can assure you, as someone who’s in a male dominated, business focused industry. Talking about money is fine. It’s ok to let people know that money is on your cards. We’re all here for the same reason, to make money. You don’t have to position yourself as a sweet, helpful, non threatening person. Whether they’re a lawyer, own a construction company or produce software – they’re aware you’re here speaking to them because you want to be paid.
There are men who will give you pushback, but like all bullies, it’s because of their own insecurities. (Mostly you will highlight that they aren’t making as much money as you). People may try and force you back into the role that they expect from you.
There are women who’ll give you pushback. They’ll go ‘tee hee, I’m not money motivated I want to make the world a more fluffy and loving place’. And everyone will love them for it. Let them have that, being successful isn’t about being popular. People will actually hate you for your success regardless of your gender, which is for another blog post all together.
If helping people really is your jam, and that’s your primary goal, then fine. But if you are adding value, measurable, financial value, identify that and don’t ask for what you’re worth – demand it. While the ‘tee hee I’m not like that’ women will push back on you, and the ‘you make me feel like a failure men’ will push back on you and your family will think it’s cute, there are a group of people who will give you great respect for being like them, and that’s powerful and successful men.