Sharing is caring! Share this page with your friends...
It’s a million dollar question that has a million true and different answers. From romantic relationships to the professional world or even just with your friends, there are many different contexts from which this topic can be viewed. Even just the question itself can be blown completely out of proportion at a dinner party.
When I dove into this topic with my peers, I began to come across questions like “can a woman have brains and looks?”, and statements such as “the less sex appeal a female has, the more she will be taken seriously”. While the men said things like, she should “be herself, real and not fake”, or “sophisticated and caring, a beautiful smile”, “The physical attraction interferes with a man’s perception of a woman” and then some men just say well, it’s the same as it is for a man, “she just needs to ‘earn’ respect”.
Simple stuff right? Hmmm (lol).
One male peer said “Chicks get so caught up thinking attention is respect”. Now at first glance I can see some of you “chicks” maybe not being happy with a comment like this, but perhaps it is quite insightful if we take a moment to ponder? *pondering……*
So I started to look at my own life, ha.. While I’ve always been somewhat of an entrepreneur, I have definitely had some very rocky moments and I have not always put myself in a position to be taken seriously... Now before I continue I’m going to set this short disclaimer, because I am not overlooking the undesirable human nature of a ‘hater’ or as they like to say around here “tall poppy syndrome”. Often when a woman is doing big things or even small things but on her way up, there will always be an element of backlash. Even those most worthy of being called a ‘role model’ will face these types of people and their criticism. So in our mind, let’s take those people and put them away in a special sealed box while we discuss what really matters.
I, as a woman have many times found myself in that rut called “why don’t people take me seriously?”. As hard as it may be, if you have been asking yourself this and want to see results in this area, you are going to have to commit to being very real, raw and vulnerable with yourself! You are going to have to be willing to see yourself in a new way and start to set boundaries and new contexts for how you behave as you go about your day to day life. In order to start setting those though, you must first SEE yourself.
So I was 20 years old working in the family business as a finance consultant. Everything was going great! I loved my life, I had a great job, a nice car, beautiful clothes, i’d bought my first house, I had lots of so called friends. I mean, what isn’t awesome about that scenario? Pfff, it was great!!!!
One day, I was outside the office talking with my sister and we overheard a man known to us through the finance industry speaking with our dad, he laughed and asked our father why in the world we were even there. Standing there in that moment in my tightly tailored suit, I made a plethora of subconscious decisions, about things like, men, work, myself, the corporate world, that man and “what’s wrong with him?!”
Not until years later did I consider that my behaviour and or overall appearance could have actually been a massive contributing factor.
Here I am, all this time I thought I was being serious in a serious industry and that people are just going to have to accept me for who I am. RIGHT, but not in the way I had thought! They did accept me for who I was, well, at least the picture I had accidentally painted. Yes, the girl wearing a sexy suit with the big hair and the make up sipping her latte.. Oh lord! Help us all…
I’m not saying you should not be yourself, you should! But in context, in the right time and the right place! Wear that dress that makes you feel sexy, but not to work! Apply a little common sense and then revisit and apply some more.
So here are my personal ‘TEN TIPS’ to being taken seriously.
(based on on going research & experience)
1. Talk less. Speak to learn, not justify (It’s called listening and asking questions) and you will keep yourself out of all sorts of trouble.
2. Dress for the occasion. If you want to be treated like a boss - dress like boss.
3. Say NO. If a man speaks to you in an uninvited sexualized manner, politely demand he stop. Don’t worry about his ego, people will only know where the line is if you firmly stand your ground and set your boundaries.
4. Hair and makeup. Simple and elegant is hard to fault.
5. Jewellery. You can have a statement piece, but remember, anything that stands out may be a topic of another conversation so make sure that it reflects the type of attention that you would want to attract. Don’t wear huge earrings and a big necklace as well because you will look like the jewellry lady.. My mother used to say, “Don’t wear too many rings or you’ll look like a barmaid”.
6. Be kind!
7. Be appropriate. Consider your surroundings. There is a time to be loud and a time to be still.
8. Pick your battles. Don’t try to reason with people who are committed to disagreeing with you.
9. Integrity . Keep your word. Do what you say you will do & your actions will reflect loyalty and authenticity.
10. Set goals. repeat.
I am a woman who LOVES big hair, makeup and BIG earrings. Yep, love em’ but there is a time and a place for everything.
Written by Christie Tymms