The Power of the Female Ally

Episode Transcript

Hello, everybody. And welcome back to another episode of if I'm honest with Julia Landauer. A little while ago, I had a podcast episode on the importance of male allies and some examples of how to be a good male ally. I also think it's really important for us women to know how to be a good female ally to other women. Because let me tell you, society loves pitting us women against each other. It's like it's a it's a pastime, right? And I don't know about you. But I personally feel that I've been primed for a lot of my life to feel like I should compete against other women that there's this added rivalry between other women, especially those professionally in my field, there are these greater forces that have this impact on me. Now, I recognize that this is a hefty complex issue to try to tackle and 20 minute episode, and I'm well aware that there are many factors that contribute to how anyone is primed, right. It's culture, it's politics, it's our family life, it's our school life. But I do want to take some time to really zoom in on the media aspect, because I think it is really pervasive, I think it's something that's applicable to most people, it's something that people experience throughout their whole lives. And it's a reflection of how the rest of the society functions, right, or media is rooted in some reality on how we live. And it's something I find very interesting. So we're gonna chat about it. And to exemplify this whole theme, you may remember magazine headlines that talked about how one female celebrity stole another female celebrities man, or how they had a Fallout, or how they're no longer friends, or how they're vicious towards each other, or one has a better bikini body than the other. They're just like this insane competition amongst so many women in the public eye. And it has an effect on the readership and the people who see those headlines. Or maybe it's the movies that we watched you mean girls, bride wars, something borrowed, you know, just examples of movies that I really enjoyed watching. But the women and friends are always fighting and competing and going after things that took the other one can't get them, like, it's not a healthy way to have a relationship with your best friends. And something that I have thought about a lot is that there were a lot of awesome movies of men collaborating all along Ocean's 11, right, like, even though what they were doing was illegal, you know, they were working together, they were accentuating their strengths, minimizing their weaknesses, helping each other out. And they're going after this huge goal together. So we're seeing these guys being super collaborative and supportive of each other. And for a long time, there were very few examples of the equivalent type of movie with women collaborating and working towards that goal and helping each other. Beyond this, something I learned about at Stanford was something called the Bechtel test, which is a movie test to see whether or not a film you know, was particularly sexist against women. And to pass the Bechdel test, and I will, I will link this website in the description. But to pass the Bechtel test of film needs to meet three criteria, it has to have at least two women in it, who are talking to each other about something other than a man. And they have history on this back to the beginning of movies. And right now on their database, there are a little over 10,000 movies, and 57% meet all three criteria, there is 10%, that meet two of the three criteria, there's a little less than 22%, that meet one of the three criteria, and there is about 11%, that doesn't meet the criteria. So it's a really interesting website to look through. So again, I'll link it in the description. But the whole point is that the media and cultural landscape has not been particularly good about showing women working together and supporting each other. And I think that that is not the only cause, but is a big reason why we continue to hear stories of women tearing each other down. And I don't like when I experienced this for myself in real life. For example, there was one season where there were a record number of women competing in one race for that series. And I excitedly said to the members of my team who were around me, I excitedly said, guys, we're making history this week, and we've got three women competing. And I was obviously proud of that. And someone on my team said, Ooh, cat fight. And I was just really disappointed that he was looking at this monumental historical event in the context of expecting women to fight each other just for the sake of doing that. So that is why I wanted to take this episode to share share my experiences with not only being a female ally, but receiving ally ship from other women, and to give some concrete ideas of how we can do that, what we're up against, and hope that we can be the change that we want to see. I am really happy that overall in our society and culture, I feel like I'm hearing more discussions about why it's important for women to treat each other better, and why it's important to fight against the way that we are socially primed to interact with each other. But at the same time, I'm still hearing stories of women being their own worst enemies. And especially when I go and give keynotes and I'm talking with audience members or the event planners, this is an issue that's still really prevalent in a lot of areas. And so I want to start by giving my perspective on the research that I've done on to why female rivalries still exist. So one thing that I'm hearing a lot about that it's so crucial to really grasp is the idea of scarcity mindset, whether it's for women or for anyone. Scarcity Mindset, is a belief that resources are always limited. So job opportunities, romantic partners, whatever it might be, that if we help a woman, get a promotion, then we're hurting our chances of getting a promotion, that if a woman has a happy relationship, we're not likely to get a happy relationship. It's this idea that we are in competition with each other all the time. And look, I get that to a certain degree, because for so long, there were so few women at the C level executive and corporate, you know, in certain industries at all, you know, women were only allowed to have their own bank account several decades ago, right. Like, I understand that, for a long time, there was real scarcity. And many women in the world today were raised by women who were victims of this scarcity. But I think it's really important that we don't let that historical prevalence shape how we go through the world today, there are a lot more initiatives in place, there are a lot more discussions around this, that we can push, and we can prove ourselves. And we can show results. And again, I know that there are biases against all kinds of underrepresented groups. But we need to take the charge in switching to an abundance mindset instead of a scarcity mindset. Another reason that I think female rivalries exists. And this gets a little more into biology and looking back and a little more theoretical, but on a primal level, historically, women compete with each other for mates, right. And the whole way that we were able to pass on our DNA was to be the most attractive to mates and to potentially prevent other females from getting those mates from us. But I'll argue that at this point, we are developed humans who have the mental capacities to push past that. And it has to be a mind over matter situation. I really believe that if we women step up to support each other, and to normalize collaboration amongst women, instead of competition amongst women will collectively have a ripple effect of changing the dynamic not only amongst ourselves, but how others look at us as well. This goes back to the saying that a rising tide lifts all boats, right, we can all benefit from women supporting each other and helping each other. So let's get into how to be a good female ally. We can look at female ally ship in a lot of ways. And I think, you know, kind of two big pillars are big initiatives that are public that are visible, as well as the smaller day to day initiatives that we can do to help out the women in our lives. So I want to go through five examples of how to be a good female ally. And I'm going to celebrate the women in my life who have been a part of this journey with me. And just like with my male allies episode, this is not an exhaustive list of women who have been good allies. But the women that I'm gonna celebrate here had very different ways that they were great allies. And so it's used to show the examples and so again, I've I feel very grateful. I've had a lot of great women in my life who have been supportive and so know that this is not an exhaustive list. And the first way that I want to talk about being a good female ally to another woman is to be a mentor and to share your experiences with other women to help prepare them. I have been fortunate enough to receive this from a lot of women, whether it's in school or in activities with friends, they have helped me prepare and so it's something that I kept in mind as I was getting into my mid and later 20s to be able to pay it forward. And the big example that I had for this was when I was done racing K&N West Hailie Deegan, who was a younger woman who's in racing, she was joining this K&N West team that I was on previously. So I had met her, and she had done a different type of racing. So she was fairly new to the oval racing. And I've obviously had it in the back of my mind for a long time that spotters had told me that some guys will race me harder, they don't want to get beat by the girl, kind of at the back of the pack front of the package didn't really matter, there will always be those people. And I'm very passionate about, you know, working towards equity. And so I felt really compelled to go tell her like, hey, good luck, I wish you the best have so much fun, a little bit of unsolicited advice. But my experience was that there are definitely some guys that will raise us harder, because at least on a subconscious level, they don't want to get beat by the girl. And I just felt like I had to tell her this, I would feel kind of like I was betraying my mission, if I didn't point out some of the specific obstacles that I had, especially because she was so young. And you told me afterwards at first, she didn't really believe me, because it was fairly foreign foreign to her based on her previous type of racing. But that sure enough, a few races into the season, she started to experience this. And I heard her on a podcast around that time where she was talking about how we had this discussion, and she was able to be ready for it hoped it wasn't going to happen. But when it did, she was prepared, I was really happy that I could have planted that seed for her. Even if she didn't believe me right away, that's fine. Like she got to experience it know that she wasn't alone in going through that. And overall, she's going to be more prepared. And then she talked about that publicly so that other young women in racing could know that that was a reality. If we can talk about our experiences and use those stories to help prepare women coming after us, we're that much more likely to be able to help them level up and bypass some of the things that we went through. The second way to be a great female ally to other women is to share with friends or followers, when you've had good experiences with other women, especially in certain demographics in certain parts of the country where maybe some of these stereotypes against women are more prevalent, make it normal, that women are helping each other. And a really cool experience I had was with Amber Balcaen, who's another racer. And at one point a few years ago, she called me to ask if I could help her with some pointers of how to put together a keynote that she had to give for someone. And of course, because she's a friend, and I've known her for a while I gave her 30 or 45 minutes of my time and walk through my process some tips that I had for a new speaker so that she could do the best job possible. I wasn't expecting anything in return. But I go on Instagram later that day. And I saw that she had posted a story to her followers saying that it was really cool that as another woman in racing, who technically is in direct competition with her, was willing to help her and recognize that we don't have to feel like we are rivals all the time, just because we're women in a male dominated field. So that was just really cool to see. And then hopefully, her followers are like, Oh, this is cool. Women are helping each other even though they're competing for similar places in the sport. And I just really, really liked that I thought that was really cool of her. So again, share with your friends, when women are working together and when women help you out. The third way to be a good female ally to women, is to share opportunities with other women. Now, you can be sure I am not saying that you should give up your opportunities or that you should not go after something so that another woman can go after it. We all still got to look out for ourselves to a certain degree. But especially if you don't have skin in the game, especially if it's something unrelated to what you're going after. It's not a single role that multiple people are going after. Actively put forward the women who you know would be good for things. And there's a quote from somewhere that I saw on Pinterest that says surround yourself with women who had mentioned your name in a room full of opportunities. And I love that we all should be that woman who would mention our friends. And we should all seek out those kind of confident women who will do that for us. And I feel lucky that a bunch of my lady friends have done this. So I want to take a minute to brag about them because I love gushing about my friends. And so the first first really good friend who I met back in 2014 is Amelia de Sorrento. And she has always been focused on connecting people and she has a pretty big network. She has really big in the DC scene. And I just remember throughout our entire friendship, she'll call me up and say, Hey, I met this really cool person who's also doing fundraising. can I connect you guys to see if you might be able to learn something from each other? And I say sure, or there have been times where she meets company founders or people looking to expand their brand and social ask if she can connect me for a potential marketing partnership and just always thinking about how her friends can work together. And I think that's really, really valuable. The second friend that I want to highlight is Adri Zgirdea, so she's been my friend ended stylist for a bunch of years now. And in addition to helping me get my act together on stage and with clothing, since I cannot dress myself, she also keeps me in mind for different brand opportunities, or if she's working with a clothing company that can provide stuff that I can wear, or if there are events that I can go to, or I can meet some other higher profile people or events where I can just do some networking and put my face out there, she'll think about me, and she thinks about her other friends, and she puts them forward so that we can all try to grow professionally as we can. And the last one that I want to talk about, and again, this is not an exhaustive list. But the last one I want to highlight is Devanshi Patel, who was one of my best friends from college, and although we're in different professional circles, now, back in college, you know, she was really tuned in with, you know, these really cool events where we could do cool networking and meet really incredible people. And she was involved with various women's groups. And so she really was so happy to celebrate her friends and bring them along and help us all meet more people. And I think that gets down to the ethos of really cool friendships. It's great when you can have like a great interpersonal relationship and get along on that emotional level. But I think it adds another layer of really incredible bonding and collaboration when our friends are also able to help us professionally. And then it helps other people that you're connecting with, because they're likely to find good talent. So thinking about your friends, and talking with your friends about their skill set, and about things that they're going after and what their professional goal goals are, or what you know, for fun goals are, so that you have that in the back of your mind, so that you can put their name forward, when you see something that they could be a good fit for. I think that's a really, really cool and empowered way to be friends, and to amplify your friends and to help them be their best selves. So share opportunities with other women. The fourth way that I want to discuss being a good female ally to women, and it's something that for me is one of the most important things is to celebrate women's victories and to give those positive affirmations. Many of us have been in a situation where in a group, a woman will say something or come up with an idea, it may or may not be acknowledged. And then a guy will say it later, and it will be a great idea. This happens across industries. And the White House is another example of where women actively tried to combat this by celebrating other women's victories. So for a long time, women were very obviously the clear minority in any president's administration. And even when they got into the room and got hired for positions, a lot of times their voices were more regularly ignored. So female staffers in the Obama administration explicitly implemented an internal strategy amongst them when they were in these bigger conference rooms with more people in these group meetings, that they called amplification. An amplification meant that when a woman made a key point, other women in the room would explicitly repeat it, and make sure that they gave that public credit to the woman who said it so that no one else could take it so that they were clear that this idea originated with her. And that normalized the idea of women being competent in the room and able to, you know, come up with good ideas. And this has a ripple effect. And I think that is really, really important. And it could be a simple social media story or a tweet, it could be complimenting a woman on something that she's done, reinforcing to her that she did something great or that she accomplished a tough thing, you know, giving her that external validation. And I love bragging about my women friends and their badassery in a group, I think it's really great to highlight because a lot of times women don't like to brag a lot of times women don't like to bring attention to themselves. Normalizing women winning is so crucial normalizing women coming up with good ideas, normalizing women solving the problem simply by recognizing that they're doing it and giving that positive reinforcement, not only will help women be more likely to have the confidence to speak up and to vocalize their thoughts and to contribute to the group. But it also reinforces to everyone else in the room, that these women are coming up with good ideas. And we see this issue in school girls are less likely to raise their hand girls are less likely to give their opinion in class we're so so deeply conditioned not to assume that we're right. And so the more that we can encourage and support women and girls, when we do speak up, the more likely we are going to be able to contribute to our voice. This is important because we know and there are so many studies that show that diversity of ideas and opinions and perspectives helps with innovation helps with avoiding problems helps with bottom line productivity and beyond the group benefit because I realized as I was saying that I don't have to justify wanting to make women feel proud. Have themselves and accomplished just because it benefits the group like everyone should know when they're doing a great job. So we want to support women being victorious and having these ideas and bringing cool things to the table. The last way that I want to talk about being a great female ally to other women is to create opportunities for women to come together and share their stories and experiences and provide support if you're able to. The earliest example that I had of this in racing was with Lyn St. James, she had her women in the winner's circle where she brought on a couple dozen women to learn about all aspects of the sport. She shared her experiences, we had group dynamics, it was so cool to see a lot of these industry professionals helping us and then also knowing that we were not alone in a lot of the feelings that we were experiencing. And then another example is Pippa mann who started shift up now where she is literally investing in women and raising money to be able to provide sponsorships to women who are in the motorsports industry. It's so cool, it is so cool to have these bigger scale, more public initiatives that are showing the importance of supporting and investing in women. So thank you to everyone out there who is doing this, I know that it's it's a heavy lift, but we've got a lot of great people doing this, and I've talked about them in other episodes. So So thank you, you know, create those opportunities for women to come together and to learn and to see that there are others like them and to support them, it becomes really cool to build these communities and again, to normalize women doing what we're all doing. Those are some of the ways that I focus on being a good ally to other women. And look, I know that sometimes it can be hard, I know that we are going against ways that we are primed. I know that at the end of the day, some things are really competitive. If I'm honest, I have definitely had moments in my past where I have gotten quite jealous of other women who got opportunities that I didn't get, or I've gotten frustrated that other women in racing got to take a step that I didn't get to take like, I know that I'm not free of falling into these feeling competition moments with other women. We're all human. But the more that we can recognize when that's happening, and the more that we can fight through that and recognize that we women as a whole need to fight against the expectation that we're going to tear each other down. I think that's really important. I strongly believe that if we don't help ourselves, we're going to have a much harder time asking others to help us. And so we need to show that as women we support our own as women, we encourage our own as women we celebrate our own when they do well. It is so cool to band together and to help lift each other up. For a quick summary of the ways that I've talked about being a good female ally. It's important to mentor and share our experiences with other women so we can help prepare them. It's important to share with our friends or followers or people that we're talking with when we've had good experiences with another woman. And when we've collaborated. I think it's great to share opportunities with other women and to put their name in the mix. We want to celebrate victories and we want to give those positive reinforcements to women both to them personally and to them in a group setting. And as much as we can try to create opportunities for women to come together to share stories, and to have a place where we can invest in them and supporting them. And that is our show. Thank you everyone for tuning in. If you liked this episode, please subscribe, please rate the podcast please share it with someone who you think might enjoy this. I love Women Helping Women. I love women's empowerment. I hope this was inspiring. And thank you for letting me be honest with you and I look forward to seeing you next week.