Living in a man’s world

Don’t’ you think it’s time we empowered our women?

By Kat Karpoff

“That’s not a girl’s job,”  my step-father would say when I would ask if I could cut the wood or mow the lawn.  

“What do you mean that’s not a girl’s job?  Why not?”  

“Because that’s a man’s job.”  

And he’d take my brothers out to mow the lawn and chop the wood.  These were some of my first encounters with judgements about my sex. As I got older, I continued to feel disrespected and un-empowered. In my teens, I started to believe it.  

I was surrounded by women who dressed for men, who spoke for men, who looked a certain way, even uncomfortably, for men.  I know I did, too.  I am not excluding myself.  But what does this say about how our women are feeling?  

I never spoke up for myself, even as someone would push themselves up on me and I would kindly reject them. They would grunt, “Pffft.  Whatever, you’re ugly.”   As if rejection all of the sudden rendered me an ogre.  Is that really the message men want to be sending out to women?  

Come on, dude. Take rejection like a woman: calm and collected.  

Once, outside of a club, I was talking to someone I knew and his friend said, “Come on, man, let’s go inside. There’s way hotter chicks in there.”  

So I’m also an ogre if I don’t give a man any attention. Noted. Grow some ovaries because, like the lovely Betty White says, “they sure know how to take a pounding.”

When I was younger, I was passive because I wanted attention. I wanted to be pretty and I really wanted to be liked. Instead, I was walked all over.  I know I am a really strong woman.  Unfortunately, strong women are “bitches” and “rude” and “need to back off.”  I am very laid back, but if I have an opinion, I am apparently all the aforementioned names.

Getting into producing has been an especially delicious treat.  I have had men roll their eyes at me in meetings when I talk.  I have been in a pre-meeting and had one of my ideas brushed off, only to sit down with another male who said the same thing and be taken as gospel. Those reading this have probably gone through something similar and are infuriated.  

The craziest thing about all of it is that I am STILL apologetic.  I apologetically talk about the projects I am working on.  I apologetically talk about my decade or more of experience in my industry.  I apologetically talk about my plans for the future and what’s next for me.  And my question to you is: isn’t it time all of us women stopped apologizing?  Isn’t it time that we started empowering our women?  

It starts at home with our girls.  It starts with saying, “Yes, you can do anything!” and “Your biggest asset is your self-esteem, so never do anything that makes you feel yucky.”  We should be teaching our teens not to sleep anyone they wouldn’t want to be like (advice from Teal Swan), or not to dress (or, in fact, dress) in anything that makes them question their worth. And, especially, “Never apologize for saying no, and sticking up for yourself.”  

Let’s do better to empower our girls and women. Let’s stop apologizing for being awesome, smart, hard-working game changers. You are more than your looks.  And you are worth the world, a million times over.

11013590_10155766951085179_1918816056290725952_nKat Karpoff is a modern hippie, actress, writer, and lover of all things creative.