I cried at work

September 5, 2014

Aside from major life tragedies (sickness, loss, prejudice, poverty, war, death), is there anything worse than crying in front of coworkers?

That moment when you feel your cheeks turning red, are unable to blink fast enough to stave off tears, and lose all control in an environment where self-composure and confidence hail supreme?

Usually there’s not a worse feeling. But not this time, my friends.

This time, I felt a mixture of silly embarrassment and glorious pride as I blotted the corners of my eyes. I didn’t mind in the least bit that the instructor’s gaze landed directly on mine or that my coworkers heard my sniffling.

I was taking part in a Community Health Worker training class and we were discussing cultural intelligence; in particular, how gender roles are established and reinforced.

The instructor casually dropped a bomb on me when I was least expecting it. It came in the form of a YouTube clip about a campaign I had read about months ago, but had never taken the time to actually watch: Always #LikeAGirl

This 3-minute video gives a glimpse into how fragile the identity of a female is as she transitions from a little girl into an adolescent and beyond. How seemingly innocent words that are directed at her, about her, with little to no regard of her internal drive or ability, but rather solely focused on her external anatomy, can have lasting consequences.

The athlete in me wanted to scream out DON’T EVER DOUBT YOURSELF! to 10-year old Dakota, the feisty brunette dressed in the rainbow-striped tank top.

The mother in me wanted to throw my arms around the boy in yellow who came to the realization, with a wee bit of nudging from Director Lauren Greenfield, that he will think before he judges girls – including his sister – in the future.

The writer in me wanted to capture all the thoughts spinning round and round in my head…

One of those being how fascinated I am in seeing the reverse side of the coin: What is means to do things #LikeABoy.

Another being how grateful I am that a feminine hygiene product company finally got it right with their customer messaging.

And, lastly, I wondered why I was so deeply affected watching it considering I’ve always considered myself to be a confident person. I guess it just reminded me of times in my life when I doubted myself.

This video tugged on my heart because it gave a voice to those who have felt wrongly judged.

Everyone has a burden to carry, a hurdle to clear, a story to tell. You have the right to write your story.

Here’s another fun video just because. GO GIRLS!

Written by Heidi Woodard

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16 responses to I cried at work

  1. 

    I lift like a girl, surf like a girl, and cry like one too. Being the father of a wonderful girl, I consider being compared to one the highest compliment. Off to watch Mulan again…

    Well done!

  2. 

    The first time I saw that video, it made me cry too! I love everything about this post, Heidi. I love everything you said here. Particularly, the part about a feminine hygiene product company finally getting their customer messaging right. These companies have a perfect opportunity to help empower young girls and women. Hopefully, the days of commercials with women flitting through fields of tall grass and staring dreamily into the camera are gone for good. I, for one, have never once flitted through a field of tall grass, but I have definitely thrown #LikeAGirl!

    • 

      Thank heavens we weren’t together watching it! There would have been a lot of “don’t look at me right now as my lip quivers uncontrollably” glances going back and forth. Ha!

  3. 

    I saw the video to. I’m going to add it to a PowerPoint I talk to my design students about campaigns that are powerful. The Dove Campaign was a good one to.

    I work with mostly males, and have cried at work before. I don’t think they saw, but maybe they knew. Sometimes I cry over something I’ve watched, but other times I’ve cried because I felt I was treat unfairly. My sister had a special needs baby that is sick a lot, and has to have surgeries. I’m sure I’ve cried a time or two over him. I’m not a crier in general, but it’s happened. I know I make it sound like I do. I’ve worked here for years.

    Both times I was prego there was some crazy thing happening. The Von Maur shooting, and the boy scouts that died in a tornado. When I was pregnant my hormones were all over. I cried for 1 whole day with each of those things.

    • 

      Crying simply shows you feel. Not that someone who doesn’t cry is incapable of feeling…I don’t mean that. I just mean there is no reason to apologize for feeling. I love the Dove campaign too.

  4. 

    The world is changing, slooooowwwwwwllllllyyyy, but changing still. Thank God.

  5. 

    This reminds me of the Sarah Silverman comedy special she did recently. She doesn’t advocate telling girls that they can be anything they want to be because it implies the thought that other people think you can’t be if you are female. It was meant to be funny, but there is some truth to it. Why must we always be you can be just as good as a boy at something…maybe we can be better…hmmm 🙂

    • 

      I agree, Cynthia. And, ultimately, it’s not a race to prove who’s better. It’s simply acknowledging that neither sex needs to ever be deemed as inferior. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Thanks for commenting.

  6. 

    Love the post Heidi! Wow, what a powerful and thought provoking message from Always and the participants in the video shoot. I love it when a brand takes up a “message” and you’re right they pretty much nailed it. I hope they use this messaging in different forms so it gets the attention it deserves. Well done Always.

    P.S. Love Jimmy Fallon. He’s so funny and talented.

    • 

      I hope they continue to challenge men and women to never feel belittled or like they’re less than whole. We all need to be reminded of our value/strengths every now and then! I firmly believe that Jimmy Fallon could run the free world. Laughter solves everything!

  7. 

    Excellent post!! As the mother of a teenage girl, a pre-teen girl and two feminist boys (lol), this post mirrors many conversations we have had to have in our house. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, you ended with Meghan Trainor, The Roots and my boyfriend Jimmy Fallon!!