Shamelessly Feminine: Adding My Experience to the Jen Rozenbaum Shamelessly Feminine Project

I have not written in a while, but I am so inspired this morning.  Inspired by women.  Inspired by all of our talents, obligations (chosen for us or by us), and our vast array of strengths and interests.

Inspired by the idea that dismissing a woman due to the fact that she holds many roles in family, workplace, and personal life is to sadly ignore her mind, her soul and her biology. Inspired to redefine life on a woman’s terms.

When you recognize that we are struggling to succeed professionally in a structure that is simply not conducive to women, the notion of an alternative acceptable work life culture is gloriously eye opening and yes, inspiring.

This return to my blog was spurred by a discussion thread that was started by a male colleague who is fixated on his time spent in the office and dismayed by what he perceives as a lack of work ethic and laziness in the staff that leave “early”. While I tried to bite my tongue, his obliviousness to the out-of-office obligations, priorities or passions that these “deserters” may have, caused me to do otherwise. Oh – and I left at 3:00 that day to take my daughter to ballet.

This is what Anne-Marie Slaughter refers to as the “culture of time macho” in her article that was widely circulated a couple of years back entitled Why Women Still Can’t Have it All. That is, “a relentless competition to work harder, stay later, pull more all-nighters, travel around the world and bill the extra hours that the international date line affords you… But more time in the office does not always mean more ‘value added’—and it does not always add up to a more successful organization.”

The article was my first eye opener into this alternative non-male dominated pro family universe. It spoke volumes to me – especially having been consistently criticized even as partner in a law firm for not being in the office enough once I had my first child, even though I had become more efficient and my productivity and fee income had increased.

The article is a must read, but states in part,

Ultimately, it is society that must change, coming to value choices to put family ahead of work just as much as those to put work ahead of family. If we really valued those choices, we would value the people who make them; if we valued the people who make them, we would do everything possible to hire and retain them; if we did everything possible to allow them to combine work and family equally over time, then the choices would get a lot easier.

My inspiration, however, goes beyond a woman’s commitment to her family, but to her spiritual and emotional self – which should be encouraged rather than punished. We are passionate multi-taskers, mothers, professionals, income earners, artists and friends, and indispensable to multiple people. We are women.

In the discussion thread I spoke of earlier touting the time macho culture, I was called out as a “fem nazi” (not by my colleague for whom I have great affection and who was by no means targeting women in his rant). While I’m not really offended by that term, I prefer shamelessly feminine, as poignantly coined by Jen Rozenbaum (Jenerations), New York based boudoir photographer, who shot these amazing images that you see here of yours truly. Jen, in her Shamelessly Feminine movement, urges women to stop apologizing for who they are.

Let’s stop apologizing and begin celebrating. How wonderfully liberating.

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