A few months ago, the Tribe of Women team spent the day in one of our favorite retail shops in our hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas – Handmade Market. Owners Shannon and Bryan Gott have been supporters of our mission and vision since the very first sparks of the movement started to fly, and we were thrilled to have our inaugural retail merchandise available in their shop throughout the month of February, which we have dubbed “Love Your Tribe” month.
Our first batch of Love Your Tribe t-shirts arrived from our sponsor Wildheart Printing just in time to be premiered that month, and we were tickled to hear that you love them as much as we do. Now, the shirts are for sale online on our website, under our Shop tab!
Thanks to our partnerships with Arcade Coffee Roasters and Savageann products we were able to promote our “Get 1 Gift 1” motto. Handmade also has some of their regular merchandise priced to inspire the desire to get one for yourself and gift one to your tribe.
During our open house at Handmade, love busted out all over in the back room. We covered a couple of tables with paper and stickers and assorted supplies and encouraged anyone who wanted to get their craft on to make cards for their tribe. We love the conversations that happen when women come together – some who know each other, some who don’t – and get busy making.
So, thank you so MUCH to everyone who was part of this first foray into the retail world and bringing Tribe of Women swag to market. If you are a retailer or creator that would like to do retail partnership or events with us, please contact us at email@example.com.
Just want to stay in the know about new products, get coupon codes, and be entered to win gifts from us when you Join THE Tribe and our newsletter.
We love our tribe. And thank you for loving us RIGHT BACK!
Last weekend, I spent a chilly, overcast day with several hundred thousand other women and men of all ages, colors and creeds on the Mall in Washington DC. Several things compelled me to go to the Women’s March on Washington, but one of my goals was to capture some of the stories of women who would be attending with me – stories that also compelled them to travel to the nation’s capital to make their voices heard.
As I was traveling, several friends contacted me to wish me well and tell me that I was marching for them because they couldn’t attend a march at home. I cannot put into words how humbled I was by their sincere gratitude for my willingness to do something that I was not at all hesitant to do. It felt a little silly to say “you’re welcome” when I would have gone for the sheer enjoyment of traveling, seeing my brother and his family, eating amazing Lebanese food, and getting to hang out with the friends who flew out with me. Standing up for women’s rights was kind of the cherry on top.
At some point, I realized that if each of the 200,000 attendees that march organizers were anticipating in DC were marching for others, we would be representing an amazing number of women across the country. To our astonishment, the total estimate announced Sunday was around 500,000. Considering how many friends I was representing, there were around 5 million people represented by marchers in DC alone.
Extrapolate that out for the total number of people marching in the entire U.S. – estimated at 3 million – and 30 MILLION people were represented by the women and men who marched last Saturday. Even if you cut that in half to account for people who weren’t representing as many as I was, 15 million is not paltry. Obviously, a lot of people felt strongly about the mission and vision of the event.
But Monday, social media started looking sad. Friends of mine were sharing status updates they found online – some were pretty hateful – about the Women’s March. These posts didn’t just communicate a lack of information about the purpose of the women’s march or ask genuine questions to learn why women marched, they directly questioned the need for the event at all, and in some cases, harshly criticized marchers with personal attacks and name-calling.
Now, I and others like me could simply scroll past these posts and move on, choosing to “go high” when others “go low” (thanks Michelle!). For these situations, I am particularly fond of the “unfollow” feature on Facebook. On the other hand, I strongly believe I have a responsibility to respond. Because, while I most definitely marched for women of color (who have been marching a hell of a lot longer than I have), and my LGBTQIA friends and family, immigrant women raising children my son attends school with, women with disabilities, victims of sexual violence, women who worship in mosques and temples, and the rights of my daughters to be in control of their own reproductive health and earn what they deserve in the workplace, I also marched for women who aren’t aware their rights are being threatened, and who lash out against things they don’t understand with criticism and disdain. To those women, I say “It’s okay if you don’t understand why I chose to march (or even oppose the stated reasons for the march online) – I marched for you anyway.”
All the freedoms women enjoy today – our freedom to make our own decisions about our healthcare, the ability to take out a loan in our own name, the right to vote, the ability of our daughters to play sports just like your sons, the right to speak out against sexual harassment and demand equal pay in the workplace – ALL of those freedoms were won in part by women who were willing to march. Some of them may were probably told they don’t speak for their peers, but they still marched. I am grateful for those women. And last Saturday, I was proud to take my place in line with those women to keep those freedoms from disappearing.
At the very root of everything Tribe of Women stands for is the desire to create a culture of women supporting women. We have more similarities than differences – we must remember that. I spoke to dozens of women at the march about our mission last Saturday. I watched eyes light up and smiles break across faces when I proposed the idea that we can come from different backgrounds and have different lives and goals, and STILL STAND TOGETHER.
I think I can safely say that we have all been the victim of the normalization of “mean girl” culture in our society: the judgement and criticism that transpires among women, directed toward women they disagree with. The belief that women are inherently mean to each other. We have witnessed useless debates over breast vs. bottle, work outside the home vs. staying home, judging the size of one’s family, are leggings pants or pajamas (yes, some debates are this silly)… the list seems endless.
But in the end, we are all women. We should be demanding the right to decide for ourselves what is right for us, as individuals, based on our own personal life-choices and beliefs. We should be encouraging each other to make those decisions even if they are not the decisions we would make for ourselves. And we should be able to make those personal decisions without suffering the backlash of other women questioning the decisions we have made for ourselves.
It’s simple, really: If you want to understand why I marched, I am happy to share. If you don’t want to march, you don’t have to. But every day, whether or not you know why, I’m still marching for you.
Flashback to a conference room table. Seven men, two women sitting side-by-side, and a presenter are gathered as a professional peer group. Introductions are being made by the leader of the group. He starts with the man next to him, says his name, his company, and what he does. He then proceeds to the first woman, says her name, that she is the girlfriend and better half of her boyfriend, and moves on to the next woman to introduce her as the better half of her husband. He moves on through the rest of the group, introducing each man and including their company and skill-set.
The second woman is older and more experienced, and the introductions of her colleagues is starting to be drowned out by the blood rushing to her ears and her inner voice is saying, “This is wrong.” while the voice of doubt chimes in, “Maybe I heard that wrong or am overreacting.” supporting the voice of society whispering, “I don’t want to sound bitchy.”
Things come back around to the group leader who is preparing to have the presenter speak. “Excuse me.” says the older woman. “I’d like to take just a moment to make sure our presenter has the same background information about everyone at the table.” The ocean sound in her head has cleared with only one voice remaining. She proceeds to share the professional profile of the young woman next to her as well as her own. When she’s done, she smiles, says thank you, and gestures to proceed. No anger, no fist pounding, no name calling. It just needed to be done.
Afterward, the older woman is talking to a male colleague from the group and asks if he noticed the skewed introductions. Nope. Again, the heat rises in her ears in a combination of disbelief, frustration, and anger. Maybe she should have been more forceful, more obvious, and more blatant so that the oversight and correction would be noticed! But someone did notice.
Flash forward to six months after the meeting, the young woman asks the older woman to coffee. They know one another better now, and consider themselves to be friends. The coffee is casual, but the younger woman seems to have something specific she wants to talk about. “Do you remember that meeting?” she asks, describing the day of the sexist introductions. “I couldn’t believe it was happening. I questioned my own sanity and didn’t know what to say or do. And then you spoke up for us. It woke me up to what happens to women every day, that what I’m experiencing IS real, as well as what I can do about it. I can speak up for myself, and others. Gracefully. Tactfully. But definitely, and without apology.” So, while the older woman was fuming over the fact that the men in the room had not noticed, the person who mattered – who would go forward, listen to her own inner voice from that point forward, affect change, and do the same for others – did.
One of thousands
This is one of thousands of stories women experience every day. Opportunities to support other women. Our colleagues, our friends, our daughters of birth or of our heart. Sometimes they are as unconscious as how you conduct yourself. Other times, they are as intentional as reaching out and lifting up through mentoring, volunteering, advocating, or having a work-place strategy like the women of the White House. They all start with trusting your own inner voice, then navigating the jungle of doubt, judgement, and crazy makers to use that voice in speaking up for ourselves and others.
What have you done or experienced in finding, listening and then acting upon your inner voice? What stories do you have? What wisdom can you share? Speak up! Comment on this post or submit your stories at our website. We’re listening, and we hear you.