That's right – DIVORCE party. A party to celebrate the completion of a divorce. Sound strange? That's what I used to think…until I became a party planner and saw the positive side of this fast-growing trend.
Divorce parties have become a booming addition to the event planning industry in recent years. Of course, some tend to skew to the negative (think – cakes with knives, ex-husband photo dart boards, ex-wife piñatas…). But let me be perfectly clear about the philosophy I share with my clients when planning their divorce party: It's not about fanning the flames of hate. It's not about making a mockery of what was once a central part of your life, or about trashing the ex. Yes, getting divorced is very painful even in the best of circumstances, but it's much more productive to resist those negative impulses and focus instead on the positive aspects of your new life status.
It's important to remember, this whole thing started with love and marriage. I encourage my clients to choose the high road, to celebrate new beginnings with friends, family and fun. Women (or men) who are strong enough to get themselves out of a bad situation, for the sake of themselves and/or for their children, deserve to move on in an affirmative, liberating way. It's okay – even healthy – to feel relief and to look forward to moving on to the next chapter of your life. You just have to give yourself permission!
Says divorce attorney Helen M. Dukhan, co-founder and partner of HD Family Law Group, “My motto is: 'Nothing says a good day like a divorce'...not because I'm being funny, not because the process isn't difficult, long and sometimes super expensive, but because of how my clients feel when it's finalized and they are FREE! They are empowered. That is why I love my job, because I help my clients prepare for the divorce, guide them through it, and then I celebrate with them once it is over and done with."
So…are you ready to open your mind to the idea of a divorce party? Here are 10 great reasons to feel good about your – or your friend's – choice to have one:
Show the world you're fine, you're strong, and you're moving forward.
Embrace new beginnings
This is the first day of the rest of your life. A party is a great way to kick off your new independence and leave the past behind.
Ease a difficult time
After going through a rough time, you deserve to surround yourself with supportive and encouraging people, and let them shower you with love. What could be better than having all your BFFs and loved ones together in the same place – celebrating YOU?
Take a risk
It might feel uncomfortable or unusual at first, but opening yourself up to a new experience will make you feel empowered.
Do something fun
Consider picking a fun theme and bringing it to life with special décor, a fancy cake, and even your own signature cocktail. Whatever works for you. Use your imagination!
Take some amazing photos
According to professional photographer, Celestina Ando, “photos are a great way to feel empowered." You'll have a whole new collection of great pics to look at and remind yourself how much you are loved. (Not to mention sharing them on social media – with you looking fabulous and having the time of your life!)
Open yourself up to meeting new people
Ask your guests to each bring a friend you can meet and expand your horizons. If you're ready, announce to your family and friends that you're open to dating again. You'd be surprised how quickly your network can grow.
Okay, this sounds shallow, but hey, now that your belongings have been split up, you may need stuff.
Express your gratitude
For everyone who has been there for you through thick and thin – lending an ear, offering advice, providing support, being a friend – throw a party to thank them for standing by your side. Everybody wins!
Give yourself a little TLC
Book a pre-party spa or beauty appointment, get glammed up, and wear your favorite outfit or splurge on a new one. Show off the new you, single and ready to take on the world!
Parties are meant to acknowledge life events – whatever we deem those to be. Divorce parties are becoming more and more mainstreamed as a way to acknowledge that phase of life and move on to the next one. Instead of staying lost in the sorrow or bitterness of the past, choose optimism and positivity for the future. Live it up!
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.