"Can He Say That?" Jodie Fox Talks Blatant Sexism


Ever heard of the phrase, “if you want something done right, do it yourself?” Some of the best businesses exist because their founders saw a market for something based on an obstacle they encountered themselves.

Jodie Fox is one of those people who turned her frustration with shoe shopping into a business. Fox is considered to be a pioneer in the fashion-tech industry, but don’t mistake Fox for a shoe designer. Sure, she designed the shoes on her feet, but she’s in the business of making everyone a designer. You can think of her site as the complement of NikeiD. Shoes of Prey lets you design practically any type of shoe – except for sneakers – then those shoes are manufactured and shipped directly to you. Innovative, right?

Fox started the company with her then-husband and friend, and the company is still going strong, even though her marriage is no longer. A lawyer with an advertising background, Fox stood out immediately to investors. Fox stood out in another way as well; she was the only woman within her business, and a minority in that sense.

She realized that “seemingly innocuous” comments about, say, her appearance, could indeed have adverse effects.

According Fox, there was an instance that a potential investor’s very first words to her were “you look amazing.” Comments like these cause a professional barrier, but you can decide which direction this barrier faces. For example, it’s safe to assume that the potential investor with whom Fox met remained just that – a potential. He’s the one who destroyed such a professional opportunity, not Fox.

"We think about how awkward such situations become for women, but we should also consider how self-sabotaging such behavior is for the men who make such comments,” she says.

Jodie Fox In Her Stylish Shoes Of Prey. Photo credit: Zimbio

Recent research reveals “60% of women in the industry had faced unwanted sexual advances,” and many of them don’t report them for various reasons. Some don’t even acknowledge them, for fear of facing personally and professionally damaging repercussions. The pervasive culture of valuing a woman’s looks before her brains, and inadvertently treating her less professionally than male employees, contributes to the lack of female-focused resources, namely all-female venture capital funds.

The fact is that “female partners are more likely to invest in companies with female executives and three times more likely to invest in one with a female CEO.”

Unfortunately, there’s still a shortage of these exclusively female resources, so Fox and others with similar experiences have advice for founders who may find themselves in situations that resemble theirs.

"Earlier in my career, I would have dismissed this as an off-the-cuff slip up, but as I progress, I realize it’s these seemingly innocuous comments that contribute to creating barriers for women professionally , so we really have to pay attention to that.”

– Jodie Fox (From her personal Video)

Like Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

So next time you feel like you’ve been put in an uncomfortable situation, realize that your reaction is in your hands, not the offender’s.

Photocredit: www.

| Photo By InStyle Magazine

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