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What Most Women Are Afraid To Say About The #MeToo Movement

3min read
Culture

Being raised Catholic was not my choice. And I questioned it constantly. Part of being Catholic then was learning that there were things you never talked about and never asked about (even if you thought about them constantly). That may still be the case, but I chose to leave Catholicism decades ago.


The phrase "the elephant in the room" comes to mind for such topics. Growing up I felt like there were twenty full-grown elephants in every room at all times, squishing me to the point where I couldn't breathe. Things like, just go to church and don't ask why you have to every Sunday, or we know Uncle Charlie is an alcoholic but just ignore that he just drank an entire bottle of wine at dinner.

As soon as I was brave enough to, I vowed that I would live a life without elephants in the room. Unless I was at the zoo or a nature preserve because I do love elephants—unfortunately for them, their size works really well for this metaphor. I've been living an elephant-free life for some time now and frankly do not know very many others who do. Folks seem okay with keeping particular topics under wraps even if they are losing their minds about them on the inside.

While it was groundbreaking when introduced in 2006, the #metoo movement, which was "founded to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly Black women and girls, and other young women of color from low income communities find pathways to healing," has morphed into a platform for blame and shame to expose and crucify men—oftentimes, unjustly. Look, I've seen my share of men behaving badly or downright inappropriately and getting away with it, but the vast number of men are good people who respect women (likely because they had mothers who would kill them if they didn't).

Girls are generally taught to not display aggression, but we can still show them how to be strong and empowered while being respectful and commanding respect in return. I certainly have no tolerance for any type of domestic abuse situation or sexual harassment of any kind and wholeheartedly believe in education and intervention.

But this movement has inadvertently created a society of distrust and fear—men in the workplace and social situations don't know if they can compliment a woman without fear of retaliation or if they can volunteer to mentor a woman without being accused of misconduct, etc. The workplace at-large requires that men and women respect each other and work together, not create platforms that further divide us. It's just not healthy.

"But this movement has inadvertently created a society of distrust and fear"

Women need to be able to clearly delineate between behavior classified as intimidation or threats from an unwanted pass and a genuine compliment. I, for one, would like to see men continue opening doors and holding elevators for women—that's chivalry, a concept that's been around since medieval times. I am confident enough in my own abilities and how I present myself to the world to not need reinforcement from a man; but if a man says I look nice today, I'm going to thank him for noticing. Just as I would if another woman said the same thing.

My son, who I believe has a high level of respect for women and sees women as equals, was shocked when I told him that I believed the #metoo movement has many unintended consequences; he called me an anomaly. To the contrary—I've had a number of one-off or small group conversations with affluent, professional, smart/savvy women who have confided the same view but would never say that openly for fear of negatively affecting their careers or how the carpool moms might see them.

"My son, who I believe has a high level of respect for women and sees women as equals, was shocked when I told him that I believed the #metoo movement has many unintended consequences; he called me an anomaly"

I feel like I am in a minority of women who have a solid core of self-confidence, are bold enough to stand tall, and choose to (respectfully) escort the elephant right out of the room. How do you define yourself, how many elephants are in your room and what are you going to do about it ?

Business

Taking My Own Advice: How I Learned To Let Go Of The Things That Are Out Of My Control

It seemed like everything happened overnight because, well… it did.


One moment, my team and I were business as usual, running a multi-million-dollar edible cookie dough company I built from scratch in my at-home kitchen five years ago and the next we were sitting in an emergency management team meeting asking ourselves, "What do we do now?" Things had escalated in New York, and we were all called to do our part in "flattening the curve" and "slowing the spread."

The governor had declared that all restaurants immediately close to the public. All non-essential businesses were also closed, and 8.7 million New Yorkers were quarantined to their tiny apartments for the foreseeable future. Things like "social distancing" and "quarantine" were our new 2020 vernacular — and reality.

What did that mean for us? Our main revenue source was the retail part of the business. Sure, we offered delivery and take-out, but that was such a small portion of our sales. I had built a retail experience where people from near and far came to eat edible cookie dough exactly how they craved it. We had two stores, one in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, which employed over 55 people. We have two production facilities; an online business shipping cookie dough nationwide; a wholesale arm that supplies stores, restaurants, and other retail establishments with treats; and a catering vertical for customizable treats for celebrations of all sizes. And while business and sales were nearly at a complete halt, we still had bills. We had payroll to pay, vendors we owed, services we were contractually obligated to continue, rent, utilities, insurance, and none of that was stopping.

How were we going to do this? And for how long will this go on? No one knew.

As an entrepreneur, this certainly wasn't my first-time facing challenges. But this was unprecedented. Unimaginable. Unbelievable. Certainly unplanned. This control-freak type-A gal was unraveling. I had to make decisions quickly. What was best for my team? For my business? For the safety of my staff? For the city? For my family and unborn baby (oh, yeah, throw being 28 weeks pregnant and all those fun hormones in there, it's real interesting!). Everything was spiraling out of control.

I decided to take the advice I had given to many people over the years — focus on the things you can control. There's no point worrying about all the things you have no control over. If you focus there, you'll just continue spiraling into a deeper, darker hole. Let it go. Once you shift your perspective, you can move forward. It's not going to be easy; the challenges still exist. But you can control certain things, so focus your energy and attention on those.

So that's what I did. I chose, for the safety of staff and customers, to close the retail portion completely — it wasn't worth the take-out and delivery volume to staff the store, open ourselves up to more germs and human contact than absolutely necessary.

I went back to our mission and the reason I started the business in the first place — to spread joy. How could we continue to bring happiness to people during this uncertain time? That's our purpose. With millions of people across the globe stuck inside, working from home, quarantined with their families, how can we reach them since they can't come to us? So I thought back to how and why we got started.

Baking, for me, has always been a type of therapy. I could get lost in the mixing bowl and forget about everything else for a moment in time. Sure, I have a huge sweet tooth, but it's about the process. It's about taking all of these different ingredients and mixing them together to create something magically sweet and special. It's about creating and being creative with the simple things. It's about allowing people to indulge in something that brings them joy — a lick from the spatula or a big batch of cookies.

It's about joy in the moment and sharing that joy with others. So my focus is back on that, and it feels good.

We could still ship nationwide, straight to people's doorstep. So we are making it easier and less expensive to send the ultimate comfort food (edible cookie dough) by introducing a reduced shipping rate, and deals on some of our best-selling packages.

In a way for us, it feels like we are going back in time… back to our roots. When I first started the business, we were only shipping nationwide. There were no stores, no big team, no wholesale. It was just me, a small crew juggling it all, and we made it work then. And we'll make it work again. We have to leverage our online business and hope it floats us through this time.

We are focusing our digital content strategy on sharing recipes, activities, and at-home treats with our engaged, amazing social following so they bake with their families and stay busy at-home. We started live baking tutorials where our fans can bake-along with me and I can share all the tips and tricks I've learned over the years with them.

I've leveraged the cookbook I published last year, Hello, Cookie Dough: 110 Doughlicious Confections to Eat, Bake & Share, to come up with fun content and additional things to do at home. We started shipping it and our at-home baking mixes for free to encourage people to get busy in their kitchens!

And as a business, we will continue to connect with our community to bring them joy and focus on what we can control, including our attitude and outlook first.

During times of uncertainty, which this certainly is, you should do the same. Identify the things you can control and focus your time and energy on those things. Distract yourself with the positive. Force yourself to stop asking and worrying about all the what-ifs. Do what you can for the moment and then the next moment. Make a list, and take it day-by-day.

It's going to be okay. You will be okay. We will all be okay.