Exactly one year ago today I wrote one of my favorite blogs ever. I’m re-blogging this for all my readers who are new to me, and unlike some of you, haven’t gone back in the archives to see what they might have missed. When I wrote this it was before a reality star won the presidency. It was long before women’s rights were at risk the way they are just twelve short months later. I always write from my heart, so when I wrote this there was no way I could have possibly known that it was about to get a whole lot worse for us women than it already was. Yet here we are. There is a leader in the White House who is systematically removing human rights for all people who are not straight old white men. It is disheartening. But I say we push on harder than we did before. We cannot let this current administration push us back into the kitchen, we’ve made such incredible progress, we cannot lose hope or steam.
This is an attitude that has always fascinated me. The one that all strong women, in business, or in life, when they stick to their guns, or insist that they know the correct way for a task to be executed, then express themselves with confidence, and strength, get called a BITCH.
Usually behind her back.
And sadly, not only by men, but fellow females too.
Why? Why can’t I, you, all of us women be strong? Or speak with conviction, and authority, and simply be referred to as, savvy, fearless, admirable, bold or any other descriptive, positive word?
Why must I, or you, be labeled BITCH, but men are just men? I don’t get it. Never have.
When I was cheering professionally, back in 1991 for the Grey Cup winning Toronto Argonauts, we were in Winnipeg for the big game. A bunch of us were having drinks in the hotel room with our choreographer, he called me a bitch for an opinion I was sharing, I suggested he rethink his attitude toward me. He refused, and carried on further. He ended up wearing my drink, in his face. If you want bitch, I can give you bitch. Many years later he was charged with some sexual offence, that I didn’t care enough to pay attention to, it simply confirmed what I already knew about the man. He didn’t respect women. End of story. Later when I went into business for myself, and opened the only TaeBo studio outside of LA, I had to deal with a plethora of gym owners, instructors, you name it who were all trying to claim they “were certified to teach TaeBo.” They were not. I was the only person outside of Billy Blanks’ LA studio who had been trained, and certified by him while living in LA. Every day, for a good year, began with me sending out a polite, “Hi, I’m Shantelle Bisson, a certified, authentic Billy Blanks TaeBo instructor who owns the Toronto TaeBo studio. Billy, and I, would appreciate if you would stop trying to confuse consumers with the claim that you are sanctioned. Blah, blah, blah…”
A lovely, light, friendly, Cease and Desist letter. Without fail, one of two things would happen: 1) they would flat out ignore me, and continue on in their stealing, lying ways, or 2) they would call, or show up at my studio so they could personally tell me to “go f*#k myself.” Charming. My reaction was also, always the same. They were served a real Cease and Desist letter from my legal team.
You know what happened in the fitness community?
I got the label of being a BITCH.
Oh right, cuz trying to protect my investment, and my reputation while you try to cheat, steal and lie makes me the person of “ill repute?”
Makes total sense.
What compelled me to share this topic, as my thing that makes me “go hmmm” today, is due to Hilary Clinton’s speech last night, which I’ve yet to watch. But, I’ve watched snippets of it on my computer, and also read some of the comments, which cause me distress, in the way men are speaking about her. As if because she’s a woman she’s incapable, or not worthy of aspiring to be President. Never mind having the “right” in some of their opinions to run, and win. Check out the covers of some of the major newspapers. Who is on every single cover. Hilary. Nah. Why her? She’s just a woman attempting to become the first female President. It’s Bill. Bill is on the front page. That saddens me. It reveals that we’re really not any further ahead than we were in 1991, or 1998, even though my examples, above, happened a quarter of a century ago.
A QUARTER OF A CENTURY.
People, come on. Men, honestly. Wake the f*#k up. We’re good enough to make families with. We’re bright/important/trustworthy enough to run your households, raise your kids, take care of YOU. But we still cannot assert ourselves without being called a BITCH? Or lead a Country due to our gender???
Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm…