This month’s Round Up
I’m talking Technology stories and asking:
Are you willing to be brave rather than perfect?
Around these parts we’re all about transforming stories – about turning lives into legends and asking the questions that help us see into the parts of ourselves waiting to emerge. The story that’s been mine and that of those I serve is about technology – I’d be so bold as to say our stories around technology are starting to gain ground on our stories around money and self worth – and woo honey, that’s saying something.
Ourselves as women who use technology is a new archetype – clearly not one our mothers and grandmothers had to figure out how to dance with in the shadow and the light potentials.
These days we’re struggling with our planet, our ecosystems, especially the one that’s inside of us, feeling the pressure on our nervous systems, our immune systems and sometimes pointing a finger at – you guessed it: our operating systems. Our computers are the portal bringing the technology into our world that both scares the hell out of us and beckons us in with incredible potential for community and sisterhood like what we have between us now, right here.
The question is, WHY does it scare us so much?
WHY do we think it will be beyond our capacity to pull it off,
start a website, write a blog EXPRESS and CONNECT?
In her recent Ted Talk Reshma Saujani founder of Girls Who Code says: “We’re raising our girls to be perfect, and we’re raising our boys to be brave…” Saujani has taken up the charge to socialize young girls to take risks and learn to program — two skills they need to move society forward. To truly innovate, we cannot leave behind half of our population, she says. ‘I need each of you to tell every young woman you know to be comfortable with imperfection.’”
Reshma says “So many women I talk to tell me that they gravitate towards careers and professions that they know they’re going to be great in, that they know they’re going to be perfect in, and it’s no wonder why. Most girls are taught to avoid risk and failure. We’re taught to smile pretty, play it safe, get all A’s. Boys, on the other hand, are taught to play rough, swing high, crawl to the top of the monkey bars and then just jump off headfirst. And by the time they’re adults, they’re habituated to take risk after risk.
An HP report found that men will apply for a job if they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, but women will apply only if they meet 100 percent of the qualifications. 100 percent. This study is usually invoked as evidence that, well, women need a little more confidence. But I think it’s evidence that women have been socialized to aspire to perfection, and they’re overly cautious.”
In Girls Who Code she found that she had to teach girls to be brave because what happened repeatedly was that they would try to write code and then delete their work. Instead of showing all the work they had done, they said they couldn’t do it.
“It was perfection, or nothing.”
Ah. The mantra we’ve inherited over many generations.
Reshma then references a friend at University of Columbia who teaches computer science students. When the guys are struggling with an assignment,they’ll come in and they’ll say, “Professor, there’s something wrong with my code.” The girls will come in and say, “Professor, there’s something wrong with me.”
She believes we have to undo the socialization of perfection and let girls know they are not alone.
The girls say to her: “I’m afraid to raise my hand, I’m afraid to ask a question, because I don’t want to be the only one who doesn’t understand, the only one who is struggling.“
The story of these girls is the story of us as women.
I hear the fear rise up again and again among my sisters and colleagues. We feel like if we enter into the realm of technology we’ll get lost, won’t keep up, have to ‘market’ like some back alley salesman. We’re afraid to raise our hands and ask how to proceed, because surely everyone knows how to do all of this stuff? When the fact is, technology is a wide wide world and you don’t need to know it all. Just enough, just your piece.
Because the truth is and as the Girls Who Code are learning, we can use technology to build things OUR way. In community. And it can evolve as WE want it to.
“When we teach girls to be brave and we have a supportive network cheering them on, they will build incredible things, and I see this every day. Take, for instance, two of our high school students who built a game called Tampon Run — yes, Tampon Run — to fight against the menstruation taboo and sexism in gaming.”
But Cowgirl sisters, what we can’t do – is retreat. The world needs the work of women. The healers, the artists, the shamans, the energy workers, the priestesses, the coaches, your gifts and those you love and want to connect with. And the world needs it NOW. Technology isn’t going anywhere and neither are we – if we allow ourselves to be brave.
For me and for many of us, our hesitation comes from the idea that technology is too big for us, so we retreat, go back to staying small in our home communities – instead of having that AND the outreach of a larger community. A particular story of ours is we’re afraid we’ll lose touch with the earth, our connection with nature and family and sensual pleasure. This is one of our myths, that we can’t be connected to nature and a part of the evolution of the planet that needs us and our voice at the same time.
I live in Maine, where the city folk have come for hundreds of years to “rusticate”. I hike mountain trails with glorious brooks and waterfalls and views of the ocean dotted with islands. I sail in the summer with seals and whales and petrels, and live in absolute devotion to the night sky blazing over us up here so far north of the cities. In the winter I stay warm through blizzards with a wood stove and lose the lights at the first hint of a Nor’easter. I also run an internet business and teach others to do the same. And frankly, most of you reading likely have a faster connection speed than I do! Yet I can work with 10 sites at at time.
You’d be amazed at what’s possible. What’s available to us now. Your choices are there. You can reduce your overwhelm with a few simply daily adjustments (I can show you how). You don’t have to lose touch with what matters to you. Instead that’s what you build from, what you honor in your work.
After her talk Reshma said: “It’s crazy to me to think about the fact that right now 85 percent of all consumer purchases are made by women. Women use social media at a rate of 600 percent more than men. We own the Internet, and we should be building the companies of tomorrow.”
So I’m asking you – have you felt the call, but hesitated to raise your hand?
We may be past learning to be Girls Who Code.
But we can be Women Who WordPress.
I’m inviting you now at WHATEVER technology level you currently reside, to join me in learning what is possible for you and therefore for all of us. Women are changing the world, one connection at a time. Please don’t leave your words unsaid.
With Wild Blessings and Great Heart,
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We at Cosmic Cowgirls are so thrilled to be working with Danna Clare in her upcoming course, Queen of Your Domain.
She is a long time Cosmic Cowgirl and was part of the first LEGEND online work we ever created. She has been working with us over at the magazine and building websites for COLOR of WOMAN graduates and finally we get to share the treasure that is Danna in the Queen of Your Domain.
I have spoken to her at length about her views on creating an online presence and the energy and integrity and ‘come from’ that goes into it and she is SHILOH approved – which isn’t easy as I am very sensitive about how marketing happens in the world – and how we share ourselves. She looks at it much like I do – that it is an online altar. A sacred space within technology.
We are super excited to be able to offer this – and to put the tool in YOUR HANDS to create your online world – we need to be empowered to create – to speak our own message – to gather our communities together. She will show you how it is done. I have hired her myself to create a new website for Cosmic Cowgirls – and I could not be happier.
If you are ready to be OUT HERE in the world where the stars converge online – consider joining us.
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Danna works with creative women entrepreneurs and artistic beings who love to express themselves and assists them to reveal and celebrate their unique vision through the specialized lens of the internet world. She guides her beloveds through the journey so they have a vessel to connect effectively on-line and engage with their community in a way that feels right for them. Danna welcomes adventurous women ready to open to wonder and create with her in her vision-quest style of website design at InspiredEyeCreative.com and through her private mentorship program Queen of Your Domain for learning to create your own space on the web.