In college this topic was covered constantly: Gender in media. What they really meant to say is women, but that would be a little tactless, wouldn’t it? Women in media, it doesn’t seem to be that much of a deal to outsiders, but trust and believe there are things that we go through that are and are not covered in the classroom.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, otherwise, I wouldn’t do it. I’ve worked in production and writing for years and have recently delved into the independent music scene — a move I never expected to make, but when nature calls you answer. However, despite how much I love it, there are things I’ve had to get used to.
- Being “The Girl”
This really isn’t so much of a shocker to me anymore. But then again, this doesn’t really apply to my team. Believe it or not, it was pretty easy for me to integrate myself with “the boys,” as I call them. They both already had their roles and I sort of just fell into mine. Even with the artists that I work closely with, I’ve never felt singled out because I’m a woman. Whether it’s for my emotions, my actions, etc… they respect me as a person. I’m so thankful for that.
However, it’s different for people outside my team. I’ve had people mistake me for a girlfriend or a normal party girl. Sometimes people try to turn work into something else, if you know what I mean. Conversations can even get a little awkward, because “there’s a girl here” and when that happens it’s like a filter goes on or a light bulb goes off that you’re not a boy. (Note: guys your sensitivity is appreciated but trust me, what you have to say is probably not that bad compared to what we discuss over wine).
My point is that, I’ve been reminded on more than one occasion of my gender, most of the time unintentionally. And that in turn has made me feel like I needed to work harder to prove something. It’s not a bad thing necessarily, but it can be overwhelming.
To be honest, the best thing I’ve done is just be myself. The people who matter, your team/family, will learn to deal with you like you learn to deal with them.
- It Does Affect Your Personal Relationships
I’m the queen of busy. I co-host a radio show, manage LadySenTalks along with an artist…I can go on for days about my odd jobs. The point is, my work has integrated itself into my personal life. I don’t have as much free time, and when I think I might have some, I still tote my phone laptop/tablet just in case.
My career can be hard for people to understand. I’ve had arguments with loved ones thinking that my job is just fun and games, that I stay out late to hang out or party and I don’t talk to them because I’m ignoring them. That’s obviously not the case.
I can’t count how many times I’ve gotten the “Why are you out so late?” or a remark about me being around men or my safety. How many times I’ve explained that, yes, I chose my career, and this is something that comes with it by default. And safety isn’t an issue. That there are rappers, singers, hosts, promoters, DJs, etc. and they can be men or women and I have to interact with them. And while all this is true, keep in mind that whoever is saying this to you, their feelings are valid.
Now while they should understand that this is a job, it’s also your job to make sure they don’t feel neglected. That you make time for them. It’s hard, especially if you’re in a relationship. Significant others usually don’t like late night texts, phone calls, meetings, or just feeling like you’re paying attention to another person more than you are them.
Juggling your personal life and profession in any case can be difficult. But understand it’s hard for the people who are close to you too and there needs to be a universal understanding. All I’m saying is, don’t think that working in media isn’t going to be demanding, and don’t think people close to you won’t notice. Don’t think you won’t be expected to be superwoman and don’t think you can’t be. Don’t think you have to be either. But make sure in the end you take care of yourself while taking care of everyone/thing else.
- You’re Lipstick Can Be Just as Fierce as Your Work
Now, yes, you’re more than just cute or pretty, but own up to looking good. I said this at an event that I hosted: “I’ve never been called pretty so much until I started working here.” Now this was partially a joke. When you look good, you look good. Still, I’ve had to come to terms with working with people, a majority of them being men, that don’t know me and what I do so they comment on my looks as a default. I’ve personally had to work on not letting it annoy me.
While there are opportunities I’ve gotten because I know how to put myself together, in the end, it’s up to me to show that while, yes, my lipstick is always fierce, my work is just as poppin’, if not better.
I could speak endlessly on this subject, as I’m sure a lot of women can. Keep talking about your experiences, share your experiences. You’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. Remember that this is what you chose to do, and if you want to stay in it, there’s things like this that come along with it. Don’t let it bother you.