Embracing Femininity to Bring Change to the AV Industry
Within my first six months at Control Concepts, I was given every opportunity to showcase my talent, raise my voice, and share a new perspective. But as a young woman entering this industry, what did I want to say? More importantly, how did I want to say it?
I thought I could take the approach that I am here to be quiet, learn, and do what I am told—or I could come in like a force to be reckoned with and be loud about the change that I want to see in the industry. What if I don’t want to do either? How was I going to effectively make my voice heard as a young woman in a male-dominated industry? I found the answer within my femininity.
In many instances, women are seen as either loud and angry or quiet and emotional, although this verbiage might differ in various environments. However, most women live in this margin between both of those labels. A margin fueled by the true essence of femininity that consists of both the complex emotional and innately powerful aspects of ourselves. For a long time, women have been told how our qualities have been weaknesses: Empathy makes us emotional, and power makes us angry and irrational. Is it possible to embrace this margin of femininity to bring about change in the industry we love?
In my limited experience in the workforce as a young woman, there is safety in sitting back and doing what is asked—but this will also guarantee that your voice will never reach its true potential. However, standing in that space of being the quiet observer is inherently trained within us as women: a place of compassion and silent examination, a place of understanding the social, emotional, and intellectual needs of the industry.
Playing the role of the quiet observer is a strength that has been played as a weakness far too often. The quiet observer within us has been labeled as incapable and emotional when instead it is a secret weapon within women that allows us to pinpoint where change needs to occur. Embracing that space within the feminine margin—listening, observing, empathizing—is a strength in women that can help determine where the industry’s needs are.
On the opposing side of the margin comes this feminine power that is too often silenced. I determined quickly within my time in this industry that, in order to make my voice heard, I would have to step out of my comfort zone. It is not natural as a young woman to raise your voice, but practice makes perfect, and working for a company that is supportive certainly helps.
I found that a lot of my passion to act as a catalyst for change is fueled by my generation. Being in Generation Z, there is a sense of comradery to speak up for change and be the voice of the voiceless. This catalyst promotes a wild desire to fight for what I believe in while I still have the energy to do so. I know that the environment that I allow to exist will be the environment I work in for the next several decades. Additionally, I know that my need to better the industry comes from a place of kindness and compassion. With this mindset, my feminine power is built upon a foundation of inherent feminine qualities.
Let us embrace the margin to use these unique feminine characteristics to foster change. Let us commit, as an industry, to provide space for women to find their voice and use it. Doing so will challenge this industry with a fresh perspective in which to learn and to grow.