Why Are We Waiting So Long To Not GAF?

Article 1 By Jaya Saxena

A few weeks ago, I read this spectacular article entitled: Why are we waiting so long to not GAF? In the article, Ms. Saxena is thinking about some ugly shoes that are super comfortable and wondering when she will be of an age where wearing ugly shoes is free from worry about appearance etc.  But then she questions: why are we even waiting at all?

But on the other, so many young women (and I assume men) see their DGAF years as a future goal, as if there’s a magical age where we’ll be able to let go and stop caring and find that contentment (usually it’s placed somewhere around 40). We’re tapping into DGAF culture with the caftans and the “mom jeans” and the ugly sandals, which have typically been the sartorial choices of older women, but we won’t allow ourselves the lifestyle yet.

I’m also all for self-care and meditation and leaning out and you doing you. But there’s this idea that it has to start later, at some intangible date when the grind is done, and that’s just not the case. I think everyone knows there’s no such thing as that “elusive internal utopia,” no matter how much you’ve lived and learned and gotten over it.
I want to just not give a fuck now, if utopia is never coming. Not in like an “abandon all responsibilities” way, but where I can wear ugly shoes and comfy jeans and only do makeup sometimes and not have it be a result of a lifetime of trying. We already know that’s the lesson, so let’s learn it now.

I love this article.  While Ms. Saxena’s thought process revolves around ugly shoes, I think what she is saying has larger implications.  She even tagged the article as “leaning-out.”

IDGAF & Feminism

All this reminds me of Morghan’s last post. “Feminist” seems to be a dirty word.  Someone I know recently explained their reasoning for not using the word feminist and clarified:

This post was more directed towards the extremists who think they don’t have equal rights here, tell me I’m oppressed, or believe that in order for gender equality to happen, women need to be the superior being. In a sense, yes I am for gender equality, but I’m also for formal equality where all people should be treated like equals… I don’t fight for gender equality in the United States because I believe that we already have gender equality.

Feminists are those crazy bra-burning women who hate men.  The obvious feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes that she ended up trying to call herself a Happy African Feminist Who Does Not Hate Men And Who Likes To Wear Lip Gloss And High Heels For Herself And Not For Men. Adichie gives a definition of feminist [a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes] which to me sounds very similar to the ideas my anonymous poster wrote above.

What both Adichie and Morghan in her last post seem to have done is decided to not GAF. Adichie supports equality of the sexes [aka is a feminist] and is very clear about that. She has a great book modified from a TED talk entitled We should all be feminists where she examines problems and solutions from both gender angles. Pretty extreme.  On the other hand, Morghan seems to be fed up with all these semantics and microagressions where playing nice really gets you nowhere. She questions, “Why should I strive to claw tiny bits of respect from an oppressive system when I can build my own environment that meets my needs and goals?” Why not say IDGAF about what you think… lets do me… lets build a supportive environment for myself and the people I work with?

If doing what is best for you [wearing ugly shoes/working outside the patriarchy] is radical and extreme … then hey, we should all be radical/extreme feminists.

IDGAF & Success
But maybe there is a chance that being radical and not GAF about the normal, unfair way of doing things is detrimental to your success.  Maybe “doing you” and  “building a supportive environment for myself and the people I work with” is the wrong way to go.  So lets check out some interviews of “34 of NYCs Most Powerful Women” and see what their Tips for Becoming Boss are.

1) Focus on yourself and your passions:

Heather Marie, Founder & CEO, Shoppable
“Create your own ‘luck.’ By working hard, you will create opportunities and prepare yourself to take advantage of them when they cross your path. That’s the truth about luck: We can all be ‘lucky.'”

Kahlana Barfield, Editor-At-Large, InStyle Magazine
“Set goals for yourself. Write them down and give yourself deadlines so you have something to work for. And, don’t compare yourself to people. Play up your own strengths and be your own competition.”

Whitney Tingle & Danielle DuBoise, Founders, Sakara Life
Danielle DuBoise: “Remember that there are no rules whatsoever. Every rule that was ever made was made by someone, so it can be remade and reimagined. And, act from a place of love, always.”

2) Find mentors and build community

Stephanie Abrams & Courtney Spritzer, Cofounders and Co-CEOs, Socialfly
“When starting a business, remember that you will not know all of the answers. You have to be willing to ask for help when you are not sure what to do. Build a support system and a network of advisors. Listening and learning from others has been one of the keys to our success.”

Joanna Vargas, Celebrity Facialist & Founder, Joanna Vargas Salon & Skincare Collection
“Number one: Surround yourself with the right people. I have been lucky enough to have met some amazing and inspiring women over the years. I have a very tight-knit group of friends, who are all CEOs in fashion and beauty, who I turn to for advice or just someone to vent to. It’s great, because we all understand where we are in our careers. I hire women in a similar way that I choose friends — I hire women I respect and admire, who I can learn from, and who really want to learn and grow themselves.

Polly Payne, Founder, Horacio Printing; Sales Director, TripleLift
“Number one: Seek out many mentors that have your dream job and ask them as many questions as possible. Ask them about their story and how they got there. You have to be willing to admit that you need help and you that want to learn. By building relationships with the high-level executives at your office, you will get the opportunity to champion new projects. I have been privileged to have incredible mentors, some of which came in the form of incredible self-help books.

3) Work against outside influences that may limit you [aka discrimination and bias]

Claire Chambers, Founder, Journelle
“Women are programmed from an early age to be good listeners, so it took me a while to learn to appreciate feedback and go in another direction when my intuition or knowledge said something different.
“When I was starting Journelle, everyone I spoke with — vendors, investors, friends, family, and even people on the street or at a bar — had a well-intentioned opinion, and most of them were at odds with each other. Today, the most important feedback that I rely on comes from two groups — customers and employees — and I routinely tell women I mentor to listen to everything, but hear selectively.”

Ambra Medda, Cofounder, Design Miami/; Cofounder & Creative Director, L’ArcoBaleno; Global Creative Director, 20/21 Design Department, Christie’s
“I had the great fortune of starting my career very early. I think maybe not knowing too much, and really just relying on my instinct and collaborative spirit was what kept me so charged. The best career advice I was given was: ‘Go BIG or go home.’ I’ve been thinking big all my life and challenging what is considered normal. It makes you realize how we can be our own barrier or our own best advocate. You have to believe in yourself and trust your instinct, especially to get you through the really hard patches when things are super challenging.”

Sadie Kurzban, Founder & CEO, ((305)) Fitness
“Be direct. Because I never had a ‘real’ job — I started ((305)) Fitness right out of college — I don’t understand the niceties of office politics. This has really worked in my favor in building a successful business quickly; I am direct with vendors, investors, and my employees. I don’t waste time asking, ‘Do you maybe happen to have a contact at so and so? But, please, don’t worry if you don’t!” Instead I’ll simply ask: ‘Can I please have so and so’s contact info?’ The worst someone can say is no. If you don’t ask, you can’t get.”

‘We must do better’

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes at the end of her short book, “My own definition of a feminist is a man or a woman who says, ‘Yes there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must to better.”  I agree.  Lets stop GAF about the semantics, who thinks what, or waiting for that proverbial utopia of equality to waltz along.  Over the course of the past few posts, we have been discussing how we as individuals can make it better.  It seems now we have a few tools to work with to improve our environment and to achieve success.