July 4, 2014

Our world needs Empowered Women.


One of my coworkers took me aside last week and told me I needed to be more “thick skinned,” referring to my workplace as an “Old Boy’s Club.”

I observed some women at my work being more masculine, and also realized I have no desire to be thick skinned or less sensitive. I am a sensitive-as-shit Cancerian, and live with a wide open heart.

I am proud of my paper thin skin and its ability to let me to live like I mean it, without a filter. I feel the sorrows and relentless joys of our world daily, and my heart is better because of it.

The following day I was present to hear a woman who works in a male dominated environment subtly praising herself for how guy-like she is. Boasting about being one of the dudes, talking about how much she loved sex, speaking crass.

I observed her as she spoke and couldn’t help but feel some of it was misplaced and not authentic. I love sex, I think the word “slut” should be retired. Women love sex just as much as guys. Being one of the guys is also completely fine. But somewhere in my gut I couldn’t help but feel her intent in doing these things, and in boasting to me about them wasn’t completely sincere, or a true expression of who she was.

I drove home and took my femininity out of the closet. All my frilly, floral skirts, dresses and bright lace bras. I couldn’t remember the last time I wore any of them.

For so long in society the norm of women was to be soft spoken, feminine, in the kitchen, raising children. I feel like we rebelled in an uproar, flipping gender norms the bird, and shaving our heads in faux-hawks. We threw the pendulum to the extreme opposite of the spectrum. Telling our femininity to fuck off so we could breathe and be whoever we were.

My femininity has a place in this world. I feel sometimes I too am guilty of repressing my womanhood to accommodate male dominated environments. That being less emotional and able to live and love like a guy is somehow better or more attractive. It makes my male coworkers and peers more comfortable when I exist “like a man” around them.

Our world needs women being themselves, be that soft or hard. But I think we sometimes invalidate the strength in our softness, and need to reconnect with it. Our sensitivity and connectedness to our hearts is our biggest strength—not a weakness.

If it serves one of my sisters to have no strings attached sex, sweat testosterone, and chameleon to be a dude—so be it. I support you existing how you wish.

It serves my power to sweat estrogen and exist thin skinned as I am around my company, be they female or male.

I attended a Women In the Trades conference put on by BCIT and listened to stories of struggle from women to exist in shop culture, of women being fired because they wouldn’t sleep with their boss, of having their work sabotaged, women who altered their names on their resumes in order to not be discriminated upon due to gender.

I heard employers speak about how they want women at their companies, but they simply aren’t applying. How there are many women who go through post secondary and then don’t pursue further because of a hostile, unsupportive shop culture dominated by males.

Being “one of the guys” to accommodate crass derogatory behaviours and environments that encourage chauvinistic male pack mentality isn’t healthy. It isn’t the solution, in my eyes.

I would like to live in a world where we teach men to create a space for women in shop cultures, not ask them to conform to be one of the dudes—put up with porn, racist and sexist jokes just because it is what they knew before women picked up wrenches.

A world where women can be thin skinned, thick skinned, soft, hard, masculine, feminine, sexually empowered, cold, vulnerable—but remember that their sensitivity is a force to be reckoned with. And at the end of the day we desperately need women who are empowered.

Feminine energy is invaluable and has a place in this world. Being a woman is just as valuable as being a man, therefore there is no need to suppress our femininity or womanhood.

Women, I ask you of one thing, to walk in your power in whatever and whichever way it serves you.

“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.”

~ Roseanne Barr

We need to show that being #likeagirl is just as valuable as being a man. That being born a woman is not a weakness or disadvantage.

Part of the inspiration for me to write this article was from this incredibly powerful commercial by Always. I feel as if the whole world is on the same page right now—we want our women empowered. We all win when our planet is full of humans who walk the earth knowing their worth and breathing, and living in their power, regardless of gender.




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Editor: Travis May

Image: Pixoto/Danielle Tourigny







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JohnH Jul 7, 2014 8:16am

Jaane, as a man Ivwelcome your comments. Through the eons, both genders formed social niches based on our biology. Our sense of worth was based on how well we fit these gender roles. But we live in a new world now where work or even defense no longer requires physical strength. Health care has improved and contraception has freed women from constant pregnancy and child care. We need to redefine work and our social roles to form more contemporary and balanced organizations. In the high tech and service industries a "woman's touch" is critical and of high worth. We need more of women's minds and hearts in the leadership of transforming our governments and industries. Just being more like a man is not enough. We live in a biologically induced imbalanced world. We need to have a powerful surge of yin energy to help humanity achieve balance and respect for both genders. It will be an evolution rather than a revolution because much must be undone and reimagined, but women must seize their power and proudly make a stand toward change and social balance. Both genders will have to move out of their comfort zones and assume more personal responsibility. We both have much work to do.

Patrick Jul 5, 2014 2:49pm

Everything about this is wonderful.

Anna Robb Jul 5, 2014 7:37am

Absolutely. Working in a male dominated environment, it took me 10 years to stop trying to be like men and more myself. I know my greatest strengths come from being a woman; compassion, understanding, instinct and the ability to multi-task like no one you have ever met. Women are unstoppable in the workplace when they drop the fear that they are lesser than others.

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Janne Robinson

Janne Robinson is a 21st-century feminist beat poet. Her voice haunts with the legacy of early feminists and poets such as Gloria Steinem, Charles Bukowski, and Jack Kerouac. Her no sugar shit prose cuts with the honesty and simplicity of Bukowski and the romantic reliability of Kerouac. Her poetry leads like a woman, walking with fire in the footprints of Steinem—breathing sexual liberation, choice, and overall championing women to their birthright of not only equality but leadership.

Robinson notoriously states that her career is to “share slabs of her heart for a living.” Her ability to capture the human experience with unrefined sincerity makes her an incredible force in the modern landscape of personal expression.

Her loyal following of enthusiasts on social media are there not only for her brutal honesty and lyrical grace but also for her lifestyle, which is a mirror of her devotion to joy and refusal to work to work to work to die. Robinson’s films and art shit on the societal “shoulds” and norms and encourage people to ‘build their own box’. She is an outrageous idealist and master at effortlessly marrying the life she wishes to live with her work, and this enrages and inspires many who believe they are trapped.

Robinson’s foray into directing and the multimedia world was in directing a spoken word poetry film in NYC involving 18 women reading the lines from her poem, “This Is For The Women Who Don’t Give a Fuck.” The film was a viral sensation online and was nominated for the 2016 Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards.

Janne is very much so crowning at the beginning of what is and will be a triumphant career, and she has begun so with the hearts of millions indebted and watching as it is rare to stumble upon a woman who makes revolution nature.

You can connect with her on Instagram or at her website.