I am getting very into Periscope! The best part of this relatively new social media platform is that I can see my "internet friends & colleagues" in a real and unedited way sharing information, inspiration, and motivation.
One of my all-time favorites, Regina Anaejionu of ByRegina.com, shared a particularly moving 'scope the other day about encountering a "best of" list from a well-known company that was made up of only men. She, justifiably, felt some kind of way that the list was made up of men - and, mostly (if not exclusively) white men.
So, today I am writing about a few of my favorite things: the strong female centered entrepreneurial community around me (including Regina Anaejionu), calling out injustice, and the essential role of diversity in our communities, businesses, and organizations.
Eff the list
Regina shared her reaction about receiving this list in her inbox and talked about her experiences seeing women and people of color left out of many of these "lists". She encouraged us to think about "lists" that were trying to make it on to - validation from others that we were looking for - and simply make it irrelevant. Let's create our own list! Eff their list!
I love this perspective and support it 100%. . .and, want to take it a bit further. I maintain that we should make their lists irrelevant not only for our personal health and happiness, we should make them irrelevant because people and companies who produce these exclusionary lists are showing their true colors by being (not-so-lowkey) sexist and non-inclusive while demonstrating poor business practices.
Several times in the last few months I have been interested in buying someone's product, attending their conference, or engaging with their content but have been turned off by their monolithic representation of customers/participants/contributors.
"No, I do not care to buy your program because all of the testimonials you share are pictures of white guys in polos!" If you can't show diversity in your marketing and show that you're making an impact in multiple communities, as a consumer, I don't want to give you my money, time, or attention.
Not only am I mad at their hearts, lack of awareness, and/or general ignorance, I genuinely believe that those kind of practices are bad for business. And, for me, that's what this #EffTheList movement is also about.
Not only is it the "list", its the culture that makes it ok to publish that list!
What kind of marketing director didn't notice "hey, it's only white guys on here!"?! How is the whole group of people working for a company, organization, or magazine, I'm not saying "hmmm, something's not right here." When these things happen it shows me about the culture of these organizations. A culture I don't want to support.
The same holds true for Oprah Magazine telling people not to wear crop tops if their tummies aren't flat or Allure Magazine telling white women that we, too, can have afros without any cultural or historical considerations. How is no one at these companies seeing the issues before we bring them up?
If the company who sent Regina that email had more women with influence. . . or, if Oprah had more body positive staffers and/or unapologetic fat women working for her magazine. . .or, if Allure had more people of color that with editorial power, or if the guy marketing his eBook course with white men in polo shirts had people in his life sharing this information with him, maybe this sort of thing wouldn't happen.
Speak Up! Speak Out!
I am so glad Regina mentioned this on one of her scopes. I am glad that this is something being talked about in our beautiful, diverse, women-centered entrepreneurial community.
Her talk promoted several of us to write our own #EffTheList pieces - each with our own spin on this topic. Both Davina from Love & Society and Dr. Joy Harden Bradford wrote great pieces that you should check out.
More and more people are speaking up & speaking out with information supporting more inclusive "lists" in our organizations and business. People like Mellody Hobson are speaking up about hiring practices and diverse companies (check out her TED Talk on this topic) and two fabulous tumblrs are speaking out by pointing out lack of diversity out in panels through the "Congrats, you have an all male panel!" & "Congrats, you have an all white pane!" pages! (Brilliant!)
To these companies:
Please note that your lists are going to make you/your company irrelevant! Guess what!? I can do it better! Ladies - specifically my "internet friends & colleagues"- can and are doing much better.Thanks for showing us precisely what we want to avoid in our lives and businesses!