Let’s talk about Femtrepreneurshit
After appearing as a speaker at Double Your Freelancing Conference this year, I got many more speaking invites from different people and organisations. In between there was a speaking invitation for a big event organised for female entrepreneurs.
That’s right. Female entrepreneurs.
Not entrepreneurs in general, but just … female entrepreneurs. Lady bosses. Femtrepreneurs. (God, I hate that word.)
So here’s my problem with that.
Why I turned down speaking in front of 500+ female entrepreneurs
I don’t know why we (we=women) like to seclude ourselves from other entrepreneurs. On one hand we want to be treated the same way as male entrepreneurs, but on the other hand we like to create events just for us, where we talk about beauty, high heels, positivity and mindfulness.
We have dress codes (yup, it’s a thing) for those events. Whereas I would like to be dressed as a dinosaur if I want to. (Brennan Dunn, the organiser of DYFConf thought that was funny, so it’s not like the organisers wouldn’t let me do that. Don’t get me started on how excited the attendees were until I let them down because I couldn’t fit the onesie in my suitcase. My bad.)
We do professional makeup at those femtrepeneur events (it’s a real thing as well, organisers invite pro makeup artists that do your makeup before the event.) Because they teach us we need to look clean and professional if we want to win clients and do good business. Because that’s how you get clients, not by doing great work. (/sarcasmoff)
We talk about spirituality, self-belief, faith and positivity and how that wins you business. If you believe you’ll be successful, it’s a no-brainer, you’ll be a business star. At least that’s what they teach us in these events.
What they don’t discuss at these events are specific strategies, successful tactics, action plans, MONEY. Dare I say “The Big-boys Stuff”?
Yet we want to be perceived in a same way as our male counterparts. We want to be admired because we’re smart and because we achieved and are achieving some truly amazing shit (sometimes far better than men). But we do absolutely nothing for that. We create our own events, because we feel like we don’t have a place at that “special table” where big boys sit.
Entrepreneurs, not beauty contestants (or femtrepreneurs for that matter)
On the same day I received an email from a Slovenian startup organisation. They announced their event and here’s a quote from their email:
“To our evening event we invited three enthusiastic, motivated, beautiful and ambitious startup girls who successfully compete with their male colleagues. If you want to learn more about this, join us on our most beautiful event ever. ;)”
I was not even surprised I found the word “beautiful” in that email that should be describing professional entrepreneurs, not beauty contestants.
I want to do whatever I want, dress however I want, have a ruffled hair at speaking events if I want and still get judged by my actual abilities, not my looks. And if we don’t point this problem out to the organisers of such events like the two above and talk loud about the problem, we’ll get nowhere.
I did my part and explained the reason behind my refusal to speak at the event to the organisers. What about you? Will you let someone dictate your dress-code?
Or will you appear in a dinosaur onesie, like I will? Because dinosaurs are awesome.
Big thanks to my partner (in crime) Jure Žove for supporting my crazy decisions and taking dino selfies with me, Maja Voje for being one of the sanest women I know (true femme fatale! ha!) and giving me some material to chew on and Kai Davis for ignoring my charm when giving me a decent and honest review of this post.
And thanks to my mom. For being the best badass I know.