Other Voices

Why it’s time for women to believe in and love themselves. No “mean girls” allowed

The Charging Bull and Fearless Girl statues are sit on Lower Broadway in New York. Since 1989 the bronze bull has stood in New York City's financial district as an image of the might and hard-charging spirit of Wall Street. But the installation of the bold girl defiantly standing in the bull's path has transformed the meaning of one of New York's best-known public artworks. Pressure is mounting on the city to let the Fearless Girl stay.
The Charging Bull and Fearless Girl statues are sit on Lower Broadway in New York. Since 1989 the bronze bull has stood in New York City's financial district as an image of the might and hard-charging spirit of Wall Street. But the installation of the bold girl defiantly standing in the bull's path has transformed the meaning of one of New York's best-known public artworks. Pressure is mounting on the city to let the Fearless Girl stay. AP

About a year ago I was on the West Coast and reached out to the woman we had been corresponding with to purchase the “No Mean Girls” domain name.

The breakfast we had was transformative to say the least.

When Kathy walked into the Los Angeles restaurant, we warmly embraced. I thought, wow, this beautiful, successful woman has it all together.

She was carrying a purple three-ring binder that contained story ideas, logos and graphics around a no-mean-girls’ message.

I asked why she was so passionate about the topic. With tears in her eyes she told me that she had been viciously bullied in middle school. She grew up in a physically and verbally abusive home. Traumatized, she arrived at school each day and was practically mute. One day, the mean girl in her class arrived holding a large poster board with photos of her classmates and a word describing each girl.

As the poster board was passed around, each girl was coerced into signing her name under each photo agreeing about the word assigned to each of their classmates.

When the poster board came to Kathy, the word that appeared under her photo was “stuck up.” None of her classmates (nor her teachers) knew of the trauma she was suffering at home. She was devastated.

As we both fought back tears, we hugged and I thanked her.

“I do not want my daughter to go through the same painful experience that I did when I was her age,” Kathy told me. “This has got to stop.”

A couple of years ago I was speaking to a women’s group in Fort Worth and someone asked me what differentiated Plaid For Women, which is a digital media platform that produces original content on “Business of Life” issues, from others.

I replied that it was our “no mean girls” culture. We encourage women to love and believe in themselves first and to support other women who are on their own journey to attain and live an authentic, purposeful life. You could’ve heard a pin drop. That reaction was the reason our North Texas-based organization is hosting the first-ever #NoMeanGirls conference next month in Dallas.

This year alone, Plaid for Women Radio has produced podcasts featuring more than 100 women from diverse backgrounds, each having had a mean-girl moment or admitting being a mean girl at one point. In each encounter we realize it’s not about the victim, but that the bullies are missing something in their lives.

When someone is wracked by fear and doubt, the tendency is to want to see others fail so one feels less vulnerable about their own situation. But when one woman succeeds, we all succeed despite what our current circumstances may be.

We have met countless women who have overcome insurmountable odds. These ladies inspired me and my business partner Sarah Webb, an uber-smart millennial who has teamed up with this boomer to launch a conference that we believe will be life-changing for attendees.

And for the record, we love our men. We are all in this together. Maybe we should secure the domain No Mean People. Stay tuned.

Shivaun Palmer is founder and CEO of Plaid For Women. Reach her at shivaun@plaidforwomen.com. To register for the #NoMeanGirls Conference go to www.nomeangirls.com.

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