Girl Grit

(for growing girls and grown women)

This page is about girls and women because I did my masters thesis research about girls and women.
People of any gender can face stereotypes and glass ceilings.
People of all genders are welcome to use my strategies in their own lives.

Girl grit is the courage to create equality for all girls and women,
including girls and women who create inequality for you.

Girl gumption is the wisdom to admit that men deny equality to
women who see men as inferior.

Girl Grit Observation From Shailene Woodley

“I don’t know how we as women expect men to respect us,
because we don’t even seem to respect one another.”

Girl Grit Observation From Jen Oyama Murphy

Female rivalry is also fueled by our own insecurities. When we
lack a belief in our own unique gifts, when we don’t have confidence
in our innate talent, and when we doubt the calling on our lives,
we can become competitive.

Girl Goodwill Attitude From Michelle Obama

“And it’s time that we all stepped back, took a deep breath and
started really listening to one another rather than viewing one
another through the layers of our own judgment, insecurity
and anxiety.”

Girl Goodwill Attitude From Madonna

“As women, we have to start appreciating our worth —  an each other’s worth.”

Girl Goodwill Attitude From Audre Lorde

“I am not free while any woman is unfree,
even when her shackles are very different from my own.”


Girl Growl Backfires

Read Paula Kramer’s Girl Growl Backfire blog posts to help you understand how betraying and sabotaging other women can backfire. Paula even writes about her own girl growl backfire.

You can also end girl growls by giving yourself a Wonder Person headpiece, the mindset you need for inviting loyalty and limiting backlash.

Listen to Paula Kramer’s radio interview where she explains why ending girl growls is essential to inviting loyalty and limiting backlash.

“It Takes Girl Grit To End Girl Growls”

More Insights For Success

For 25 years in the corporate world, Bernadette Boas did what she thought she had to do to be successful. After her corporate career suddenly crashed, Bernadette faced the mortifying truth — she had been a bitch for most of her adult life. To set her life right again, Bernadette acknowledged the ugliness of her behavior and the pain she caused, both to other people and herself. Now Bernadette works to help other women avoid the girl growl backfire of bitchiness. Unfortunately, most corporate bitches do not understand the backfires they are creating for themselves.

“Today, large and small businesses engage me to help them find a solution
to breaking the glass ceiling for the women in their organization. On one
particular call, a man who headed up a large medical practice explained to
me how the two women on his Board of Directors, both eligible to replace the
CEO, were going to be overlooked, because, he stated, “They’re bitches.”
The women were qualified and deserving of the position, but no one would
vote them in because of their attitudes.I  knew exactly what he was talking about.”

Shedding the Corporate Bitch: Shifting Your Bitches to Riches in Life and Business
Bernadette Boas
Page 216

Shedding the Bitch Radio Show

Ball of Fire Leadership


The Four Cultural Themes
Of Betrayal Between Women

Each general theme of betrayal has several judgments that girls and women can use to betray each other. Note that under the Women as Deviants theme, girls and women at times judge other girls and women as deviant just because they are female. This judgment is useful to boys and men who want to keep girls and women unequal, especially when it comes to holding positions of power. If girls and women think other girls and women are too deviant to hold power, why should boys and men share power with girls and women?


1.  Women as Mothers

Ignoring their true vocation as mothers

Failing to properly fulfill their roles as mothers

Being dangerous mothers


2.  Women and Their Appearance

Wrong body size

Wrong clothing

Wrong hair

Wrong age

Wrong behavior

Wrong color


3.  Women as Deviants

Being female

Stepping out of approved roles

Being responsible for any problem men have trouble explaining

Causing men to behave badly or commit crimes

Being more deviant than deviant men

Moving into male space

Threatening male power or not supporting male power

Expecting equality with higher status women

Expressing confidence in themselves, in their work, in their worth

Expecting other women to live up to and perform up to high standards

Failing to provide what other women feel you owe them, regardless of what that would mean in your life


4.  Teenage Girls as Threats to Society

Needing preparation for roles as proper (male-pleasing) women

Endangering adult males whether proper or not

Arousing inappropriate sexual feelings in men


Real World Examples Illustrating
The Cultural Themes Of Betrayal

Women as mothers
Women and their appearance
Women as deviants

“31 Worst Celeb Mom-Shaming Moments”

Women and their appearance

Comedian Michelle Wolf talked about White House press secretary Sarah Sanders at the 2018 White House correspondents dinner. Wolf said this:

“I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. Like she burns facts,
and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like maybe she’s born
with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”

The reaction to Wolf’s speech focused on the statement about Sanders’ “smokey eye”. It was a perfect illustration of what happens when anyone talks about a woman’s appearance. The focus becomes her appearance, not her actions or achievements or skills.

Women who insist on betraying other women will do whatever it takes to justify their betrayal.  I tweeted to Michelle Wolf about the women and their appearance cultural theme of betrayal. I received this response from a different woman:

“She mentioned her eye shadow, not her eyes!”

How is eye shadow not about appearance? This tweeter’s girl growl backfire is a reputation for stupidity. This tweeter insists on building glass ceilings for all women, including herself.

I am keeping this tweeter’s identity anonymous because I benefit only when women have reputations for intelligence and competence. I refuse to hurt myself by making this tweeter look bad. I’ve already lost too much because of my own girl growl backfires.

Note that Michelle Wolf was left reminding people that most of her routine was not about Sarah Sanders’ appearance. Wolf took attention away from her own comments by drawing attention to Sanders’ eye shadow. Michelle Wolf still needs to develop girl grit in the way she talks about other women. Wolf invited the backlash.


Fashion magazine Grazia U.K. edited Lupita Nyong’o’s natural hair out of her cover of the magazine.

“Lupita Nyong’o Says Her Natural Hair Is Still ‘Shunned'”
Erica Smith
The Cut
August 7 , 2018


“High school swimmer disqualified over fit of school-issued swimsuit”
Jill Burke
September 10, 2019


“Women At Ernst & Young Instructed On How To Dress, Act Nicely Around Men”
Emily Peck
The Huffington Post
October 21, 2019

Women as Deviants

“The Shocking Reason a Top Medical School in Japan Lowered Women’s Exam Scores for Years”
Daniele Selby
Global Citizen
August 3, 2018

Teenage Girls as Threats to Society

“Teenage girl forced to leave school prom after ‘ogling’ dads complained her dress and dancing would give their sons ‘impure thoughts'”
Jessica Jerreat
Daily Mail
May 13, 2014

“She reported her sexual assault. Her high school suspended her for ‘sexual impropriety.'”
Caroline Kitchener
The Lily
August 26, 2019


Journalist Elizabeth Vargas investigated child brides in the United States for her show, The Untold Story. A 15 or 16 year old married girl wanted to divorce her abusive husband, but…

“…she’s told she’s too young to get divorced. A girl is too young to hire
a lawyer but not too young to get married.”

“The Untold Story”
TV Guide
April 15-28, 2019, page 61


 America’s Next Top Model host Tyra Banks to a contestant on her show:

“Do you really think you can have a CoverGirl contract with a gap in your mouth?” Banks says in the clip, referencing one of the prizes for the season’s winner. “It’s not marketable.”

“Banks has yet to comment on any of the backlash; it’s likely that she will not. But on Wednesday, contestant Danielle Evans, who now goes by Dani, posted a video on her Instagram in which she responded to the conversation surrounding the clip of Tyra confronting her about her gap. In the seven-minute clip, Evans explained that the girls were taken to a dentist, where she was initially asked if she wanted her gap closed and she declined. Later, during the elimination ceremony, Tyra asked her why her gap wasn’t closed.

“I’m like, huh? She’s like, ‘I told you to get your gap closed.’ I’m like, ‘No you didn’t.’ She looks offstage to production … In that moment, I knew what was happening. I knew that I was basically set up and not being told that Tyra wants me to get my gap closed so that it’s good for TV,” Evans explains in the video.”

“How Did We Not Realize What A Nightmare ‘ANTM’ Was?
Zeba Blay
The Huffington Post
May 5, 2020


Real World Examples
Illustrating Girl Grit

Women as Mother

“How to NOT mom-shame (a handy tutorial)”
Kristina Kuzmic

Women and Their Appearance

“7 Times Jennifer Lawrence Was the Queen of Shutting Down the Body-Shamers”
Shaunna Murphy
MTV News
July 27, 2015

“What To Wear To Look Hot!”
Kristina Kuzmic

“Camila Cabello Pushes Back On Body-Shamers, Tells Fans ‘Cellulite Is Normal'”
Jenna Amatulli
The Huffington Post
August 5, 2019

Women as Deviants (More deviant than deviant men)

“Vlogger Nails Why It’s OK To Expose Men Who Harass Women Online”
Christina Marafice


“American’s Real Favorite Pastime”

Paula Kramer is not the only woman trying to end betrayal between women. For the July/August 2011 issue of More magazine, Deborah Copaken Kogan wrote the article, “America’s Real Favorite Pastime? Judging Women.” In her article, Kogan used the phrases, “verbal assaults” and “the endless game of Judge That Woman”. This is a game that all women lose. Kogan laments that abuse of any kind of power turns “a strong woman weak”. Strong women can become weak under the trauma of judgmental assaults from other women. How does making other women weak advance any issue of equality or rights for all women?

Unfortunately, More magazine no longer exists.


Glass Ceilings

For women who want equality, the cultural themes of betrayal teach three Girl Grit lessons:

Girl Grit Lesson #1

The words you use about other women go into other people’s ears
and come out of their mouths.

          Girl Grit Lesson #2

If you want negative words about you to stop coming out of other
people’s mouths, stop putting negative words about other women
into other people’s ears.

          Girl Grit Lesson #3

If you want positive words about you to come out of other
people’s mouths, put positive words about other women into
other people’s ears.

Every time women talk about other women, they either break glass ceilings or build glass ceilings. Talk about accomplishments and you break glass ceilings. Talk about the four cultural themes of betrayal and you build glass ceilings. Women who build glass ceilings for other women give men permission to build and maintain glass ceilings for all women. Why should men break glass ceilings when women keep building them?

Pay attention to what the women around you say about other women. Notice how often women build glass ceilings instead of break glass ceilings. Here are examples of Facebook comments women wrote about other women.

“Keep helping people —. Some entities are still of the lower dimensions.”
January 2, 2016

“I bet you could ask most of them what they are marching for with few
having a factual answer.”
January 20, 2018

“That culture that needs undoing is the crap ——- and her ilk have become.
Shame on you moronic, epic fails of sub-human whatevers.”
January 29, 2018

How many men read those comments? How many men repeated those comments? How many men remembered those comments when making decisions about women? We’ll never know.

Women build glass ceilings by ignoring the stories of other women’s lives. Women who build glass ceilings give men permission to ignore the stories of their own lives. Then when men ignore their stories and maintain glass ceilings, these glass ceiling builders complain about the limitations they endure because of glass ceilings they helped build.


Breaking Stereotypes To Chip Away Glass Ceilings

Glass ceilings are built with stereotypes. I recommend four types of talk for breaking stereotypes and chipping away glass ceilings. These types of talk fit the characteristics of good gossip.


Positive Identity Talk

Break glass ceilings by giving positive identities to yourself and to other women. Even when you don’t like yourself or another woman, think of a positive identity that is true. Base the positive identities on internal characteristics, not external characteristics.

If you read the Murder Secret Families  page, you’ll learn that my mother committed the ultimate betrayal against me — she tried to kill me twice. I’ve come to terms with her actions and walked away from her. Because I recognize the importance of positive identities for everyone, I can give my mother a positive identity. My mother has a wonderful singing voice and has made hundreds of people happy at special occasions. She tried to kill me as a way of avoiding a negative identity forced on her.

If I can give a positive identity to the woman who tried to kill me twice, you can give positive identities to women you don’t like for lesser reasons.

Positive identities for you examples:

I’m a great cook.

I’m good at making connections between different pieces of research
to create new strategies for success.

I’m willing to help out in a pinch doing job work.

Positive identities for other women examples:

She’s good at singing.

She’s good at making people feel important.

She’s good at taking charge in a crisis and showing people
how to ease the crisis.

Positive identities for women in different jobs/professions from yours*

County Maintenance Worker

If she knows how to do the work and how to talk about the work,
she’s right for the job.

High School Football Player

If she gets back up after being rocked to the ground and can hit the
quarterback hard, she’s a football player.


She can be aggressive for a client and easy going in her personal life.

She can be a lawyer and have other skills and talents.

She can be a lawyer and still be a nice person.

Armored Truck Driver

Just because she’s thin doesn’t mean she can’t do the same work
men can do.

*I am collecting examples of glass ceiling breaking statements for all professions. Email your suggestions to success at speakingfromtriumph dot com. I will eventually make all the statements available in a free format.


Benefits Talk

Break glass ceilings in general by giving examples of benefits people enjoy today because of women who were able to use their intelligence, skills, and talents.

Katherine Goble Johnson did research that helped lead to safer regulations
for airplanes. The new regulations require a minimum distance between
flight paths to prevent smaller planes from falling out of the sky near bigger planes.

Ruane Jeter invented the toaster with a digital clock that allows us to brown our toast
to our taste.

Florence Nightingale established basic concepts for the nursing profession that are
still applied today.

Find examples that directly affect the people in your life who criticize women. Use the examples in front of other people to encourage further talk about benefits from women.

Story Talk

Break glass ceilings by asking other women to tell their stories. Repeat their stories as they fit into conversation.

She didn’t offer to wash dishes because she’s in pain. Her spine was injured
and any activity can be painful. She’s afraid people won’t believe her when
she’s says she’s in pain because her disability is invisible. For her, seeming to
be rude is sometimes preferable to having people think she’s a lying whiner.

She just walked out on that job with a “good company” because it was beneath
her intelligence. They were excited about how intelligent she was when they
hired her, but the job they gave her was just sticking labels on file folders and
filing them. They weren’t taking advantage of her intelligence, they were wasting
her intelligence.

Three of her family members died in a space of five years. She’s avoids talking to
people because she’s figuring out how to live with her grief. She’s not feeling
haughty towards you or anyone else.

I once let life difficulties distract me from preparing for a presentation. In spite
of the life difficulties, I knew I should prepare more. My presentation wasn’t as
good as it should have been. Now when someone isn’t doing as well as he or
she should, I wonder what distractions prevented them from doing their best.
Sometimes life distractions leave no time for preparation and prevent concentration.
I listen and watch for whatever is valuable in what they do. When I can, I bring
attention to that value. Positive feedback gives the individual confidence and gives
other participants a reason to look for what is valuable to them.

Of course, some women are lying whiners and some women are haughty, but most women are not. And some of the lying whiners are bumping up against glass ceilings they don’t know how to break. Some women are haughty to cover their own feelings of worthlessness. The more stories you listen to, the more truth you’ll learn. Encourage other women to tell their stories by telling your stories.

Curiosity Talk

This is an edited excerpt from my daily journal

December 15, 2017

The other day, Village Clerk asked me to be in a pool of poll workers. Today I asked
Village Clerk about the training. When Village Clerk presented a list of names to
the village board, everyone insisted that my name be removed. All the other poll workers
said that they would quit if I were approved. Village Clerk found it repulsive and unjust.
I told Village Clerk about a local performance group that had ignored my script for an
upcoming show and a historic building committee that excluded my documentary from
an art show. I said that people would twist anything to keep me out. Village Clerk said
that’s what the board did. Village Clerk has seen the board act in prejudiced ways before
and considers the people from the local church to be the most prejudiced of all.
Village Clerk plans to resign.

The performance group needed a script for an upcoming show. I am a writer and I’d written a script for a college class. I said during the meeting that I would start writing a script. At the next meeting, a group of members talked about a script they were writing. None of them had talked about writing a script at the previous meeting, and no one had contacted me about helping with that script. Another member told me she thought the other members were incredibly rude. I said the scripts could be combined. I waited for a phone call. No one called me about working on the combined script. At the next meeting, the other script writers presented a combined script. They had liked my characters but apparently decided they could write about my characters better than I could. I said to remove everything of mine from the combined script and quit the group. The other writers responded angrily, complaining that they would have to start over writing a script just a few weeks before the show. They blamed me for all problems with the script.

It is likely that one of the poll workers was a member of the 2007 historic building committee. That group changed the rules of about two decades to keep my documentary about a highly successful local nonprofit out of the art show. Local people were astonished that the head of the committee described my documentary as ‘non-art’ ‘stuff’. The committee decided that only nonprofits could sell non-art items at the art show.

If documentaries are ‘non-art’ ‘stuff’, why did the The New Yorker write an article with this title?

“Sixty-Two Films That Shaped The Art Of Documentary Filmmaking”

My documentary on a sales table could have brought the local nonprofit more attention and more paying visitors to their annual fair. I kept hearing that people living in other parts of Wisconsin had never heard of the fair that draws visitors from around the world. The committee’s determination to keep my documentary out of the art show made them blind to publicity benefits for the nonprofit.

The village board members and poll workers came to their decision about me even though they had spent little time with me. I rarely talked to any of them. Instead of talking with me, these stereotypers talked about me.

In similar situations, ask stereotypers these types of curiosity questions:

“I’m curious. When did you last talk with ————-?”

“I’m curious. How much time have you spent with ————-?”

“I’m curious. What is ————-‘s side of the story?”

“I’m curious. Would you like people who barely know you to say negative things about you?”

If you feel brave, you could be curious about something else.

I am not an alcoholic. I am not an addict. I am not a criminal. I am not a homewrecker. I speaking positively about people unless I have evidence they have done something negative. I am generous.

What could my unforgivable crime be? I expect equality. Equality with me is apparently painful beyond endurance.

Here’s the curiosity question to ask if you feel brave:

“I’m curious. Are you afraid of equality with ————-?”

I’d like to hear from anyone brave enough to ask that question. I want to know what the response is.


Refusing to Betray and Sabotage Women
Who Betray and Sabotage You

Paula worked with one woman for two and a half years. This coworker was a project manager. Close to two  years in, a third woman began working with Paula and the project manager. The three women had schedules that meant they never worked together, but the project manager worked with both Paula and the new employee.

The new employee began telling lies about a number of women in the company, including Paula. Paula did not know about the lies until it was too late. The project manager ignored all the evidence proving that the lies were false. The lies apparently made Paula look like she was out to get the project manager. So the project manager decided to sabotage Paula. She created a situation that made Paula look like she had done something damaging to one of the company’s clients. The project manager’s supervisor ignored all the evidence that the project manager’s lies were physically impossible. The company fired Paula.

Paula wrote a letter to the project manager. Paula told the project manager that she had been trying to think of a way to say thank you for something meaningful the project manager had done for Paula just through conversation. Meaningful as in life changing.

Paula also gave the project manager information that could be useful for two health problems the project manager had. The project manager could look the evidence up on the Internet to discover it was true. One of the health problems was insomnia. Paula had learned that magnesium improves sleep. In one Internet comment about magnesium, a man wrote that his doctor called magnesium a sleeping pill. (See the Serendipitous Success Seeds page for a PDF download about sleeping better.)

Instead of betraying and sabotaging the woman who had betrayed and sabotaged her, Paula  gave the project manager information that could improve her life, including sleeping better for the rest of her life. The ability to sleep well would improve the project manager’s life in other ways. The success of any woman depends on the success of all women. The ability to sleep is an important success that will make the project manager more effective in her life. She just needs to learn that girl goodwill creates more success than girl growls.

* Visit smilessparksuccess.comfor more information about guiding values.


“Ally or Adversary?
Jen Oyama Murphy
Christianity Today
September 14, 2017

“America’s Real Favorite Pastime? Judging Women.”
Deborah Copaken Kogan
More Magazine
July/August 2011

“Shailene Woodley, Star’s Starlet”
Eliana Dockterman
Time Magazine
May 29, 2014

“What women owe one another”
Michelle Obama
More Magazine
July/August 2015, page 144

© Paula M. Kramer, 2012 to the present
All rights reserved.
Last updated October 27, 2020.