(for growing girls and grown women)
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 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
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.
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
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
3. Women as Deviants
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
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. However, Michelle Wolf still needs to develop girl grit in the way she talks about other women. Wolf invited the backlash.
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'”
May 13, 2014
Real World Examples Illustrating Girl Grit
Women as Mother
“How to NOT mom-shame (a handy tutorial)”
Women and Their Appearance
“7 Times Jennifer Lawrence Was the Queen of Shutting Down the Body-Shamers”
July 27, 2015
“What To Wear To Look Hot!”
“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.
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.
I recommend three types of talk for breaking glass ceilings.
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 by 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.
*I am collecting examples of glass ceiling breaking statements for all professions. Email your suggestions to paula at speakingfromtriumph dot com. I will eventually make all the statements available in a free format.
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.
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 painbecause 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
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.
Of course, some women are lying whiners and some women are haughty, but most women are not. The more stories you listen to, the more truth you’ll learn. Encourage other women to tell their stories by telling your stories.
Wonder Women Breaking Glass Ceilings
Inviting Loyalty, Limiting Backlash
Your Wonder Women Tiara
Your Wonder Woman Tiara provides the mental framework you need for for inviting loyalty and limiting backlash. The tiara will help you fashion your own Wonder Woman bracelets for repelling the stereotypes that build glass ceilings.
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, although Paula did not learn this 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 was not telling the truth. The company fired Paula.
Instead of responding with betrayal and sabotage, Paula responded with an explanation of what might have been. While she was working at that job, Paula was researching books and setting up Smiles Spark Success. Since books can generate speaking engagements, Paula knew she would eventually make a good income. Because Paula’s first guiding value is Helping *, she planned to use her money to help other people succeed after they have proven their ability and commitment. The project manager had talked about starting her own business making a specialty food product. Paula had tasted this product and found it delicious. Paula had planned to help the project manager start her business when she had enough money to be generous. That plan ended with the project manager’s lies about Paula.
Paula wrote this in a letter to the project manager. Paula also 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. Paula had never thanked the project manager because after the lying employee started working, the project manager became insincere towards Paula.
Paula did, however, give 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 ability to sleep better for the rest of her life. The ability to sleep would also 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.
In case you were wondering, Paula did not tell anyone on that job about her books or Smiles Spark Success website. Paula had already been fired once because female workers told lies about her. She did not want to give her coworkers on her next job any reason to judge her as deviant for expressing confidence in herself, her work, or her worth.
* Visit smilessparksuccess.com for more information about guiding values
“America’s Real Favorite Pastime? Judging Women.”
Deborah Copaken Kogan
June 9, 2014, page 53
“What women owe one another”
July/August 2015, page 144
© Paula M. Kramer, 2012
All rights reserved.
Last updated June 18, 2018