The myth of female in-fighting persists, in the workplace, at home, in friendships and peer groups, despite a thousand concrete examples of how women support and encourage each other.
When I was collaborating on a writing project with three of my best female friends, I remember telling people about us and, often, they’d look incredulous. “Four women working together? I’ve never heard of that before!” I mean, I’m all about healthy competition amongst women, but this back-biting, cat-fighting cliché is so overdone.
from the Achille de Lellis and Albert Puglio collection
Ella Fitzgerald’s birthday was last week, and one part of her story offers a great example of women supporting women.
Marilyn Monroe was a huge fan of Ella’s. In the mid-1950s, Ella became the first African-American to perform at the Mocambo, an incredibly popular night spot where Frank Sinatra made his solo debut.
About Marilyn’s influence, Ella said:
I owe Marilyn a real debt. It was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s.
She personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard.
After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again.
What a fantastic symbol — one powerful woman sitting front and center every night to boost another talented woman’s career.
I take this example as a model in my life. We live in an abundant world. Lending my support to another talented women doesn’t hurt me. As my former boss used to say, “A rising tide lifts all ships.” Her success is my success. My beauty honors her beauty.
I’m not talking about blindly supporting women in everything they do, including war crimes or murder or whatever. I’m talking about treating every woman on the street like a potential goddess, not a competitor.
There’s room in this world for every woman’s power, talent, gorgeousness. It takes all kinds to make a world — and that’s something to embrace. I want to show up, front and center, for every woman I know and meet.