We’ll be honest with you. Sometimes, we get caught up on the idea of building a squad. From fitness squad to a squad dedicated to the practice of eating cronuts, we love the idea of groups of women getting together to enjoy common interests. However, squads, especially the ones of the aspirational celebrity variety, can start trending towards exclusivity. Vinas don’t operate on the “you can’t sit with us” mentality, which is why we built an app to connect women beyond their everyday squads.
Don’t get us wrong. We celebrate the idea of women unifying, occupying online and offline spaces and spotlighting why it’s amazing to be fiercely female together. While the intention of squad might have started off in the name of female empowerment, it has become a label of exclusivity and a constant feed of group brags.
This history of squads gone wrong is not a new development.
In the 1970s, the Women’s Liberation Movement could not find power as a community. The mission to empower women in all spheres of their lives became weighed down by a debate on which groups – squads – were entitled to be free: white, black, cisgendered, queer. Years later, women’s equality is still bogged down by celebrity feuds and cat fights, making a spectacle out of talented women fighting other women.
Only an inclusive, universal community of women can move the needle for women’s equality. Here are ways to create community goals over squad goals in your everyday lives:
1. PLAN EVENTS THAT ARE INCLUSIVE OF ALL INCOMES AND INTERESTS.
Yes, we love SoulCycle and brunch in minimalist spaces. However, not every vina is able to buy a $4.50 latte with foam art (or might want to). Instead, opt for a potluck picnic at a park or a free community art exhibit. Inclusivity is respecting that all women should be able to participate in this community of empowered friends.
2. RECOGNIZE THAT YOU HAVE PRIVILEGE. THEN, HELP A FRIEND IN NEED.
First things first, find some peace and self-love about recognizing your privilege. Women in tech have a lot to say about unequal pay and hostile work environments (and we should speak about it), but it’s important to recognize that we have more income and opportunities than other women, especially single mothers who have no family paid leave. As a coalition of women, join mentorship programs or make a pact to provide internships for low-income students interested in STEM. Donate your business casual pieces to Dress for Success. When we bring all women up, we make progress for women’s equality.
3. SUPPORT WOMEN-LED BUSINESS
If you speak with your dollar, society might just listen. That’s why we have wonderful, weird things in the world, like cronuts (yes, I want them) or underwear that serves as a tampon/pad in one (I’m looking at you, THINX). Support services and products that are led by women and are made for women. Not only are you buying products that are designed and marketed with you in mind, but you are also supporting and giving power to female entrepreneurs and leaders who will partner and hire other women. Did you know that Team VINA is an all-female powerhouse?
(Featured image via omondi.tumblr.com)