The journey to your dream life of comfort or affluence is laden with traps. We like to think that the big bad patriarchy is keeping us “down,” but the reality is more insidious. Women interwoven in the patriarchy are the main gatekeepers in many systems. The female HR officer who didn’t hire you because your DD boobs in your appropriately sized dress shirt spelled future legal trouble. The female professor who campaigned to refuse your admission to graduate school because she saw the 3-carat rock on your finger. The queen bee housewife who constantly puts you down at cocktail parties because you are 30 years younger than her. You see, it is not the men who are keeping us down: it’s the women.
I have yet to meet a man who has actively sabotaged my growth in my career and personal life. Most men I encounter are eager to help a young lady achieve her goals, and the rest are neutral. It may be that I don’t really give men who can’t help me the time of day, and that is probably true. And so this sample size may be a bit skewed, but nonetheless, my observation stands. We are keeping each other down, not men.
Kill them with kindness. Depending on how often you have to see this person in the future, you might have to play nice. Act unbothered even if the opposite is true. Play dumb. Let them think they are winning.
Use information with precision. Never tell gatekeepers anything without purpose. It doesn’t matter how good your news is, put them on an information starvation diet. They do welcome your bad news, however, as it elevates their opinion of themselves. Use this sparingly as well and only if you are committed to playing this long game.
Dress down. Women have this innate desire to hate other women they perceive as better looking. We are jealous creatures, and this drive to be better than the next woman either physically or morally is ever present. “Oh, she’s pretty but I bet she’s not smart.” If you know you are going into a female-only gathering/meeting, tone it down. Unless you know the females in attendance are genuinely good friends of yours and may even be as good looking and fashionable as you, it’s best to play safe and not elicit insecurity in others. Trust me, your confidence makes them highly insecure already.
Delete them. Gatekeepers know they are gatekeepers. They have this perception that they wield control over your fate. Well, thanks to the other women gatekeepers before them, women are actually not at the head of decision making in most systems. This means you don’t have to deal with them as much as you think you should. Everyone has a boss, and chances are, your boss’s boss is a male. And like I said, men don’t gatekeep against younger women in general. Same goes for social situations. Friend groups at cocktail parties may seem big, but they are actually quite small. Most social circles you want to enter are not at all influenced by other smaller social circles. If the queen bee of one circle ousts you or declares you an outcast, you can easily find another circle to be a part of. When you realize what little power these women have over you, it becomes quite easy to let go.
You are intelligent, self-aware, and drop-dead gorgeous. Men and women alike do not know what to do with you. The men will admire you while the women will begrudge you. Let them.