• Ellinor Otter

Trying to be a man is a waste of a woman.

Uppdaterat: okt 25

For as long as I can remember I’ve worked in male dominated industries. And for a very long time, I thought I needed to become one of the guys to fit in and be respected.

Being a woman in a male dominated industry can be awesome in many ways, but it can also be very challenging. When you're the only girl in the room, you often have to prove yourself and your skills and earn your respect in a way that men don't. I remember looking around in my team and realising I was the only girl in the room. I then started to look higher in the organisation and realised that my manager was a man, his manager was a man, his manager was a man and so it went on and on all the way up to the CEO - which also was a man.

It was a very competitive environment with a lot of “bro codes” and locker room conversations. A lot of the men I worked with were distant and hard to connect with, became defensive when they had done something wrong, were very result driven and was struggling to meet understand my moods and my needs when I had “women issues” such as PMS, morning sickness due to pregnancy or had a gynaecologist appointment.

Why you shouldn't try to become one of the guys

After years of being in this environment, I slowly started to hide my feminine side and instead embrace my unhealthy masculine traits. I was now “one of the guys” and when they said inappropriate jokes, I joked right back just to put them in place. I became distant, cold, competitive and I put aside my own needs just to fit in and not be a burden to the men around me. This resulted in me ending up in a lot of conflicts, I was bitter, I was egocentric, I focused on the wrong things and after a while I didn't even recognise myself anymore.

I then did some soul searching and started to see a Female Embodiment Coach which completely changed my life. She helped me find myself again and to embrace my feminine traits. She reminded me that it is human and totally OK to be vulnerable, feminine, soft, caring, warm, compassionate, playful, intuitive, sensual and to trust your gut both privately but also in a work environment.

And when I embraced those parts of me; magic happened and I was more true not only to myself but also to those around me.

Today, I am at a very good place in my life and career and I want to inspire other women in the industry not to dim their lights or lose themselves just to fit in. I am now the Co-founder & COO of We Exist. I work with women, for women, and I couldn’t be on a more true and authentic path in my life.

Trying to be a man is a waste of a woman.

So for all women who are trying to fit in in a male dominated industry:

Stay true to yourself and just be you (it’s cheesy but true!) Being a woman is so beautiful and complex and you are allowed to embrace all of our thoughts and feelings. Try to see yourself as a unique bad ass sparkling unicorn that has a lot to bring to the table. Speak your mind and share your feelings and if you don’t feel appreciated, respected or welcomed - don’t be afraid to address that! It is healthy to set boundaries and to stay true to yourself and. Just promise me that you won’t let anyone dim your light, ever.

Pixar has made a very powerful short video about this topic. It’s about a ball of yarn named Purl who gets a job in a fast-paced, high energy, bro-tastic start-up. Purl tries to fit in, but how far is she willing to go to get the acceptance she yearns for, and in the end, is it worth it?