What should women be like if they are not mothers, daughters, cheerleaders, supermodels, or manic pixie dream girls? We are consistently told that we can’t have it all, and we can’t be everything. What then can we be? For me, Jen Dziura’s idea of a gentlewoman/Bullicorn is as good a model as any. Rather than advocating for one career or lifestyle choice, Jen provides practical strategies for achievement of one’s own ambitions. In this model, the answer to the question implied above is to be the most badass version of you.
The Bullish Conference provided a venue to work on this goal in a supportive (and beachy!) environment. Attendees bonded over a basic understanding of shared values. How refreshing to discuss feminist thought or multiple income streams without having to explain or apologize for your opinions! It seemed that everyone was excited about new ideas and new ventures, and the group repeatedly burst out clapping when someone shared a professional accomplishment. Besides your mother, who else would be thrilled by your book plan?
For me, conversations with other attendees teased out interests and plans that had been germinating deep in my brain for some time. Through workshops and conversations I developed a plan for my next year, and started some advance planning for the next five years. I also learned skills in negotiation, pitching, and time management, which will come in handy when I ask for a promotion, propose an article to a nationally distributed magazine, and train for a half marathon, all of which are on my plan.
Sharing personal and professional successes and trials with a like-minded group of peers makes the everyday struggle against the patriarchy more manageable. Explaining your fabulous, far-fetched business idea to a supportive audience makes it seem attainable. Hearing from women who are realizing their dreams through a combination of moxy, time management, and bullish aggression inspires you to do the same. The Bullish Conference gave me the tools and support to wrestle my ambitions into actionable goals. Did it change my life? It’s a bit early to say, but my 2014 is looking pretty good.