“It is Impossible to Be a Woman – Nobody Gives You a Medal or Says Thank You!”


Choose Your Fighter” by Ava Max from “Barbie The Album” 🎵 

I saw the Barbie movie on Friday – it was great. It was a giant advertisement where the ending with Ruth felt more like an homage for Mattel than it did for the audience, but it was still great.

It was the end to a week of reminding myself to let go of things that make me frustrated – even when it feels like I’ve regressed (specifically I had to revert WordPress 6.3 to 6.2.2).

Some regressions are better handled without fighting the environment, but instead by amplifying the toolset that is extreme gratitude.

Gratitude First

If you’ve seen it then you know the part that makes all grown ass women tear up is America Ferrera’s monologue. It is amazing. The best is when she says:

“It’s too hard! It’s too contradictory and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you! It turns out in fact that not only are you doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault. I’m just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us.”

America Ferrera, “Barbie”


If I had one piece of life advice: Say thank you a whole lot more.

Take the feedback, asks, passion, pitches, documentations, words, wisdom, beliefs, championing from people you already know and say “Thank you” before literally anything else. Believe in them and their intentions. They have probably been looking out for you (and others) this whole time. Often our propensity to bias towards “Meh, they’re wrong.” and impatience prevents us from…

Truly Hearing with gratitude first.

Ferrera’s monologue embodied what it means to be a woman today. Some steamroll over Joan of Arcs because they can see only the battle they want to win, not the people beside them as partners.

It’s hard. We all see everything we don’t have and still want.

But some still only see the glass half-full, even when women are giving us tools to get those things. We struggle to delegate opportunity to them. We struggle by approaching with “knowing we are right” instead of actively seeking other perspectives of silent voices. We struggle to partner with them because we see them as a threat or a bar to compare against – or as someone who will never be experienced enough to meet our bar. Some get to only handle problems we no longer want framed as an opportunity. We do this while telling women from all directions they’re wrong even when they are parroting our own words and saying “I agree with you and that’s why I’m sharing this to support you.” Ferrera was right “It’s too contradictory.” A lot of these contradictions stem from operating out of want for our own goals – instead of operating first with gratitude and selflessness – and it’s a hard transition to make. No one is perfect. It requires constant recalibration.

It’s the small thanks that count so wisdom is appreciated for value instead of seen as in the way, undeserving, or too dumb to know. And its inviting others in to frame opportunity when its there, not applying it to them through our own controlled lens, that changes us from saviors into partners because we believed in our peers.

In general, women aside, it’s a kind way of being when you operate through invitation with others and gratitude first – believing they had good intentions, skills, and are worth supporting.

It means, simply, you respect and trust them.

Thank you doesn’t have to be rare

This is good advice generally, but makes a huge difference for people who eat a ton of shit sandwiches (women, people of color, people in HR, VPs, SVPs). I remind myself, that if I continue to say ‘thank you’ then it does eventually come back.

Saying “thank you” by letting people own things they are passionate about as an action, and championing them for framing it with others, is truly the best. Applying our ideas to people by force is the worst. Thank you isn’t done just verbally but also through action, primarily, by lifting the work of others up.

If you haven’t thanked someone today, do that. If you thank someone every day then we are finally contributing to the metric against a disproportionate amount of shit sandwiches we all eat. Be grateful for the women in your life though because, in engineering and leadership, they are the rarity and so is the amount of times they hear it.

To Mattel (specifically Kim Culmone though who is an incredible person): Thank you.

I’m sure the praise (and money) all the women gave means you will not need the metal, but an Oscar to Greta Gerwig would be great.

Header Image by Vonecia Carswell from Unsplash.