Believe Women, Empower Women, Love Women #IWD2018
Yesterday, International Women’s Day, marked my 1 year anniversary of moving to San Francisco! I want to write something special for the ladies in my life who have supported me from the beginning til now!
I spent yesterday far less adventurous than moving across the country and was at my desk working, when I had the idea to illustrate a featured image for this post. Most people are familiar with my very linear, flat, cartoony style, so this illustration is a good representation of how I’ve transformed as a designer in one year!
My illustration was influenced by a flowy-style trend I’ve been seeing from design companies in SF. Check out this one below from Awsmd:
👉New illustration! 👈 Walking can do wonders for your body and soul. Getting outside for a walk will clear your mind and rest it. If you like my work, Show some love! Thanks
In flowy illustration, body proportions are generally distorted on purpose, which I used in my favor to show women in all sizes! I also gave it my own twist with geometric shapes to replace upper bodies. The most fun part was researching fashion for diversity – featuring an Asian, Muslim, White, and African American woman.
Until 2 years ago, I hadn’t had any female friends since high school, and it was even a guy who told me I needed girls in my life. Believing in my own story and identity as a woman has been a huge challenge, but the most rewarding one. Since then, I’ve come to learn that most women go through similar challenges, and our mutual support in listening to and supporting each other is priceless.
On my journey of believing women, I met some of the most “powerful” women in Silicon Valley. I used to work for weekly networking mixers, and I’ve participated in empowerment events i.e. a women-only hackathon. It all led to my current job at a non-profit that empowers girls to pursue tech, and it’s amazing to work with a team so passionate about it.
I love what I do, but often I feel powerless. I can believe and empower women, but I can’t always cause change. Sometimes I focus so much on being able to see things happen that I forget the most important part: love women. We don’t read a lot about just loving others since our society tends to focus more on achievement and tangible results. But isn’t our identity women first, everything else second?
Loving women can look like a lot of things:
- When I was in graduate school, my girlfriends would get together on Friday nights to spend time with each other. We often invited classmates and other friends to join us. It didn’t always have to be an intimate group where everyone knew each other well, because we just wanted to build a supportive sisterhood.
- I tried to start the same kind of women mentorship group in my Master’s program, but I had already graduated by then and I don’t know if the other ladies continued it. Grad students are already busy with both school and work.
- Five days after I moved to SF, I met my first friend, who convinced me to go on a women’s retreat with her church. I went, and met some ladies who would later become my support group in California.
- I’m an advocate of female roommates! My NYC roommate and I had to split a bedroom and I got her addicted to the Final Fantasy X soundtrack. I don’t think she knows what Final Fantasy is. Sometimes we took turns sitting in the living room to give the other person privacy, but it was really nice to always have someone right there to talk to if something was on my mind.
- Lastly, recently I’ve been calling my grandma once every other month just to chat with her. Our generation gap is huge and she grew up in a culture that least believes women. She doesn’t understand my non-profit work, but before moving to SF, neither did I!
I wouldn’t be here if I never learned that we need to believe and empower women. But no matter what I do to believe women and empower women, I can always love them better.
This post is intended for International Women’s Day, March 8th 2018, but was delayed since I’m working on my posting schedule. New posts every Friday – except for last Friday, because the power in my house got knocked down!