Apologizing for speaking up in a meeting (especially over a male colleague) is something women in the workplace find themselves doing all too often. Even though women have made great strides toward equality, there is still a long way to go. Art director Sophia Tassew, 21, is doing her part to keep moving forward by handing out this viral “Boy Poison” note given to women at work.
According to Mashable, Tassew was handing out these handwritten messages at Kings Cross Station in London to encourage women and young girls to embrace their femininity in the workplace. The note entitled “Boy Poison” starts off by letting women know that when talking to men in the workplace, they should be comfortable enough to “Give them direct eye contact. Speak with a loud clear voice.” It was Tassew’s experiences working in male-dominated environments that contributed to her loss of confidence when it came to standing up for herself in the workplace.
She decided to entitle the note “Boy Poison” after she came across the term jotted down somewhere, and she thought it had a nice ring to it. She tells Mashable, “I guess some men feel insecure about really confident women. It’s almost like kryptonite. Almost poison for some.”
Now that she’s reconnected with her ability to stand up for what she knows is right, her mission is to empower other women to simultaneously accept their “femininity and dominance.” She closes the note with a statement echoing that sentiment. That idea was likely born out of a feeling she had in the workplace that, as she tells Mashable, “If you speak up you’re seen as too overbearing and if not people treat you like you’re a fragile doll that can only do certain things.”
Tassew is helping to bridge the dominance gap between men and women by asserting what most women know to be true, which is that you can be both a woman and a confident, dominant professional — but it something that can be difficult to put into practice when you’re facing the type of men who view your powerful demeanor as a threat to them.
Looks like it’s working.
Thanks to Tassew, women and young girls now know that they are not alone in their endeavors and they’re armed with the perfect antidote to any fear of inferiority.