Shame is something we can all relate to. For some of the women who join Pleasure Principles, just taking this step is so big that they change their names to remain anonymous. Either because they’re embarrassed, or even worried that they might know or be recognized by someone in the group.
On this episode of The Pleasure Principles Podcast, we’re doing something different. We’ve got two guests from our community and sisterhood who join me for some ‘girl talk’ about shame, as we discuss how shame originates in childhood and can erode your confidence. We’ll hear from GG and Kasey as the three of us talk about the ingrained shame we can’t seem to shake off, even with all our successes.
GG is one of our sisterhood, but she still doesn’t share or like anything I post on social media:
“You're one of my dearest friends. And I don't comment or like anything that you put out on LinkedIn. And why? For me, in sales, I live on LinkedIn. And a lot of my content is on LinkedIn. A lot of people know me because of my presence. I feel like:
My fear around it is, well, what if a prospective client were to see that this is the kind of content that I'm commenting on or engaged in? And what kind of judgment would I get from them? And would I potentially lose a piece of business because of that? And it's bullshit. I know it’s bullshit.”
“It’s hard when we live in a man’s world”, Kasey relates. “Women can’t embody their feminine presence; they have to toe the line because everything is based on a man’s sexual response.”
“What’s funny about this”, GG responds, “is that most of my target market are women. Yes, in my industry, specifically, and my role in sales, my peers and colleagues tend to be males. But the people that I target in the benefits world are generally female. So yeah, other women judge other women, so when are we going to end that?”
It's like we are set up culturally to fear judgement or fear what others think. We’re worried about women shaming us, or judging us for interacting with content like this, when we know in our logical rational brains that there’s at least a 50% chance that the woman judging us is suffering from sexual dysfunction herself, and needs this work and this information.
But it's that initial fear. It's an initial shame. It generally comes from when we're young and don't have a filtering system. It’s a conditioned response. As women, we have these experiences of shame; sexual shame, period shame, mom shame. Lately, I’m in the ‘mom shame’ world where it's constantly: ‘Don’t rock your baby to sleep, don’t breastfeed your baby, breastfeed your baby, don’t breastfeed too long. Are you loving your baby too much?’.
Every woman knows shame. GG opened up about her experience of shame from childhood to the workplace:
“I grew up in a very conservative Catholic household with two older brothers who married their college girlfriends in their mid-20s and started having kids; this was never my path. I felt shamed within my own family, like, what are you doing with your life?
I'm in sales; moved to New York City from California, which was totally different in the way people present themselves and dress. I had so much fun wearing heels and dresses and feeling so powerful in my femininity and being so well received. But I can distinctly remember being in Philadelphia for a meeting. And I was very friendly with our Head of Communications, who was a woman. And I was struggling, I was really having a tough time closing deals. And she said to me: ‘As your friend, and I love you and think you're amazing and beautiful, and I love the way you dress, but I wonder if you should tone it down. Because you're meeting primarily with other women.’
I mentioned it to another female colleague, and she said, ‘Have you ever noticed the way I dress? Very simply, I don't take my designer handbags with me. You know, I have all these beautiful shoes and bags at home. But I don't dress like that. I take my little coach purse. And you know, my understated flats.’
I'm like, Fuck this. I was so mad, not at them, just at the world. And the truth is I did dial it down. And I don't know that I can say it made a difference. But I certainly have turned my success rate around and have very strong female relationships with the people that I sell to. But it just struck me as so unfair. I was upset because this is just fucking reality. And that's unacceptable. And I can't change it alone. But, we can change it together.”
This conversation is just a peek behind the curtain into what is a very interesting discussion around shame. How we’re taught to not be too fabulous, to not stand out or draw attention and definitely not to be in the spotlight for a sexual reason.
Kasey unpacks the others-first mentality that we’ve been conditioned to accept. The guilt around whether you’re a career woman or a full-time mom or even just choosing between breastfeeding or not breastfeeding. “We’re taught to stay in a box, because that’s the kind of woman that men want. And when we see other women not playing that role, we fucking hate them. We’re so jealous and triggered.”
We have to change this together. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we didn’t tell each other to tone it down? If we were cheerleaders who had each other’s back in the boardroom? And started sharing how we became badasses to support and uplift each other?
These women think so. Find out how being part of Pleasure Principles and joining movement classes like S-Factor helped them embrace their femininity and their bodies.
They believe that:
Shame is not congruent with desire. Shame is not congruent with curiosity. And if you want a big love connection, mind-blowing orgasms, it’s not going to come until we unpack the shame.
A quick way to do it is to figure out how shame feels in your body. Ask yourself, ‘where did I learn this?’ Where is this feeling coming from and what is a healthier belief?’ Shame is something we work on daily in the Pleasure Principles, but this is one tip to start with that that you can try.
Listen to episode # 9 on Apple. Or on Spotify. And if you like what you hear, do us a favour and leave a rating or review.
If you’d like to find out about unpacking shame and so much more, book a free consult or join the free Pleasure Mindset Bootcamp.