dana [2 of 3]

Our world is only getting smaller, and my company is helping it to be more inclusive. Thanks to technology, we are always connected, but it’s not always beneficial for self-esteem.  The constant exposure to movies, shows, Instagram, magazines, and more, throw us into a world of thumbs up for looking good, and comments from trolls if heaven forbid someone leaves the house without concealer. For some, women are expected and taught to focus on our looks, rather than academic success or extra-curricular accomplishments. Naturally, this expectation and focus often translates onto our professional and personal lives as women.

Women are judged for simultaneously looking too matronly or too immodest in the workforce. Show a little more skin to be more fun in the office, but don’t be a tease.  Although I’ve been in my industry for almost twenty years, I still lack confidence at major board meetings or industry symposiums. I could be in a power suit and look the part, but am nervous on the inside. I enjoy public speaking, but I get incredibly nervous leading up to it. Imposter syndrome is very real. Just because I appear confident externally, doesn’t mean I don’t feel nervous or that I don’t belong. While having a fancier label on your jacket could make you feel better in the short term, real change comes from an internal wardrobe change over years. Body positivity is tricky.

Dana Marlowe is the founder of Accessibility Partners, a disability and accessibility advocacy IT consulting firm. She is also the founder of Support the Girls, a network of nationwide affiliates to help facilitate the donation of bras and feminine hygiene products to homeless and low income women. She currently resides in Washington, DC.

Photo Credits: Emily Goodstein Photography

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