Woman 2020: Michele / by Jenn Heflin

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It has been a crazy year for women. Historically, though, we know every year is crazy for women. If ever things are going to change, now seems like the moment. WOMAN 2020 is a snapshot of women during this time of upheaval. We are building careers, raising children, living our lives, and trying to impact the world in positive ways, and I believe all women have much to say. This is Michele‚Äôs Q&A.

What is your first name, occupation, and role (or roles) you most identify with? 

Michele, Art Dealer, Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Boss

What is the most positive thing about being a woman in 2018?
Women's stories are being heard today and helping form a new narrative for the next generations.

What is the hardest thing about being a woman in 2018?
We are still expected to fit in a box.

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When did you first notice that society treated men and women (or boys and girls) differently?
I grew up with parents that told me I could do and be anything I wanted. I believed them. When I was about 8 years old I played little league and was one of 2 girls in the entire league. And I was good. I was a relief pitcher and when I would strike out the boys they would tease each other that they were struck out by a girl. I remember thinking, why did it make a difference if I was a girl. I practiced all the time with my brother and they just couldn't accept that I was better than them. It made me try harder because I had something to prove.

How do you maintain your resiliency in these times? 
I rely on the support of my family and friends. I have a life/ business coach. I have joined female networking groups and a writing group. Knowing that I am an example to my children keeps me moving forward. My husband is my biggest cheerleader and the greatest support. I listen to podcasts and music non-stop, go for lots of walks, yoga (self-care). I listen to my gut. I truly believe that I can make my life anything I want it to be.

Why do you think past movements haven't moved the needle for women?
They have. Little by little every movement moves forward.

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Do you think the current movement will be the one to change things for future generations? Yes, because women now are involving future generations in the movement. I think future generations will be the ones to change things even more because it is their movement too and they feel that. I have hope.

What needs to happen for us to move forward?
We need to keep telling our stories, supporting each other, work together.

What can women do to make it better for other women? 
We need to stop ripping each other apart. We need to stop comparing ourselves and our lives to other women. We need to support each other's businesses and work. We need to shout out loud the things we love about each other. And to quote one of my favorite writers, Amy Ferris, we need to stop taking crumbs. Be strong examples for our girls.

What can men do to make it better for women? 
Be thoughtful in the language they use about women.

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What are some of the influences (people, art, books, songs, movies) you loved growing up that made you realize your power?
My family, the Olympics, Cyndi Lauper, Blondie, Ramona Quimby, Dorthea Lange, Jane Goodall, Mrs. Parsons & Mr. Fryman (2nd grade teacher & band teacher), Bad News Bears, Oprah, Chrissie Hynde, Tamara de Lempicka

What am I missing -- what should I be asking?
What would you say to your 10 year old self about who you are now?

Visit the WOMAN 2020 webpage to tell your story and to stay in touch about the exhibition opening in Spring of 2020.