When striving to be The Boss Woman, your reputation is your biggest protection. It will open up opportunities for you, it will draw in investors, and it will be customers to your business. While your reputation should be solely rested upon your skills, competence, and work ethic, sometimes other reputations overshadow this and ruin you. This article will discuss the types of reputations that ruin you, and how to build a solid reputation.
The “Hoe” Reputation
When it comes to navigating through life and how to accomplish your goals and plans, many do not take their reputation seriously. A person’s reputation is important in both the opportunities presented to them as well as how they are treated. I remember last year in a conversation with another black woman she called me a “hoe”. I have never met this woman ever in my life, yet she felt justified in forcing such a label onto me without proof and while discussing an unrelated topic. Women are often attached to this label or similar without proof or receipts. What I realized is that some people plant an idea in their mind of who you are to them, then commence to treating you as such. Even if they are completely wrong about your character. I wrote about this in my blog, “I’m a Hoe”.
As a woman who is romantically interested in men, this can be a dangerous narrative. What makes a woman a hoe? The woman that said this to me doesn’t even know me, and if she calls me a hoe, someone watching is bound to believe that’s who I am. But let’s talk about how “hoes” are treated. Usually the women that people find to be “hoes” are seen as unworthy of good treatment. They see this woman not for her whole being, but only for what she does with her body sexually or can only offer sexually. Who is wrong? The woman herself or the people mistreating her based on a possible false reputation? She becomes seen and treated as only as a sexual object. Often women who are called hoes are also exploited. The mistreatment of women in sex work and industries can become degrading to her. They don’t value her mind, body, and spirit. They will assume she doesn’t either, because they have not accepted her for the whole being she is. A woman they see as a hoe, is also deemed unworthy of marriage or a loving partnership. When it comes to business, it can leave the reputation of her “sleeping her way to the top” and therefore her work ethic and leadership will not be respected. All they will see is the hoe and not the woman with intelligence, skills, and knowledge that brought her to the table. A hoe reputation can also ruin her career and set a woman up to be sexually harassed at work, since her male (and female) co-workers will treat her like a sex object. This is why in my blog, I addressed hoeing in secret. Keep your dating life off of social media and protect your reputation. It’s not surprising to see many single women are outcasted in dating circles based on such a reputation. They will even place all the blame for her harassment and mistreatment on her shoulders, because of their misperceptions. I know many will even lose out on employment, networking, and other opportunities based on this reputation. Remember, the hoe doesn’t get second chances.
The “Bitch” Reputation
In Patriarchy, it is hard for a woman to avoid the “bitch” reputation if she is constantly put into a position to stand up for herself. Since Patriarchs and their Handmaidens rather focus on how a woman responds, rather than how she is treated, any ounce of anger from a woman will make her a “bitch” or difficult. This reputation will turn people off if she is always considered the bitch, however it can also force people to respect her, especially if she is in a leadership position. Being “too nice” will invite people in to disrespect her and violate her. The kick to this is that is she responds to check this disrespectful people, she’ll be called a bitch regardless. The way to combat this is to set boundaries on how you will be treated, yet be sweet to people. Compliment them. Give them gifts. Reward them for their hard work, but if they disrespect you call out their behavior. Unfortunately, you will just have to accept this makes you a bitch in their eyes.
The “Mammy” Reputation
Black women have an idea that in order to be a valuable worker, she has to produce the most results. She strives to be seen as an asset to her team, so she can be promoted and receive raises. The problem with this is that of you produce more than the others, you will be expected to always perform more than others, forcing you to be overworked, overstressed, and often underpaid. While it is nice to perform more to be recognized, it is also important to delegate tasks to others, help when you need, and say “NO” to performing tasks outside of your scope of knowledge and duties. There is no reward for overworked female of the year. Make sure that the work load between you and your team is evened out equally. Let others get recognized for their hard work sometimes, and remember that sometimes the bare minimum is good enough as long as the job gets done.
In business, being the “hoe”, “bitch”, or “Mammy” does not come with rewards. These reputations can ruin your career faster than poor performance. Be sure to avoid these labels as much as possible and if anyone tries to stick this label on you, stand your ground. It will make you a “bitch” in their eyes, but the workplace is not the environment for toxicity or hostility. Keep it professional at all times, and if they try to come for your career, check them with a smile 😃.
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