Celebrating Inspirational Women: The Men That Inspire Me…

By: Cinthya Rubio, Marketing and Communications Director @ Our Hands For Hope

When we started this adventure of Celebrating #InspirationalWomen I immediately knew which women in my life have had a strong influence on the kind of woman I have become today. Being such an easy task to identify them does not remove the merit and acknowledgment they should receive, but easy has never been my profile. So how about honoring the men that stand beside, support, cheer on, challenge and inspire women? Yeah that sounds more like it.

To my demise when  I googled things like “men that stand beside women, men that support their strong woman, men that cheer on their woman, men that challenge and inspire women” everything had a “sentimental relationship” connotation!  Here are just a few of the many things that I found:

Yup, that’s just a small taste of what I found on the surface… then I saw this article on Forbes titled: “Suzanne Venker: Men Aren’t Mad At Women’s Success–They Just Don’t Want To Help”. I must say it still wasn’t what I was looking for and it touched the evidently inevitable sentimental relationship aspects between men and women but it did have a more professional setting sprinkled here and there throughout the article.  There was a quote on there that did get me thinking:

“One of the reasons men are less successful today is because women have been insisting for decades [that] they don’t need a man!” she says. “So men stopped reaching as high as they used to.” But as women continue to reach higher and higher towards success, will men reach lower and lower? Will they even be able to lift a finger? –Excerpt from Meghan Casserly’s  Forbes article.

WOW really?!? Maybe this general feeling is why the search for stories of women honoring the supportive men in their lives has been hard to find! Do I feel like this? Should I? HECK NO!

I might be one of the select few to have great men that are inspiring and have been influential in who I am today, or maybe “Strong, successful, inspiring” women just aren’t as willing to share the platform with men. Now I am definitely more eager to share!

No doubt that my father has played a big role… He’s not your typical “Mexican Macho Man” but does have cultural characteristics of a Mexican Gent. I’m certain that my Grandmother played a big role in him not doubting the strength of a woman…  He also found a woman that was not your typical housewife, the interaction between my mother and him has always portrayed a feeling of “we are in this together, we will both push forward”- so clearly I am looking for the future man in my life to have that mentality as well.

Father with baby daughter

Dad with baby girl #3 (me)

What surely made my father become a supportive man was the fact that he had three daughters.  He could have taken the easy route and let girls be girls, but he challenged us to help fix things at home- not just clean, to explain sports and invite us to watch games with him- not just shoo us away to play with our dolls so we wouldn’t interrupt, to learn basics of car maintenance should we ever get stranded- not just rely on AAA.  He went that extra mile to make sure that the girls he would send out to the world would not only be caring but independent should a man not be present, knowledgeable beyond caregiving and cooking, and strong should they have to face adversity in life.

Because of the things dad exposed me to, it has always been easy for me to have guy friends. These friends have always told me that my lack of an extremely “girly attitude” helps them be able to talk and share more openly what they think. The simplicity and ease of these friendships with men have taught me how to avoid talking behind the backs of others and simply say what roams in my mind without sentiment getting in the way- and that has helped me in the business environment. Curiously, when I have had doubts regarding big steps in life, it has been my guy friends telling me that I am more than capable, worthy and strong enough to do it, whereas most of my girl friends have instated doubt and at times fear to move forward, always with the idea of helping me avoid grief of possible failure and safeguard my feelings. Without a doubt I have studied, traveled, loved and even jumped out of planes because I am more than capable, worthy and strong enough to do it… but I know failure and have felt the sting of broken feelings, but I too am more than capable, worthy and strong enough to endure those.

The best friends a girl can ask for!

The best friends a girl can ask for!

Last but not least, the amazing men that have served as mentors while in college and during my career must be mentioned. I have been blessed to have professors that bluntly expressed that my worth as a professional would be undermined simply for being a woman; therefore mediocre efforts in their classroom would not be tolerated in order to prepare me for the real world. Their words of encouragement, not sugarcoating what to expect in the jungle, and even that one professor that flunked me and made me retake his class because he felt I did average instead of exceptional, have opened many doors in my professional life, giving me the opportunity to venture into many fields of work and “mostly” enjoy every moment of it… I have learned to gain respect of my coworkers, and have received advice from businessmen, that in my mind will forever be priceless.

So to all the  men out there, go beyond the feelings that Suzanne Venker mentions in that Forbes article, please don’t stop reaching as high as you used to… because girls, and women like me, need challenges! Let’s both continue to reach higher and higher towards success to inspire generations of both girls and boys to come.

The James Brown “It’s A Man’s World” became the soundtrack to the writing of this post.

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