Celebrate Women's Equality Day by Getting Fat

Back in the day when I was an actress and taking classes in Hollywood, my teacher told a story about Marilyn Monroe and Maureen Stapleton walking down Hollywood Boulevard on their way to lunch. The story goes that the two actresses were casually taking in the sights in the middle of the afternoon and nobody was crowding around them, asking for autographs or photos. Nobody noticed them.

Maureen, a character actress, was accustomed to not being recognized, but she was stunned that Marilyn wasn’t inciting a riot. So she asks, “How is it that we can walk down the middle of the street in the midday sun and nobody recognizes you?”

“You want people to notice? Watch.” And with the flip of some internal switch, almost immediately a crowd gathered around them making it impossible to get to their destination.

Marilyn, a notorious introvert, had perfected both the art of invisibility, and when it suited her, paparazzi presence.

Marilyn was in control of her presence.

In honor of Women’s Equality Day—it’s been 96 years since we got the right to vote—I invite you to be in control of your presence. Your leadership presence. Your brand. To do this, you will have to set aside all the cultural directives and rules about how women should behave. You’ll need to get fat and take up space. As I’ve been ceaselessly saying for the past couple of years, we women need to shift the dynamic and get the workplace (the world) to conform to us.

Try this:

  1. Be fat—take up space, spread out

  2. Sit at the head of the table

  3. Blurt—speak up, speak out, have an opinion

  4. Tell a good story

  5. Interrupt

  6. Take credit

  7. Bring your posse

  8. Laugh out loud with your mouth wide open

  9. Apologize for real transgressions, not for breathing

Go get fat and make the scales tip.