Real Power 

(c) by Kathy L. Harris <>

There's a difference between women who want to appear powerful and those who just are.

I saw one of the former today over a working lunch. You know the kind--she looked the part. I used to mimic women like her, the ones I remembered from those Hanes pantyhose commercials on television. The epitome of society's image of a professional woman: short hair, well-spoken, tailored Anne Klein navy suit, simple jewelry, facial expressions and hand movements at the appropriate times, small pearl studs on her ears. Matching navy leather pumps, not too high and not too flat. A matching bag, of course, and coordinating silk pantyhose. Small, round, eye glasses and light, pale lip gloss. She used words like "experimentation," "attractors," and "visionary."

Now, I fully realize that in the fast-paced, cut-throat business world we are all a part of these days, this woman may think she's making her mark. And maybe she is to someone else. But I see silent desperation in her appearance, her actions, her eyes. She's not the real thing. She's a wannabe.

Later in the day, I encountered another woman in a tension-filled board room. We're talking a sea of black, gray, and blue suits with unobtrusive ties and starched white shirts, worn mostly by men over the age of 45. She had the courage to wear what she wanted, what made her feel her best--not what society prescribes. Bold colors. A long, full skirt. Dangling earrings and five rings on one hand. Her hair was long--much longer than most women her age would wear. Her long, red nails caught the artificial light of the room, as did the strands of silver in her hair which had yet to see the dawn of chemical color. I knew in one moment she held more spirit and wisdom in her little finger than most of the wannabes can ever hope to have in a lifetime.

And you know what? Every one of those men noticed this woman.

This woman was real. True to herself. Demanding respect and attention and getting it. There's power in that.

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