Last week at Millennial Women Inc. we launched our first Millennial Women Talk in Miami, Fla. Women from all walks of life came together to discuss how to break the Miami girl stereotype that affects the women of this community.
Our MW Thought Leader was Ekaterina Juskowski, Creative Director and Founder of Miami Girls Foundation. She helped us lead the conversation in a room filled with Miami women at WeWork Coral Gables. We had the pleasure of speaking with Juskowski about the work the Miami Girls Foundation is doing to suppress the negativity surrounding Miami girls. We also learned more about the foundation’s mission of highlighting women in leadership positions and encouraging women to participate and engage with their own communities.
Although the topic of stereotypes is very complex, Millennial Women Talk Miami was able to go in-depth on a few of the stereotypes surrounding Miami women today. Many are due to the influence of tourism, media, pop culture, TV, and film on the Miami lifestyle.
One of the problems we face with stereotypes is that they often revolve around insignificant factors like race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status. These factors are minuscule in comparison to what truly makes up who women are as individuals. Personality, life experiences, and talents capture the true essence of women rather than these demographic factors.
Stereotypes cast preconceived judgments on people based off societal factors. They act as a barrier to creating genuine connections with other people. Because we’ve created a false assumption of who a person is before we meet them, it is hard to truly get to know someone new. In regards to the Miami girl stereotype, it has created shame or denial amongst Miami women about the place they call home. We found some women are embarrassed to declare they are from Miami because of the stereotype that exists.
“We are more than our stereotype”
What We Can Do
We loved learning about the Miami Girls Foundation solid platform of highlighting inspiring women in Miami overcoming incredible feats within their community. By giving a platform to these women, the foundation sheds a new light on what being a Miami girl means. In many ways, the foundation is changing the negative perception entirely.
We also admired Juskowski’s headstrong attitude in disregarding negative stereotypes completely. She strongly believes in not fighting these stereotypes by shedding light on them, but rather highlighting women who counter the stereotypes.
“We ignore the negative stereotypes,” Juskowski said. “We only focus on women like we have here who are proud to be from Miami, who are proud of being Miami girls, and we learn from them by highlighting these women who either ignore the negativity consciously or who are not even aware that it exists.”
We also discussed how each and every one of us can take small steps to create big changes. Through social consciousness, we can represent ourselves and the places we come from in a better light. Even steps as small as being conscious on how we use the hashtag “#MiamiGirl” on social media can make a big difference.
Realizing that we can play a part by — as we like to say — living our own individualities out loud and investing in our uniqueness, can ultimately combat any stereotype. When your uniqueness shines bright, it is impossible to be put into any box.
The night continued with the distinct voices of the Miami millennial women in an engaged open conversation and ended with everyone stepping outside for a photo that was later posted and hashtagged as #MiamiGirls.
As our gathering came to a close, we couldn’t help but feel a shift in the air that filled each woman with a commitment to break the Miami girl stereotype. We urge all the women who attended the talk and listened to the podcast to continue the dialogue through their new found role of representing the beautifully diverse and vibrant city of Miami, Fla.
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