The Conversation Women Are Having In Secret

Over the past few years, much of the debate about women’s lives has centered on our roles in the workplace. We have been coached to Lean In, assume the Power Pose and balance career and family in Unfinished Business. While the approaches differ, they share one essential call to action: Women must fight for greater acceptance, equality and leadership roles in our chosen careers.

With the rise of Tinder and the hook-up culture, much has also been written about how women are owning their sexuality in a similarly independent manner. But when it comes to actual romance, many women appear far more conflicted. (Yes, this is a big generalization, to say nothing of assuming hetero-normative roles. For the sake of argument, work with me here.) The truth is, we are not there yet — and many women are struggling not only with their own behavior but conflicting messages from men.

I co-founded Jyst, the crowd-sourced anonymous relationship advice app, to give women a place to open up about their lives in a supportive environment where we can share, ask, advise and help each other out without judgment when it comes to some of our most intimate concerns. One of the biggest surprises has been how many women struggle to break free of traditional roles, even self-proclaimed feminists. A few representative questions: “I’ve been dating this guy for the past four months, but he hasn’t asked me to be his girlfriend yet. Do I wait or ask him?” “Does it ever work out to ask a guy out first?” The answers are split between ‘You go, girl’ pep talks, admissions of similar insecurities, and shared experiences that men do not always react positively when women take the initiative. For women who pride themselves on being assertive in other areas of their lives, this is an uncomfortable dialog to have in broad daylight.

While issues of women’s rights in the workplace and controlling our own health must be central, it is also time to have a more open discussion about the stereotypical roles we continue to play in relationships. After all, the personal truly is political — and the political is more personal than ever. (Just ask Hillary.) The dialog must include men as well as women for we are all participants and we will all be the beneficiaries of change. Relationships are clearly in a state of flux, and if we are to come out of it in a better place, it’s time to be honest about our desires, confusion and vulnerabilities. As with all matters of the heart, that may just be the hardest thing of all.

How to Deal with Your Ex During the Holidays

You caught your partner texted with his ex. Should you be worried??? You can’t stop thinking about your ex. Should you give it one last shot? The ex you thought was out of your life just reap…

Source: How to Deal with Your Ex During the Holidays

Forgive, Forget or Flame Out?

They cheated.Or maybe they cheated. They want forgiveness. They want you to trust them again. Should you forgive, forget or flame out? As the great Beyoncé asks, “What’s worse, looking crazy or jea…

Source: Forgive, Forget or Flame Out?

The Upside of App Anonymity

News headlines are justifiably concerned with the risks that anonymity can present, from very real physical danger to the snarkiness and bullying that some apps devolve into as people use avatars to cloak their worst behavior. At its best, though, anonymity and crowdsourcing can allow people to share problems they might not otherwise feel open to discussing, especially when it comes to personal relationships, and realize they are not alone. With such rapid changes in both how we communicate, we all have more questions that ever. Crowdsourcing can be especially useful in situations where friends might tell you what they think you want to hear rather than offer objective advice.When we launched Jyst, we were well aware of the dangers of both anonymity and crowdsourcing and put safety measures in place. As the community grows every day though, what has been most gratifying to see is the empathy and supportive nature of the conversations bubbling up. Is this because Jyst is a safe zone created by women for women to share relationship dilemmas? Are women, given the right environment, inherently more supportive of each other? It’s hard to tell, in part because there are still so few apps that grew out of uniquely female behavior. Admittedly, there are generalizations inherent to this argument, but if Jyst is an example, the answer appears to be yes. There has been an overwhelming display of empathy and kindness, a lack of judginess and absence of put-downs, proving that anonymity does not have to lead to animus; that personal questions do not have to lead to put-downs.The Jyst: The power of technology to unite and empower, to prove that no matter how far apart, we do not have to feel alone, is the best of both anonymity and crowdsourcing. We look forward to seeing more of it.

Source: The Upside of App Anonymity

The Jyst of It: Women, dating and apps

Jyst cover photo (1)

Recently, my co-founder of Jyst, Nadina Guglielmetti, and I went to a panel discussion on funding start-ups at WeWork.

In a room of well over 75 people, we were among the very, very few women – and we were certainly the only people over 30. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against smart young guys making apps. But the best apps are grounded in behavior and often in personal experience. And while men and women have many things in common, our interactions are often different.

Women ask women for honest romantic advice – and we love giving advice.  Example: Last summer, I was dating a guy who sent me the most confusing emails. I constantly sent them to Nadina (who is married) for interpretation. At the same time, my college-age daughter had friends sending her a gazillion texts asking, “What did he mean? What should I do?” No matter what age, it’s complicated.

That’s how Jyst came about.  It’s not about snark, it’s not about competition, it’s not about put-downs. It’s rooted in the deeply female behavior of sharing, asking for advice, sometimes admitting confusion and supporting each other.

Could a man have come up with Jyst? We doubt it. Do we hope men check it out? Absolutely.
In the meantime, I  strongly believe that more women – of every age – should start creating apps that speak directly to their own experiences and take a larger place in the tech world.