7.26.2017

Masculin et Féminin.

Architecture, Being A Woman & Blackness.

With very little sleep under my belt as I'd just landed from Copenhagen, last week Friday I went to a meeting I'd been bubbling with excitement over. Not only because of the content and topic of the meeting, but rather because I was about to meet with an Architect. But not just any architect, a black woman Architect. If you know anything about the Architecture world in the United Kingdom you'll know that the profession is far from diverse, with men making up to 94% of the profession here. So meeting another woman in the industry who looks like me, who will have had a similar past, upbringing, social and cultural values like me was so pleasant. I graduated with a Masters in Architecture this month and I was the sole black female to graduate on the MArch course of 2017. As much as people like to say, 'don't put labels on yourself', I carry the label of being a black woman in a profession that is very much white male with utmost pride.
Whilst discussing my previous architectural roles, plans for the future and where I'd like to do my Part III, we got onto the topic of my blog and Danna asked why I hadn't included it anywhere in any of my applications, and I explained to her my fears about coming across as too 'feminine' or too much of 'a woman' in such a male profession. I'm very femme in real life I guess, but I am also hyper aware of being labelled an 'emotional or angry black woman' in spaces that haven't been made for me, and stifling my 'real self' is something I've had to train myself to do since leaving sixth form around seven years ago. I learnt to deal with public crit's with grace and no tears (even whilst being absolutely roasted by the entire architecture department), I learned to stand my ground peacefully whilst working with difficult alpha males, and I learned to carry myself with my head up high despite any external pressures.  

Danna also mentioned that I came across as a bit of a spider woman, juggling many plates with various faces on, but none quite matching up with the other and I had to agree, in the end I totally understood where she was coming from, what she meant and it was incredible to have someone who has paved the way in the industry for other black women tell me I'm doing all right! And not to be so secretive with the other parts of my life, such as this blog.

There is a strength in femininity and it's taken me a while to understand that sometimes I don't always have to be strong, emotionless and always switched on. I can be a black woman in the industry and still have personality, style, and take advantage of both the traditionally masculine and feminine industries I am a part of. We have to find a way to break the notion that femme or feminine = weak and emotional and it's something I have to remind myself of on a daily basis.

What I Wore..


COAT* - Boden | JEANS - Asos | TEE - Asos | SHOES - Primark | LIPSTICK - Colourpop

So what say you? If you're a self identifying woman in a traditionally male industry, how do you balance the two and stay true to yourself?


x


13 comments

  1. YES! I think labels really hinder us. I remember not realizing I was the only person of color in my postgrad graduating class and not realizing until my parents mentioned something. I think part of the process is that you should distinguish based on your specialisms rather than color, gender, ethnicity. Personally, from my experience, a woman working in a male-dominated world is really gratifying on a whole new level.

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  2. Fantastic post. <3 And I love that coat.

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  4. I love your blog in general, but I find your thoughts on this particularly interesting. I've found entering the workplace (often male-dominated workplace) pretty dicey at times as a woman - both empowering and frustrating to be carving out my own path/being "the woman" in this workplace. Yet being a woman of colour adds another dimension to it, that I can't pretend to know myself. But it's something I'd love to be more knowledgeable on.xx

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  5. Re feminism, we've allowed the word be misconstrued for weakness, subservience and all other "not strong" synonyms...time we take it back and redefine it. Women are such power houses! You're an amazing one and I like seeing you grow, learn and share with us here.

    P.S: Your entire outfit is fire!

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  6. Love this post Sade! And being a corporate lawyer in London, I can relate quite a lot. But one thing I'm trying to do more often is embracing my unique self and all the different parts that make me. Blackness, Femininity, Blogger etc.

    And o a separate note, I love this look!

    KacheeTee.com

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  7. Great post Sade! You're so right when you say we need to break the notion that femininity equals weak. Beautiful look, love the shoes.xx
    Coco Bella Blog

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  8. I absolutely love how expressive you are in your blog posts. Reminding yourself daily, as a woman, that there is more that you can be and do is important... I am so glad to be a woman and I won't change it for anything.

    Still in love with this shirt of yours!

    Oréoluwa’s blog

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  9. Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. Genesis 5:2
    If God made no distinction, why should we?

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  10. Great ensemble! Love the coat!

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  11. As a young woman, I appreciate articles like this because they truly help me understand what the world out there could be like. Thank you so much for sharing Sade!
    www.desireuba.wordpress.com

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  12. As a young woman, I appreciate articles like this because they truly help me understand what the world out there could be like. Thank you so much for sharing Sade!
    www.desireuba.wordpress.com

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Thankyou for commenting :) I read every single one!

XOXO Sade

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