Shine Theory was coined by Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow, the hosts of one of my favorite podcasts, Call Your Girlfriend. The idea is that women can fight back against the trap of negatively comparing ourselves to other women by actively surrounding ourselves with awesome, impressive ladies. This is a source of strength, not point of weakness that invites negative comparisons.
The comparison trap is familiar to anyone who has ever felt that pang in their stomach when they see a peer succeed. Why aren’t I doing better? Why am I not enough? Or we project negativity onto that person and hope for their failure or humiliation. Women and other marginalized folks face the added layer of tokenization, the idea that there can be only one person from our group to succeed. So we are encouraged to see each other as competition, rather than comrades.
We fight back by making an active effort to take joy and pride in each other’s accomplishments, by lifting each other up. “I don’t shine if you don’t shine,” as Amina says. The idea of Shine Theory really resonates with me, and is part of my inspiration for showcasing some of the rad women in my life on this blog.
So I want to shout out a woman that I think really embodies this idea, Ann Rafalko Sublett. I met her through The Pallas Network, on online community for women she started that another friend invited me to. Most of the women are Gen Xers in a different phase of life than me. But this group has been immensely supportive to me as I’ve been exploring new career options, and when I just need to let off some steam (FTN Fridays, aka Fuck That Noise Fridays, are uniquely satisfying). I’ve gotten job referrals, beauty product intel, a few customers for my embroidered Christmas ornaments, and tons of encouragement. Thank you Ann! This embroidery art is for you.
The main challenge with text is that the pattern warps when it is stretched over the hoop, so I either re-trace parts of it after it’s on the hoop, or manually adjust as I go to keep the lettering aligned. But that’s OK because I’m mildly OCD.