Think of all of them
Fifty years ago trying to get out of separate rooms, thirty years ago trying to not serve breakfast or be groped by their bosses, fifteen years ago trying to make clear that they could run a department as well as that guy over there.
All the women, white or black or brown, who woke up like this, who came before me in this town.
Think of them. Heads up, eyes on the target.
Toward that thick layer of glass that is the ceiling.
Running, full speed, and crashing.
Crashing into that ceiling and falling back.
Crashing into it and falling back.
Into it and falling back.
Woman after woman.
Each one running and each one crashing.
And everyone falling.
How many women had to hit that glass before the first crack appeared?
How many cuts did they get, how many bruises? How hard did they have to hit the ceiling? How many women had to hit that glass to ripple it, to send out a thousand hairline fractures?
How many women had to hit that glass before the pressure of their effort caused it to evolve from a thick pane of glass into just a thin sheet of splintered ice?
So that when it was my turn to run, it didn’t even look like a ceiling anymore.
I mean, the wind was already whistling through— I could always feel it on my face. And there were all these holes giving me a perfect view to the other side. I didn’t even notice the gravity, I think it had already worn itself away.
So I didn’t have to fight as hard. I had time to study the cracks. I had time to decide where the air felt the rarest, where the wind was the coolest, where the view was the most soaring. I picked my spot in the glass and I called it my target.
And I ran.
And when I finally hit that ceiling, it just exploded into dust.
My sisters who went before me had already handled it. No cuts. No bruises. No bleeding.
Making it through the glass ceiling to the other side was simply a matter of running on a path created by every other woman’s footprints. I just hit at exactly the right time in exactly the right spot.
As Shonda says in her book YEAR OF YES, a lot of women try to deflect compliments because most of us were raised to be afraid of loving ourselves too much of being thought vain. But this, Rhimes says, is an exception. When people compliment her on being a ceiling breaker she says it's the absolute truth that it was a group effort.
And so it was
Pictured here are just a few of the black women who directed and produced television and movies and chipped away at that glass ceiling.
More Later On Shonda's "Year Of Yes"