BIRMINGHAM, Mich. - Passionate, instead of emotional. Articulate, instead than chatty. Leader, rather bossy. Strong, not aggressive.
These word duos are printed on t-shirts by a clothing line called Northern Fashion. Jenna Hage-Hassan was inspired to start the line of shirts after the numerous experiences of subtle sexism piled up.
"I would be called rough around the edges or too brash or too aggressive," Hage-Hassan said. "Whereas a male colleague that would approach the same conversation or advocate for themselves in the exact same way would get a pat on the back or would definitely get more positive results from the conversation. So that's the inspiration behind the saying on this T-shirt."
That's not just anecdotal evidence. It's a trend that's been documented everywhere.
"I think it was (a survey) by Forbes where they had asked almost every high-level female executive in the country, a word she hated to be called at work and what she wished people would use instead," Hassan said.
Ironically, a man is credited with designing the shirts. Ludwin Cruz got the idea from his own experience as a dad to a young girl.
"I'm actually a father. I have a little girl and in the workplace throughout my career, I got to experience the situations of my peers and experiencing that I see the hard road that my daughter has in her future. I told her I really want to be a part of this to help to make sure their successful," said Cruz.
The shirts carry a symbolic weight of the struggle women have pushed back on over the years. But they're also one half of a partnership with a clothing brand out of Birmingham. Together, Dolce MODA and Northern Fashion will be raising money for a nonprofit called Project Beautiful - Inside and Out.
They help raise money for four domestic violence shelters in the region.
"We bring brunch in for the women and their families, we bring gift bags with gift cards and chocolate and perfume and makeup and jewelry and then we also collect needs list items for the shelters," said Doris Gilles of Project Beautiful. "So that's feminine hygiene products, diapers, African-American hair care, bras, panties, etc. We also give each shelter $1,500 for a project of their choice."
This weekend is showtime for the three groups. On Sunday, it's International Women's Day and the store, line and nonprofit will host a Sip and Shop event from 1 to 4 p.m.