What's the Word?

Change the conversation—with one three-letter word

And. It's a simple slip of a sound, one we learn early on in grade school as a grammatical connector: "I want this and that and that..." For us here at Veronica Beard, that single word has also come to define what makes a woman modern today.

Hear us out.

Not that long ago, before bras were burned and the shoulder-pad brigade climbed the proverbial ladder, a woman had to choose between motherhood or a career. To invest in both? Crazy talk. Nowadays, we can be a mother and a professional—not to mention a host of other things that speaks to the myriad dimensions of a woman’s life. We can be smart and charismatic. We can be kind and effective. We can be feminine and a fighter.

“Why do we try to shove women into one-dimensional categories? Women aren’t like that in real life,” says Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, the best-selling author who coined the phrase “living in the and” to describe the female special-ops soldiers in her book Ashley’s War. “They did CrossFit and sold Mary Kay. They wore body armor and baked bread. They didn’t fit anybody’s preconceived notions—and, by the way, most women don’t either.

“Women don’t live in one sentence; they don’t live in one attribute,” continues Tzemach Lemmon, a former journalist who also serves as CMO at robotics company Shield AI. “Our lives are incredibly complex and rich. We straddle worlds and cross domains every moment, minute by minute.”

So go ahead—own your differences and the seeming contradictions. Embrace the and.

Why do we try to shove women into one-dimensional categories? Women aren’t like that in real life”