On Being an Ambitious Woman
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Rumor has it that people around me have been talking about the fact that I am, (from their perspective) ambitious- looking. I participated in plenty of competitions and achievements a lot, and I cannot live more than 2 months without actively participating in an event or competition. As an ignorant person, I do not want to really stress over the fact that they are calling me ambitious or that they are talking about me behind my back, because, hey, it is obviously beneficial for me. It is none of your business and I am very happy to be ambitious! But I am pretty concerned with that fact that their concerns on my ambition are heavily affected by my gender. They think that a girl should not be ambitious, unlike guys who were meant to dream big and achieve everything they want. And that, ladies and gentlemen, bothers me to the bone.
I realize this when I heard my friends and relatives praising my guy friends who are very active in organizations, competitions and whatnot, and in a matter of minutes, they criticize my intensity on joining competitions, saying that it scares the guys away and it is not good for my personal life. Such criticisms are usually followed by ‘advice’ that women should not be dominating. Women should appear soft and delicate (which sounds like ‘WEAK’ to me) and that we should not be more ambitious than men. On top of that, they think that I should change who I am for the sake of settling down.
Whoa, okay. Firstly, I am still eighteen and settling down seems so far away. I might want to get married (or not), and that is my business which will be taking care of, and even if I do, it would happen when I am ready and I think it will take around 9-11 years from now for me to be ‘ready.’ Do not stress over it now when I am still eighteen. All I should think about is college, academic growth, my personal fulfillment, my happiness and reaching my dreams. Secondly, I admit that some guys admitted to me that my ambitions and my achievements intimidated them, but it is not a huge problem to me because, then, if they are scared of who I really am, then they are obviously not for me and we are not meant to be. I do not want to be trapped in a relationship or a marriage where my partner would suppress my talent and my potential instead of supporting me to develop all those that I got. Those guys are just not for me and it is okay. Oh, and the fact that I am single does not mean that I am not happy. I am happy of the current freedom that is in my hand and it is just that I do not want to settle for the less.
Thirdly, WHOA. Why is it okay for guys to be ambitious but not for us girls? What is wrong with you people? I understand that some of us are affected by the patriarchal society we grow up in, but, really? I think that way of thinking is shallow and misleading, and it should not exist in 2013. This is not 1920s anymore. There is no way that your genitals should be a matter of measure on whether you are entitled to have huge ambitions or not, there should never be such rule in society. It is normal for us humans, and us women, to have ambitions and dreams, and to have the will to pursue them, and if guys are allowed to dream to walk on space, girls should be allowed to do the same thing, too. If it is okay for guys to go for any presidential election and be called ‘successful’ and ‘intelligent’ for it, there is no way for us girls to be called ‘selfish’ or ‘aggressive’ for doing so. And from my personal experience as a former president of an academic club on high school, women can lead as well as men do. We can appear strong too, we are not indecisive and weak as depicted on novels and we are not afraid to take bold move for the betterment of the group we are leading.
From my personal analysis, those kinds of stereotypes have been holding many women back from their goals. Before applying for anything, we all think too much about the partner that we don’t have yet, the children that are not there yet and the marriage that we are not yet in. We are all taught since very little to aim low. We should not be pilots or ambassadors because, then, no one would take care of the children when we are away. We should not be doctors because we might need to leave home at 2 am for an emergency surgery and then no one would be there to pamper the kids in case they are awake at night. Even worse, from what I saw happening on my friends, many girls were reluctant to develop their potential or to take chances to compete or to shine on because they are afraid of outshining their boyfriend. That.is.plain.ridiculous.
I think those kinds of ideas and thoughts are the reason why very few women are there on top of the company’s executive board or leaders: because we should take into account stereotypical things in advance for consideration and we are still living in a society that gives double burden to women. Equality might be a thing nowadays where women are ‘allowed’ to pursue their dreams, but it does not mean that the grand old adversities do not remain. Women are still entitled to housework, to take care of the children, to cook and whatnot, and what kind of superhuman would be able to complete such abundance of task when they only have two hands to work on them and 24 hours in a day?
See the pattern? In the end, women are forced to choose between: a. their career success or b. their personal fulfillment; family, relationship and marriage. This stereotype remains even within the soul of the most modernized and pro-equality person, because it grows around us and some people inherit it to their children through small gestures and statements they made. For instance, girls should help mom with the dishes while boys are allowed to play out, girls are allowed to ask for boys’ help even for little things that are not necessary to be helped, boys are smart like daddy but girls are pretty like mommy- those things remain in the mind of our children and they will bring it to high school, college, office, and they will most likely inherit that to their future children. we are obviously in a satanic cycle that needs to be cut, and I am still trying to figure out how.
If I may share some words, for every girl out there, and boys too- because they will most likely live their remaining years with a girl and be a father too, someday: it is totally okay for women to be ambitious and don’t let those voices to hold you back from what you want. You have all the rights on earth to pursue your dreams without having to put it in the attic just because you want to make a room for guys to be in their life. The right man and friends will support you for who you are and who you want to be. Stay strong, be smart, be ambitious.