Two years ago I remember telling my roommates about how I would be totally fine if I were to end up with professional success instead of personal success. I could tell by their facial expressions that they were shocked. Is it so wrong that I want to succeed on my own? I'm not saying that I don't want to get married, or that I don't want to have children, but I am willing to dedicate more time and effort into finding a fulfilling career rather than searching for a husband. Does this make me weird? Probably. It seems as though society has a problem with women who are ambitious.
According to Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg, "Professional ambition is expected of men but it's optional- or worse, sometimes even negative- for women. 'She is very ambitious' is not a compliment in our culture. Aggressive and hard-charging women violate unwritten rules about acceptable social conduct. Men are continually applauded for being ambitious and powerful and successful, but women who display these same characteristics often pay a social penalty."
Even though it is 2013, society still seems to judge women who want to prioritize their careers. Wanting to be a powerful, successful CEO and a woman is almost taboo since these women aren't seen as nurturing, nice, or as feminine as their counterparts who have chosen to take a more traditional route, such as getting married and staying home with kids (not that there is anything wrong with that).
When I was a freshman in college, my friends and I took a Myers-Briggs personality test. My classification was ENTJ (Extrovert, Intuition, Thinking, Judging) which was described as "the executive." As one of the rarest personality types, ENTJ is associated with CEOs such as Bill Gates. Naturally, I was rather excited about this news and proceeded to tell my male friend that I have the same personality classification as some of the greatest male CEOs. His response was "yeah, but you're a girl, so that makes you a bitch."
Talk about an unfair stereotype. I'm not sure what the appropriate solution is for this problem- or if there even is a solution- but I think society needs to acknowledge that gender roles should be expanded to allow women to want the same things as men without being automatically written off as a power-hungry bitch. After all, why did we fight so hard to be considered equal to men if we are going to limit ourselves professionally in order to be seen as wife material?
I am ambitious. I want to be successful. I want to build a career. I want to be a good role model for my sisters. And I am not going to let public opinion affect my goals. So let's all break the stereotype and make it positive. Let's be successful and sweet. Can I get an amen, ladies?
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