The other day a good friend of mine sent me a text message. It was a picture of a post on Instagram. It was a female, holding a sign that said “You can have ambition, but not too much.” Followed by a caption claiming that women should feel lucky that we can even go to school, and even get paid for working, because it’s more than we should expect anyway. She finished the caption stating, “Warning: women can have ambition, but not too much.”
…I’m sorry, what?
Needless to say I was absolutely outraged by this. How is it that a young female in 2014 can still feel like she isn’t up to par with a male? What type of environment has she been seeing to think that women still aren’t equal?
After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I was saddened by the fact that this female probably didn’t grow up the way that I did. Growing up, the most important men in my life; my Dad and Grandpas set such a great model for me. They showed me through example of how they treat my Mom and Grandmothers, how I should expect to be treated from men throughout life – with respect, and as an equal. There was never any talk about me not being able to do something because of my gender. They always encouraged that with hard work nothing was beyond my grasp. For that, I am forever grateful. And for having such strong women in my life, my Mom especially, who have shown me that women can do everything a man can, and then some. It takes things like that Instagram post for me to remember how insanely blessed I am to have my Dad in my life; and to have had my Grandpas in my life, though one has only been through memories and stories; as well as such influential women like my Mom. Because of how I grew up, the idea of a woman having too much ambition and settling for less than exceptional, is just absolutely ludicrous to me.
But regardless of how a person has grown up, it is 2014, the idea that all people are equal should be well etched in our minds by now. And as a woman, it is a responsibility to make sure that every human adheres to that. So this female’s Instagram post… so not okay. And as a woman, I feel it’s my job to make sure other people see the problem. She is sending out a signal that it is okay for people to categorize her as just a girl. And when you allow people to categorize you, you limit yourself, your opportunities, and devalue your self worth.
If every female walked around with the mindset of, “Well we can go to school, right? We can get paid for a job, right?” before you know it the mindset could become, “Well it was just a hit… He just pushed me once… He didn’t listen when I said no… It’s okay, right? Because I’m just a girl, right?”
Am I being dramatic here? Some readers may think I am, however I do not think so. Every thought any person has creates a domino effect. If enough people are having the same thought, that thought becomes fact.
Recently, the Always brand created a commercial, “Like A Girl.” It is one of the most powerful commercials/campaigns I’ve seen. It’s a casting call and the director asks each person to do what comes to mind when they hear certain tasks. The tasks include, running like a girl, fighting like a girl, throwing like a girl, etc., the responses are mind-blowing. The older girls and boys will run with flapping arms, fight by slapping the air, and put no effort into a throw. The younger girls, will run like they’re running for a cause, fight like their life depended on it, and throw like they’re in the World Series. What does this prove? That the older a child gets, and the more situations they encounter, the less power they feel a woman has, or has the right to show. Instead of witnessing a power struggle, we should be witnessing an empowerment movement. To achieve such a movement, every voice, every thought, every person counts. So what seemed like a meaningless little post on Instagram, actually becomes a reason for a step backward in a movement.
There is no such thing as too much ambition, and no woman should ever allow her sparkle to dull because of a man, or a male dominant environment. Ladies, take control, take command, and live your life in a way that makes the phrase, “like a girl,” mean something truly powerful.
Please check out the video, “Always #LikeAGirl” below:
For more ways to create a balance and empower women of the world check out Take The Lead Women, on Facebook, twitter, and their website: http://www.taketheleadwomen.com