Saturday, April 24, 2010

A New Mystique?

Alright everyone! Here's the sample column I submitted with my application.  Let me know what you think of it!  And wish me luck!!
Last semester, my RA gave everyone on my hall a survey to fill out and post next to our doors. It had the standard get-to-know you type questions, but it also asked, “What are your hopes for the future?” I gave this a lot of thought and answered, “To become a Clinical Psychologist, run my own business, and publish my writing.”
Over the next few weeks, I noticed that most other girls wrote variations of “I hope to marry a hot guy and have kids.” I was amazed that the majority of the 60 girls on my hall seemed to have no hopes for the future besides marriage and children. I’m not saying that these are unworthy aspirations for a young woman – but they are certainly not ambitions.
This trend makes me a little dubious. Are many young women still coming to college just to find a husband? This is the 21st century! We are way past the tight-laced Victorian era, the fight for women’s suffrage, the “Holly Homemakers” of the 50’s, the era of the Feminine Mystique! Yet many young women still don’t have well-defined ambitions for the future.
Maybe I’m wrong that their only wish is to get married and have kids, but this trend at least brings to light a surprising lack of goals for the future among young college girls. After all those years of fighting for women’s rights as equals in the workplace and in the political arena, a lot of women still show ambivalence at best toward the idea of committing to a career. And this commitment plays a vital role in forming our identities as individuals moving in the larger world.
Feminism is becoming a dirty word again, but ladies, we still have a long way to go. When I attended Susan Faludi’s talk on feminism earlier this semester, she explained that women today still earn 15% less than men doing the same work, and they still work the same top 10 jobs as 30 years ago, most of which are not full-commitment careers.
I want to see more young women aspiring to be doctors, lawyers, scientists, businesswomen. I want to see more women breaking into male-dominated fields. I want to see more women pushing themselves to stretch their boundaries and test their intelligence through challenging careers. Yes, more and more women are achieving this, but many people today ignore the fact that we still have more progress to make.
We live in a time in which having a family and investing ourselves into challenging careers don’t have to be mutually exclusive. So let’s break free of the stereotypes and let ourselves become immersed in an exciting and fulfilling career, too.
Let’s cast aside the fear of failure, ignore the people who say we can’t, and take hold of our futures, push our boundaries, expand our minds, and enter that crazy, scary, exciting world of work with our heads held high – because we are women, and nothing can stop us, not even ourselves.

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