Today I was reading an article in Elle Magazine at the YMCA while I was sweating on the stairmaster. I’m not sure how old this article was but I’m pretty sure that it was recent since there was a picture of Sarah Jessica Parker post Sex in the City movie 2 on the front. The article was written by a woman who was commenting on the fact that only one of her interviewees had the guts to admit that they were ambitious about their success. She gave examples of how Condaleezaa Rice wouldn’t admit to her own intelligence and how Hilary Clinton was unsure about accepting her position with President Obama as Secretary of State. While I truly believe that these women had to be ambitious in some sort of way to accomplish what they have only Catherine Zeta Jones admitted that she had in fact was ambitious in her desire for an Oscar of her own to put next to her husband’s on the mantel. The author explained that women are conditioned since childhood to be more “modest” and less ambitious. That we let the list of our inadequecies stop us from going after what we want unlike our male counterparts. She went on to say that this was not as common in black communities or less affluent communities because they are not bred with the idea that being a powerful woman is not equated with femininty like those of white middle class America.
This article made me realize how much I must be out of the loop on what it means to be a woman and have ambition. I have always been ambitious and cannot remember one time my parents made me feel as though I could not accomplish something I wanted to just because I am a female. My father who was raised in India where many women’s voices aren’t heard has always been an inpsiration academically to me. He would spend time talking about religion and science with me on the rides home from gymnastics practices. I can clearly remember my mother telling me repeadately, “Dija, the skies the limit!” while I struggled at the end of high school with direction. Sometimes I feel that my ambition might be out of control compared to others around. I am grateful that the women I can call friends have accomplished alot in their lives and thus inspired me to live a focused life. Traveling, post graduate degrees, becoming wives and mothers, excelling at their careers just to name a few of the things I admire about my circle of friends. I am blessed that I am surrounded by such strong women and encouraging family. I will admit that marraige has been at times a struggle in relation to my identity as a woman. I used to think that a wife walks a little behind her husband through life and that created a lot of…lets say communication difficulties in the first years of marriage. I now realize that a marraige in context of being a godly wife is so much more. You walk side by side, hand in hand. And sometimes he must carry her and other times the wife will carry her husband…and God carries them both.
I felt compelled to write this as a thank you note to my parents for raising me to believe I could do anything God wants me to in life regardless of my gender. And I hope that other young ladies will know that for themselves as well.