War. Poverty. Drugs. Terrorism. Violence?
None of the above.
This contestant’s answer was “a lack of self-confidence.” I’m sure she put it in many more words and much more eloquently, but that was the gist of it. I immediately envisioned Tina Fey’s monologue to the “jailed” female students in the gym at the end of the movie “Mean Girls.”
While we may think girls and young women in no way lack confidence given the self-obsessed world of social media that we live in, I think the opposite is the case. We’re breeding a generation of females that base their self-worth on how many likes they get on an Instagram photo of themselves – one they took ten times before posting the “best” one. We are, in general, severely lacking in the confidence realm.
You might think I’m crazy for saying this contestant’s answer was a hands-down “Best Of,” but think about it.
There are regular news headlines about young girls bullying one another on social media, sometimes resulting in the most horrific events one can imagine. Even in colloquial discussions in the office, someone can say “oh I have three daughters at home,” with an exasperated look to indicate, “little girls are the devil reincarnate.”
I’m no psychologist (paging my sister-in-law for some insight here in the comments section, maybe), but to me, a lot of greater issues with girls and women stems from the fact that we lack self-confidence for a slew of reasons (fashion ads with thigh gaps, maybe) which then manifests itself into nasty competitiveness and back-stabbing. We act out in ways that aren’t true to ourselves and make being female a competitive feat. You know that whole “I’ll blow out your candle to make mine brighter…” No? There is also the fact that some people are just plain old competitive and mean…that sucks for them, but… #rambling
One of our biggest fundamental challenges as women from pigtails to stilettos, is that we often lack confidence and can overcompensate in negative ways. I exclude myself from this in no way. I did ballet and pageants…I am a poster child for lacking self-confidence, and I’ve been plenty nasty to my fellow girls.
I even have male friends who have said that they hate working with women because many of them try to be a bitch because they translate that to being “male-like aggressive.” (Don’t get me started on being assertive and being perceived wrongfully as a bitch. That’s an entirely different blog post.) Women, according to these friends, are hard to work with because they have something to prove.
Where does this stem from ladies? By the way, I’m not concurring with my male friends in the slightest – rather using this as an illustration.
The beauty of being a woman – being a human being – is that we come in all different shapes, styles, colors, etc. and we are all constantly evolving. We are all different and have a different way of doing what we do.
Having it All
I’m tired of the questions: “Can women have it all?” While I balance a lot of things in my life, “all” means different things to different people. Someone might laugh at my measly concept of “all” while others may think I’m insanely overextended.
However, what we can start doing to (wishful thinking?) eradicate this question from all future media interviews with female entrepreneurs and heads of state, is to enable each other to “have it all.”
Women educating and empowering other women is the key.
The empowerment of my fellow ladies is actually why I chose to stay involved with the Miss Connecticut Organization after I aged-out of the competition. If I could, in some small way, make an impact on just one young woman by being a positive influence in her life – to show her that doing well personally and professionally, does not mean you have to beat others down (a perceived epidemic in the competitive world of pageants) to build yourself up – and to show her that absolutely everyone lacks some amount of self-confidence / we all have our own battles, so let’s not make it harder for one another – then I can say I truly accomplished something good.
Save your “man hating” nonsense – this is far from that. What I’m trying to get across is that we, as women, will be our own worst enemy, if we continue to allow things to kill our self-confidence and self-worth. It’s what makes monsters of us.
Now put your cell phone down and stop trying to take the perfect selfie. You look great.