Please allow me to preface this article with the fact that I am not in fact bitter about the outcome of the recent senate elections. I did lose my own election, but that in no way means that I think the elected members for senate in the fall will not do a good job. I think they will do excellent things for our student body.
We live on a majority female campus. Fifty-eight percent of our student body is made up of females. There are currently twelve members of senate and two of them are female. It does make sense that our senate is majority male based on societal norms and specifically the patterns of Christian colleges and universities. It also makes sense based on the role of women in our board and in most PCA churches. It matches the natural course of events concerning male leadership in most arenas.
These reasons make a male majority senate less alarming. What is alarming is the amount of women that actually ran for senate positions. Many of the races this year were uncontested. I am not blaming the upcoming senate members for this predicament (I’m not really blaming anyone for that matter, just relaying the situation at hand). There was simply a shortage of women running for senate positions this year. I often hear women on campus talking about misrepresentation in the form of senate decisions, chapel speakers, women on the board, and a dwindling number of female faculty. However, I rarely see women seeking change through establishing clubs, running for senate positions, or even writing in the bagpipe about these issues. Unfortunately we (myself included) perpetuate the cycle of misrepresentation which breeds more and more resentment of male leadership.
I think much of what it comes down to is a confidence issue. Facing rejection can be terrifying to men and women alike, but often women especially struggle with this fear. And it sucks, rejection and losing absolutely suck, but it is rarely as bad as one thinks it will be. Even in class discussions, I (and other females) so often make apologies for our answers or opinions. I so often find myself saying to professors, “This could be totally wrong, but . . .” or “This may be an ignorant question, but . . . .” Why are we so fearful of being told no or being told that we are wrong? Why do we make ourselves small so that when the “no” comes it is less hurtful or noticeable by others? These are answers that I would love to answers with my own ideas on female oppression and life in a male-dominated society but those are simply not sufficient. While those issues are huge contributors, there must be something deeper. I am not discounting the fear of rejection that exists in both males and females. Everyone is afraid of losing. It just seems like an entirely different animal when you consider the specific insecurities of females.
I could be wrong. Maybe females on many campuses just simply don’t want to be leaders or don’t have the time or don’t feel qualified or don’t feel like they would enjoy it. And I’m genuinely sorry if you thought that while reading this article. This is all very female of me to be apologizing for what I just wrote, but I mean it. But I want to encourage you all (male and female), losing is not as bad as it is made out to be. And being told no or being told that you’re wrong does not make you less of a human. In fact, that is what makes us human. Stop making apologies for what you think. Amy Poehler (the queen of humor herself) has this quote that says “It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to be sorry for.”
I originally asked if I could write this article anonymously, which sort of goes against everything I have been trying to say. But here I am, preaching to the choir and attempting to unlearn what I have been taught to be sorry for. And women, I encourage you to do the same. As we face rejection or hard loses, let it remind you of what is important, and what things you want changed.