Running for Office as a Girl: Bimbo or Overacheiver?
Last week, I ran for the equivalent of student body president at my school, and realized that it takes guts to run for office. Especially if you’re a teenage girl in high school.
You don’t have to have seen Election to know what often happens when girls run for class president. They’re generally placed into one of two categories: the bimbo who gets “she’s hot” votes, and the over-achieving Hillary Clinton wanna-be, who often comes to represent every tattle-tale, teacher’s pet, or book worm who’s ever annoyed anyone. I’ll let you guess which category I probably fall into.
I ran for a smaller, more organization-based student government position last year and won. This year, I decided to try something a little harder.
Just signing up to run for student body president is difficult. It’s like standing up in a big room full of people who love to judge other people, and saying, “I think I’m really smart and great and funny.” It’s half okay for a boy to do this, but it’s almost never okay for a girl.
After I decided to run, I found out I would be running against a very nice, well-liked boy in the grade below me. I didn’t know him well, but I knew that he had never participated in student government. I was worried. I would say that I’m a much louder, outspoken individual than he is, and people at my school probably have stronger feelings about me than they do him.
I also know what happens when the girl who raises her hand in every class runs for President. People often see it as an opportunity to try and teach her that she’s not as great as she thinks.
I could have pulled out of the race without telling anyone. After I saw my opponent’s name on the sign-up sheet, I could have turned around and walked away. No one would have known that I’d planned on running. But the truth is, I thought I could actually do a lot of good as president if I were elected, so something in me told me that I had to take the chance. For myself, and for the people who might vote for me.
On the day of the election, I couldn’t help but wonder if the people I passed in the hallway had voted for me. A few people told me they had voted for me, statements that felt like little affirmations of my human worth, but many people didn’t say anything to me at all about the election. At first it felt terrible wondering what the result would be, but then I remembered who I was before I ran for president, and I convinced myself that if anything, I’d be the same person when this whole thing was all over.
The truth is, I think I’m better person for having run. Running for office really made me believe in myself. The fact that every vote against me didn’t feel like a tiny little dagger piercing my heart makes me feel confident that I can take on anything and handle whatever result comes of it. I won’t tell you whether or not I won, because, as I found out, it really doesn’t matter.