One of my guy friends was talking about how hard it must be to be a woman. He was going on about pregnancy, rape culture, patriarchy – systems women are constantly fighting to change. I almost started to nod my head, and then I realized, oh my gosh, he doesn’t know!!! How has no one told him?
What he doesn’t know, and I’m guessing most men don’t, is that women actually chose to be girls. In fact, we auditioned. That’s right, back when we were just a compilation of chromosomes, we had try out for that extra X.
I would describe the audition process to that of Broadway meets American Idol meets American Ninja Warrior. I hear boys had their own process of selection, but it was extremely different. I remember my audition from 1993 like it was yesterday, so allow me to reflect on how I received the honor of being a woman:
The judges were cut throat, femme warriors. Somehow, my panel of judges happened to be the women that helped shape who I am today – or maybe that was on purpose: Glennon Melton, Erin Jones, and naturally, Hillary Clinton.
Hillary: Hello, and welcome to the XX Factor Auditions. I would like to start out with a fairly broad question: What brings you here today?
Me: First of all, hey hi hello I am your biggest fan. I hope you run for president one day. What brings me to this audition is the need for equity. The world, “life” I guess it’s called, is one that caters to men, or at least that’s what I have inferred. However, women are at the epicenter of every system – social, biological, and political – whether they are acknowledged or not. Because of the stakes, we need more women fighting for equity, and I want to be one of them.
Hillary: Compelling statement, but there is more to it. How will you adapt to a world that relies on women but doesn’t acknowledge it?
Me: I think the only adaptation needed is the mindset. I really don’t think being acknowledged is important in the grand scheme of things. I am more focused on the outcome, and what change we are driving. Getting credit isn’t what life is about – it’s about going out there and being a fearless badass – oh sorry am I allowed to swear?
Glennon: OF COURSE. We swear all the damn time. My question has two parts: First, what is the greatest adversity you think you will face? Second, when you get knocked down, what will make you get back up?
Me: Well I would like to think it will not only be the biggest adversity I face, but also one that I overcome. I think it’s the idea that mass movements are the only time I can make a difference. In reality, it is my day to day interactions that either affirm the standard narrative about women, or contest it. The way I present myself, the way I talk about myself and other women – that all adds up, and people notice. The adversity I face will be in owning that space and using it to empower women, rather than demean them. When I get knocked down, my emotional resilience will pick me back up. I get up not only because I have to, but also because I want to.
Erin: Emotional resilience seems like a privilege in a lot of ways. I see that your parents are both white, so you will be white as well. This means you will still have an immense amount of privilege. My question is, what will your pledge be to women of all races?
Me: I think what will be most important to remember throughout my life as a white woman is that the white savior complex is oxymoronic – there is no such thing as a white savior. In the words of Lilla Watson, “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come here because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” My pledge will be to come alongside other girls and women of all races in order to remove their barriers. They only need help removing the barriers because society has spent hundreds of years laying them down, and that is a big task for one person. Once those barriers are removed, they are just as capable as anyone else. I guess what my mission will be is to come alongside these women, lead from ground level, and use my privilege as a resource for equity.
Erin: Thank you for your time. We will contact you when a decision is made.
I wish I knew what their metrics were for deciding who would get that X chromosome, but a part of me thinks there are no quantifiable metrics – and the selection process was largely based intuition and a boatload of faith.
Looking back on that audition process, it was rigorous and amazing. My audition didn’t stop there. In fact, it still hasn’t. I find myself getting asked similar questions by my peers, mentors, and colleagues every day. My answers are not always steadfast nor compelling. What I can say is that they are constantly evolving as I seek to be a better woman than I was the day before.
But even our strongest warrior women find the weight too heavy to bear sometimes. So we lean on each other for love, support, and a boatload of faith.
It’s not just the performance of a lifetime we put on, it’s the performance FOR a lifetime. No dress rehearsal, no editing, just raw footage of us playing the role we dreamed to attain: bad ass warrior women.