Bend and Snap to Success

By Meredith McDevitt on January 29, 2017

Let’s face it: being a young woman in undergrad can be defeating a lot of the time. During our all-nighters in the library, we often ponder our futures as lawyers, doctors, future educators, and entrepreneurs.

As we write 20-page research papers on philosophical concepts and memorize chemical reactions, we receive less praise than the guy next to us doing the same exact work. Why do people seem so shocked when a young woman confidentially talks about her future as a law student or wants to be a trauma surgeon?

We’re supposed to want a future with a big ring, happy family, and cooking skills. I’ll stay away from a feminist rant, however, it’s vital to encourage young women in school equivalently to young men. One of the causes of a limited amount of female medical or law school students is because of discouraging peers, strangers, and even family members. Going home for break, we get asked about boyfriends, while guys get asked about taking over dad’s company and admiration towards success at a young age.

How do we break this thinking towards our futures? Think like Elle Woods.

Legally Blonde introduces Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods and shapes society’s ideas of the stereotypical girl college student through a remarkable story plot. The movie conquers the stereotypes of a “sorority girl” or typical female student, caring about nail polish and puppies, rather than studying for the LSAT and earning an internship through a top-notch law firm.

Additionally, the film addresses gender inequality throughout Elle Wood’s successes and failures with her uptight classmates and shallow-minded professor. Elle Woods demonstrates hard work, self-worth, and big dreaming, constructing an unstoppable role model for girls to look up to. Elle Woods’s humbleness, intelligence, and confidence generate every characteristic a woman and young girl should ensure every day. Last of all, she proves all women and girls can be successful in school and work, marry an encouraging spouse, and have an adorable puppy while allowing no one to stand in her way (not even a nail salon).

The next question becomes how do we ignore the discouragers, envious outsiders, and survive the sexist holiday cocktail questions? First things first, know your self-worth, like Elle Woods. Know you can do anything you put your mind to and work just as hard as the boys, maybe even harder. Conversely, girl’s self-esteem plummets while growing up because we’re told were lesser than boys, and encounter more negative activities and gestures than young boys.

So how do we tackle the negativity and build our self-worth back up? Well, “bend and snap” of course. Not really, however, the self-esteem bend and snap consists of bending the negativity and discouragement, following a snap of success and proof with actions to yourself and others of your dedication and hunger towards an enriching life of success and knowledge. Bend and snap your way to your own law firm, dental practice, or CEO chair.

Dreaming bigger doesn’t hurt anyone either. In order to break the glass ceiling, we have to see further than just the ceiling or sky, the bigger the dreams, the smaller the female stereotypes. Knowing your self-worth, wanting an empowering profession, and keeping your head up while others are putting it down, is the most important equation to memorize. Characterize yourself as a role model for young girls, be the Elle Woods you’ve always dreamt of conquering and existing. As always, never forget to bend and snap your way to success!

Meredith G. McDevitt Clemson University 2019 Women's Leadership, B.A. College of Architecture, Arts, and Humanities

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