21st Century Female Impostors
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Politics and Activism

21st Century Female Impostors

How come you can look so fantastic on paper while feeling like a total fraud on the inside?

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21st Century Female Impostors
KevinMD

At a time when women are consistently breaking through boundaries academically, socially, and professionally, why do so many of us feel like we are not (and never will be) good enough to get to the same level as them? The answer is Impostor Syndrome.

Impostor Syndrome is a term referring to high-achieving individuals who have an inability to internalize their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud." While this can happen to both men and women, it is much more prominent in women.

You may think this is crazy and that you have way too much self-esteem for this to happen to you, but it probably already has. Have you ever gotten a high grade when you didn't think you studied enough? What about a raise that you felt was unwarranted? Or a compliment from a professor or superior on your hard work that you felt was undeserved? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, or similar ones, you have experienced a form of Impostor Syndrome.

Originally Impostor Syndrome was thought to come from an ingrained personality trait, but more recent research points to it stemming from a reaction to certain situations. The reactionary thought can help to explain why many women in the 21st century experience this. An inadvertent way people take their cue on how to react to situations is from the media. So let's look at the media's treatment of Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump as an example of how the media covers women.

Hillary, while a highly educated and incredibly successful lawyer, politician, public servant, author, and mother, is consistently torn apart for trivial matters; hair, dress, facial expressions, smile, personality. Yes, she has made mistakes and bad decisions in her career. And while she stood an 11-hour long hearing for one of those mistakes, Donald Trump has evaded court and hearing literally thousands of times for everything from fraud to the rape of a child. Yes, he is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl at a party. The media brushes all of these accusations off in a manner that suggests that are to be expected, which implies compliance with them. The point is that the woman is held to a much higher and completely different standard than the male.

If you are a woman experiencing this blatant double standard, this could seep into your subconscious that no matter how smart, educated, and qualified you are, you will never be good enough. While this may come off as a big case of "harmless" low self-esteem, it can be much more serious than that.

Impostor Syndrome can keep women from applying to jobs or promotions due to a lack of confidence in themselves. If women do not believe they can check-off every qualification in a job description, they won't apply for the position. This one single act can end up costing them large professional and economical hardships.

Don't fret! You can get beyond this! You should apply for every position and opportunity that appeals to you. Let the company decide if you are qualified. But they can't do that without you first giving them the chance to. When good fortune comes along, smile and say thank you. Always remember the struggles, sleepless nights, and sacrifices you put in that brought you to where you are today.

The point is that never stop trying and appreciate that you have gotten to where you are for much more than just your pretty face. And if you never completely shake off Impostor Syndrome, know that you're in good company. Even Hermione Granger doesn't believe she is good enough!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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