J1 Staff Editorial: Rankings Foster Resentment

Women Celebrate Strengths, Rise Above the Numbers Game

WEBj1blockBJ1 Staff Editorial

Everybody wants success. But what exactly qualifies one person to be more successful than another? Is this brand of success or power qualitative or quantitative? Success is an objective concept that a group of people determine based off of their own beliefs. When a list of the most powerful women is made, which concept of success is being used to rank them?

Starting from their earliest years, young girls learn to create and respect friendship. We know that gossiping about other girls and bringing them down is frowned upon, but this negative connotation isn’t necessarily reinforced as we grow older.

The media takes competition to a whole new level–from comparing female celebrities’ outfits to prioritizing certain traits that not all girls have. Competition is an essential part of nature, but it’s existence in all parts of life is unnecessary.

It’s no secret that women are competitive, especially here at an all-girls school where every tradition is a race to be the best. We complete in almost everything–fundraising, class rank, GPA, athletics, and even who gets their chicken tenders first.

But our student body sees the most success when we all work together–take a look at our sports teams, clubs, and even our cheer sections at a state championship. The truth is that we function best when we are all working to be successful, rather than just celebrating the success of one individual.

Imagine that an anonymous list was released, containing the top 10 most powerful Marian girls. Obviously, it would create controversy and resentment. It may feel great to be number one, but how would it feel to be number 9?  Or number 11?

When we abbreviate people’s success, they don’t receive full credit. We choose one standard and pile their achievements on top of one another. Getting to the top may be hard, but sometimes being on the bottom is harder.

There are plenty of prominent, influential women–especially in Hollywood. [See Hollywood Reporter’s 2015 Women in Entertainment Power 100.] However, everyone impacts the world in their own way, no matter the size of their influence. How does only acknowledging the achievements of 100 women help the other 3.5 billion? The ranking of women is not always inspiring; it promotes unhealthy competition and jealousy. 

Rather than sponsoring this kind of cutthroat conflict between a few elite, should we be promoting encouragement? While some thrive when compared, others fall behind because they know they won’t be recognized. This kind of ranking discredits those who weren’t successful enough to make it on.

Rather than spectating this kind of unhealthy competition, we should be encouraging and celebrating the achievements of women as a whole. Every person is capable of making a difference, but not every person has the platform to make a huge difference.

So while Angelina Jolie can donate millions of dollars to organizations that help the less fortunate, a grade school teacher may provide opportunities to her students that they can’t get otherwise.

We women should look around us, at those who make the differences that actually affect us–and feel empowered by their achievement and success. A list like this should create unity and celebration rather than competition and conflict.
[Please leave a comment and tell us what you think.]

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