Ambition Is Not A Dirty Word. Bitch Is.

Are you a competitive person when it comes to your career? Are you driven by ambition? Maybe you are embarrassed to admit it. Depending on your viewpoint, you might see a competitive or an ambitious streak as a good thing – something that drives you or pushes you on when the going gets tough. Perhaps you disagree and see ambition as more of a negative attribute? Something that makes people push themselves forward, over and above the consideration of others?

Historically, competition and ambition have been seen as masculine characteristics. Men have been type cast into the dominant, ambitious roles in film, TV and books. Often unapologetically so. In fact always unapologetically so, especially at work. How often do you hear a man apologise or down play his success? They own it.

How about a competitive woman though? A woman propelled by ambition? What does that phrase conjure up in your mind? For me, it conjures up the image of someone who is forthright, not very feminine or motherly, someone who knows what she wants and reluctantly I say this, but maybe a bit of a bitch. I almost hate myself for saying that out loud because it’s such a negative and untrue stereotype.

Bitchiness is a problem that I have experienced a lot at work. I would hazard a guess that there isn’t one woman reading this who hasn’t experienced or met a woman who has been bitchy to them. I would also hazard a guess that there isn’t a woman out there who hasn’t been a bit of a bitch themselves at times too. Put a group of women together and the air will commonly turn a slight shade of bitch. It’s like it’s hardwired into our DNA.

Recently I have been around a group of women, all of whom I liked and admired and I found the talk turn to another woman. A successful, ambitious woman – definitely someone who you might refer to as competitive but in a very unapologetic manner. She was making a lot of money and she wasn’t afraid or ashamed to say so. This group of women did not like that. It started off with a tentative comment from one with a slightly bitchy angle to test the waters. Once the rest of them got wind of a bit of bitching they all jumped right in. They genuinely seemed to enjoy ripping strips out of this particular woman. Did it make them feel better about themselves? I’m not sure.

What I do know is that this is not unusual behaviour and I’m ashamed to say that I’ve done it myself. You just get carried away with it don’t you? But why do we do that to one another? Is it because we inherently dislike said woman? Perhaps. Or is it, as I suspect, rooted in jealousy of another woman’s success.

If that woman had been a successful doctor helping the sick or an Olympian representing her country you wouldn’t hear quite so much bitching. An entrepreneur? A business woman? A CEO or director? Well that’s a different story.

Ambition

Why do women seem to inherently dislike other women that are deemed ambitious and making good money off the back of their success? It isn’t as though it precludes them from also being successful.

It really shouldn’t make us feel threatened or less of a success.

Women are fabulous. Against all odds that society, history and politics have thrown at us we have risen up to a place that is now often on an equal footing with our male counterparts. We work, we multi task, we make babies, we raise children and we can even run the world. And yet here we are, it’s 2016 and we are still ripping shreds out of each other if one of us individually is successful and is making money off the back of that success.

If you are reading this to the end it’s likely this ramble has struck a chord with you. Perhaps you will join me in thinking twice before bitching about ambitious women. If you feel threatened or jealous it would be far more productive to ask yourself what it is they have done to get to that place or why you feel like you do. That’s what I’m going to be doing anyway. If you want what they have then go out and get it. Don’t tear them down for having the balls to do it first. There is enough success for all of us after all.

If you are an ambitious, successful woman, I hope you will stop apologising for it. Own it and be proud of it. There is nothing wrong with standing up and saying “You know what, I work bloody hard at what I do, I’m shit hot at it and I’m not going to apologise for my success because I’ve earned it.”

I’ll start it right here.

Hi, I’m Fi. I’m going to rock the blogging world and create an online empire in the process. I work all hours of the night so I can make it big one day. I am motivated and inspired by other successful women in my field and I aim to motivate and inspire you too. I will hold out my hand to help you if you need it but I will never apologise for my success.

Don’t be ashamed of your success and celebrate with others in theirs. We need to support each other in business. Own it ladies. Do it and do it bloody well.

After all, ambition is not a dirty word. Bitch is.
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17 Comments

  1. September 17, 2016 / 9:12 pm

    Awesome post sweet. I know exactly what you are talking about and I think said ambitious woman is fucking awesome and an idol. I have a similar piece coming out. Good minds think alike xxx
    #triballove
    Mummy in a Tutu recently posted…Highlights of the Week: #24My Profile

  2. Julia
    September 18, 2016 / 5:42 am

    Thought provoking post that makes sense. Without someone’s ambition nothing ever changes & progress can’t be made. Ambition doesn’t need to be tinged with bitchiness though,as you say. Encouragement rather than envy of another’s success is the way…

  3. September 18, 2016 / 7:46 am

    I think the problem is that as women we’re conditioned to see other successful women ass a threat rather than an inspiration or role model. The sooner we realise that another person”s success isn’t our failure the sooner we can start celebrating everyone’s achievements including our own. Here’s my statement:
    “I’m Suzanne and I set up my blog because I love writing. One day I want to write scripts that create TV programmes that make people laugh and look forward to watching on a Friday night. Some of making that happen will be luck but most of it will be hard work. I will work hard to make it happen.”
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  4. September 18, 2016 / 8:57 am

    Interesting. I’ve never been one for gossip which I think goes hand in hand with the bitchy type so I’ve always tried to see the good in what someone is trying to achieve and certainly never been one of those that gets carried away with the bitchy comments. However, I know lots who are and they aren’t the types I enjoy being with … I think it’s very sad that women are so bitchy, gossipy and competitive … they need to focus more on themselves and not worry so much … I always consider it to be their own insecurities that make them bitchy … just like a bully too … they’ve got their own issues which make them unpleasant to others. Great thought-provoking post though and I adore your statement!
    justsayingmum.com recently posted…So What Will Those Teen Years Be Like?My Profile

    • September 18, 2016 / 8:08 pm

      I totally agree Helen. The need to put others down always seems to stem from a persons own insecurities. Luckily there are also lots of other supportive and lovely women out there too x
      A Mum Track Mind recently posted…My Darling Memory Round-Up Week 8My Profile

  5. September 18, 2016 / 9:59 am

    Love this, the women in my life are strong and ambitious but sisterly and kind too. I have met and been at the receiving end sadly of the bitchy stereotype (haven’t we all), people who try and tear others down be it in a passively aggressive way or directly but I cut those people out and never look back. We are the active protagonists in our lives and must fill it with those who support us and make us feel good. It’s crucial to remember the problem is not with you-it’s down to other people’s insecurities and fears. Have you read ‘Lean In’? Such a vital handbook to me. I’m ambitious but never at the expense of anyone else, I adore helping others, always have, always will. Collaboration is key too-bringing together brilliant people, women and men makes for greater success for all. Such a fab post, thank you x

  6. September 18, 2016 / 4:34 pm

    This is a wonderful post Fi – I’ve always been ambitious in my career but since becoming a mum I have noticed people’s attitudes to that changing. Now I am going back to work in London and I’ve already had the remarks “oooh lucky for some!” and I hate that bitchiness. Hearing that comment made me feel like I don’t deserve my success, and that is so unfair. Some women have an inability to just be happy for other people’s successes, and I often can’t make sense of it. Whatever it is, I concur wholeheartedly with this, women can be fabulous and I think if we can surround ourselves with positive people, great things can be achieved. I love your ambitious statement and I am going to try to take a leaf out of your book and stop apologising when things go my way! xx
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  7. September 18, 2016 / 7:09 pm

    A fantastic post Fi. I love your statement – never apologise for my success – completely agree. I’m with you all the way! Blogging empire here we come! xx
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  8. September 18, 2016 / 7:51 pm

    This is a great post. It’s really interesting to see how sometimes a group of women will gang up on another women – I never feel that comfortable with it if the person has never done anything to me personally. When it comes to ambition, we all have our own goals and our own ways of pursuing them, and we should never make another woman – or man, for that matter – feel bad because of the path they’ve chosen. Just because it’s not for us doesn’t mean it’s right for us to tear them down.
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  9. September 18, 2016 / 10:51 pm

    I am ambitious. Since having a baby and being on mat leave all I’ve wanted to be in ambitious. I’ve had this overwhelming sense to do the best with my blog work and home life. Being back at work, it’s hard and I really truly look up to any mum looking after a child and managing job. So ladies please so let ambition get in the way, pat yourself on the back for whatever you do x
    The Pramshed recently posted…Taking a Baby to a WeddingMy Profile

  10. September 19, 2016 / 7:34 am

    I think it’s great that you’re ambitious Fi. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of jealousy and thinking someone else’s success is your failure, but there’s no excuse for bitchiness.
    Single Mum Speaks recently posted…Single Mum Speaks: Award Winning BloggerMy Profile

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