Breaking Through a man’s world (March 30, 2016)

Stereotypes have formed us and continue to do so for centuries now- whether they are racial, gender based or look-wise, they might be fundamentally different, however they result in producing the same outcome, specifically foster anxiety and insecurity. Being blind (not differentiating) on the other hand, proves to be an emerging pattern which is alarming in our so-called “globalising” world. The question is, we speak about accomplishing the Millennium Goals, we speak about equality, but does this really exist?

Existence in the intricate realm of politics and international relations has always been difficult for the female sex because of the fact it is and always has been a male-dominated sphere. In relation to this I really wanted to share with you all my ongoing personal endeavour/struggle games while I am studying International Relations at King’s College London. Since I was a minor I have spent countless hours listening to my mother’s work related conversations and have not once or twice played “lawyer” with my toys, I have always strived to become a successful woman with a career that would define me as a person dealing with urgent matters in the political/diplomacy sector. Gradually I started learning more languages, travelling around the world and listening to the stories of people whose voices haven’t been heard enough, I got involved in various associations and NGO’s in my home town, I attended MUN conferences and everything seemed to be going well until one day reality hit me, and it hit me hard.

While I was doing a good job in my eyes in building my way up the stairs of my future politics-related career, I was also interested in dressing up well, taking care of my looks and I have never before even for a second visualised what people I was “working” thought about me. I started to get mean comments, I was bullied while doing what made me happy. And I would never wish that to anyone, even my worst enemies. I felt like I could not compete at times, not because I could not do my job, but because it was frowned upon being “a pretty girl” and dealing with politics, and bare with me, it even had nothing to do with being pretty in general, however it had everything to do with being a girl. I was surrounded by ambitious, striving men that envisioned themselves as future presidents and ministers, which was incredibly good, since being ambitious to me has always been a quality that everyone should possess. These men would doubt me on a regular basis, the closest I could get to politics in their eyes was me becoming a first lady. They did not care that I knew five languages, that I have worked with various NGO’s around the world- all they cared about was that I was a girl unfit for the job simply because I was “the weaker sex”. I wonder whether Amal Clooney felt the same way once, what I do know for sure is that this made me work even harder, not sleep at night to finish interesting books by former politicians, criticise and analyse them and so on. I found the right balance between fashion and politics, it took me time, but in the end I did and accomplished all my goals so far.

When we speak about feminism, we only observe the hard-core classical perspective that women should be almost praised in whatever they do, however post-modern feminism theory suggests only equality and recognition of the female gender. This is exactly what I am aiming for. My university group is comprised of more women than men, women with clear vision of what exactly they want to achieve in their life, yet striving for recognition. We dress nicely and smile a lot, that does not make us unworthy or not capable of dealing with security or diplomacy, so why do we keep differentiating between sexes? Isn’t it a rather sad statistics that women are not being admitted enough into the politics sector, not because of lack of qualities, but because of prejudices formed centuries ago?

So, this is my manifesto. I can not ask you to take me seriously, I will let my actions speak for me instead. I would simply like to ask you to think for 5 seconds before you speak about a woman being unworthy of practicing in this sphere or neglecting her opinion. I am confident that we have reached this point of evolution, where this would be possible. I might dress nicely, have fun occasionally, I am a first class student as well, I have travelled through 25% of the world and know a little about cultures , I may not be perfect, but I am a woman that works just as hard as men to achieve her goals. And trust me when I tell you, some day you will see that for yourselves.

Love always,

Joanna Koleva

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