A Woman's Success is Not Simply a Spoil of the "Gender War."

This is the last entry in my No Ma'am Blog Symposium weeklong gender stereotyping extravaganza.  This essay is the rebuttal of my masculine perspective (particularly this piece), through the lens of my better half, my wife, Jill Plumb. She is the main bread winner of our family, among many other great attributes (that I won't nauseate you with).  

So without further ado:  

Success is a personal chess move--not a spoil of the Gender War.
By: Jill E. Plumb 

Success is tricky work. All my life, I have worked hard, fought for good grades, participated in councils, held part-time jobs while attending college full time, balanced friendships, served my family and attempted to maintain a confident, self-assured manner with a healthy blanket of humility to quickly temper my achievements. 

After all, we are taught that the world is competitive and only the strong will be self-sufficient and rewarded with a career of our choosing. This is the army to which I serve. I have never been out to destroy mankind. I want a future that will eventually allow me the "break/rest" my counter-part thinks I should take now. 

But, I can’t.  I feel like I'm in the minority as a person working the long-term for a later reward. No instant gratification here…my future depends on it. Apparently, this is a concept that has gone by the wayside in a world of social media, constant texting, and immediate digital gratification. Want to be hero? Play a video game. Want to be popular? Add a few friends online. Want to be entertained? Stream a video. Effortless. It’s also unreal. Human beings have never been hard-wired for a sedentary life. We desire one, but it is the journey that defines us, we need the struggle to appreciate the fruits of the labor. 

Eternal Vigilance: 
If you think I'm being a witch now, wait until
my wand comes out.  
But…not anymore. Why work when it is so easy not to? After all, others fought before us, we should reap the rewards of their efforts, we are entitled to a life of less effort and less battle…right?  This is where those who want us to take a break are wrong. Spoiled by immediate gratification and the illusion that the “war” is over, the perception is that working hard and planting seeds for our future is a lost cause. We’re living the “good life.” But I don’t think so. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Jefferson knew that the efforts of America could only be preserved, if, after the reward is obtained, one continues to work to maintain it. This goes for every war ever won. To quit now, is to give up the reward that our predecessors fought for.

As a female teacher and one-woman department in the high school that I work for, it is often assumed that I am a “tough cookie”, “ball-buster” and yes, even a “b!tch”.  It frustrates me. However, without the masculine edge a woman must adopt to be a leader, she is viewed as soft, and that weakness invites attack. However, I am a mom, wife, sister--female. These feminine roles DO define me. They are parts of me I savor and love. But, the process of plowing my future does not allow me to indulge in those roles while working. After all, success comes with a price.  Femininity.

Restoring Femininity:
My wife made this "pinterest worthy"
cake for our daughter Nadia's 6th b-day. 
BUT-I find my feminine identity in volunteering and coaching my children. Dressing up for a date with my spouse. Spending time on Pinterest and creating a meal or a craft to enhance the ambiance of my home—all in the precious minutes I have after I work my 8-11 hour days. I believe that the women who are over-extending themselves are seeking the same future that I am…not one of simple "empathy because someone may not show up for an event," but because we want to retire—literally retire, not retire to work a new job for the last 15-20 years of our lives—and when we get there, we want to breathe easy, in our mortgage-free home made of bricks (as opposed to straw or sticks), sipping wine and knowing we lived a full life while providing for our future. And working for that vision—my long-term goal--is better than the false gratification the digital world may immediately reward me with--or taking the “break” it has been conjectured, I deserve.  
Here's to the good life, and starring at the sun.  


  1. Loved this perspective! I hope to be a well-rounded, accomplished woman like the above ^ someday. :)

    1. Well, behind every super successful woman, is an underachieving, sarcastic husband.

    2. My husband saw this and thought you were talking about him, lol. ;)

  2. Jill, I love that whatever you do, you bring it all to the table....energy, dedication, enthusiasm, diligence, and most of all, heart and soul.

    (the mother-in-law)

  3. I've read all four posts in this series. Interesting perspectives all around.