This I Believe

Josephine - Nanjing, China
Entered on January 20, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Good girls don’t ask?

When was the last time you spoke out for what you want? How many times have you fought for what you deserve? If you asked me this question before I entered college, it wouldn’t take me more than one second to answer- never.

This wouldn’t surprise you if you knew what I’ve been through since I was a child. I was taught to be humble so it became habit to doubt myself first before I took a chance. This habit became a burden when I tried to get what I wanted.

In China there are unspoken rules about what a boy or girl should or shouldn’t do. Voicing out what you want and fighting for what you deserve is absolutely a boy thing. As a girl, you had better work silently and hope others will notice and offer you a chance. A girl is “showing off” if she asks for what she wants and negotiates for more than she has already been offered. In a word, good girls don’t ask.

I followed this rule all my life. Whenever I failed, I always doubted my abilities instead of thinking that it might be because I had never asked for it. I remember in middle school I got the most ballots in an election for class monitor. However, my teacher chose the boy who came in second and me for vice monitor. I naturally thought it was because I wasn’t qualified but the real reason was the teacher believed a boy could represent the class better than a girl. I could have argued with the teacher but I didn’t. Instead I worked hard as vice monitor and hoped my performance would prove I was capable. Again, good girls don’t ask.

After years of hard work I realized I was always waiting for what I deserved. After I entered college, I decided to change. At first, I was uncomfortable standing up for myself and asking for a chance. I was afraid I would be regarded as a freak since it was not what a girl was supposed to do. But after I tried it several times and succeeded I felt more confident.

My biggest reward came when my professor said she would choose the student with the highest mid-term grade to accompany her to Hong Kong for a meeting. I was very interested and told myself I must grab this chance. I went directly to her and expressed my desire to attend the meeting. I studied hard for the test and achieved a good grade and was chosen to go to Hong Kong. In fact other students did as well as I on the test, but I was chosen cause I was actually asked for the chance.

Now I don’t care if there is a rule saying good girls don’t ask. I speak out and fight for what I believe I deserve. This new attitude will take me closer to my goals. I believe that showing my capabilities does not hinder me from being modest. It takes bravery to stand up and ask for your chance especially when you are a girl. I believe I’m a good girl and I do ask.