Amber Tamblyn

Amber Tamblyn—Poet, 
Director, and Actor
Joan of Arcadia, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

I want to tell you a story. A story about a woman. Once upon a time, there was a young woman not unlike most young women—inquisitive, strong-minded, and hungry for the experience of life. The young woman lived and learned in every way she could. She went through different lifestyles, social circles, fashions, and political beliefs. The young woman, like most young women, came out of college with an ambitious fire burning inside of her, feeling like she had so much to offer the world but wasn’t sure exactly how to manifest it yet. The young woman, like most young women, quickly entered a world built and run by men, which was the only world that had ever existed. She had to learn how to navigate their businesses, how to succeed at their jobs, how to interact and vote and even speak as they wished and in ways that pleased them. As the woman became less young, like most women who become less young, she noticed how differently she was understood, valued, and treated in this world built by men. As the woman became more famous, superficialities began to overshadow the woman’s experience and intelligence and any mistakes she made seemed to leave stronger impressions on the world than those made by men in her same position. The woman, like most women, grew a thicker skin, became more cautious, tougher. For this, she was also criticized and vilified, as the world built by men could only accept women in ways that did not threaten them, that were familiar to them. The woman, like most women, became a mother and continued to make change in the world she loved while still working within a system built, written, and run by men. As the woman became less young and more powerful, like most women who become less young and more powerful, she became more polarizing and the world was divided between those who could see only her shortcomings and those who saw themselves in her resilience.

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One day, the woman, unlike most women, decided to run for the most powerful job in the land. And suddenly, unlike any woman ever in the history of that land, the woman—whose life had included flaws, scars, mistakes, revolutionary acts, wisdom, and will, like most women—became the first woman ever to be officially nominated for that job. Now imagine you are the woman. We are all the woman. How do you want the story to end?

 


PHOTO: MICHAEL LAVINE

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This article originally appeared in the October/November 2016 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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