MULLIGAN: Victim or victory? 

I have often joked it wasn’t until I attended college I learned as a woman I was “oppressed.”

I did not grow up in a home with a victimhood mentality, where I was taught that as a girl there were certain things I could not do. In fact, it was the opposite. Both my parents, particularly my dad, taught us the meaning of hard work and its role in success.

While recently looking through old memories, I came across a series of questions I had answered as a kid. One of the questions was, “Should girls be allowed to play on boys sports teams?” My answer, “Yes, this is America, home of the free!” I was seven at the time. In many ways, I still echo my seven-year-old self.

While my view of women and their ability to do anything was challenged in almost every class I sat in at UNC, I never bought the “women as victims” narrative. Professors would teach, even though I had never experienced it, that I was treated differently, and when I went to get a job, I would be paid less than a man.

I recently came across Joe Biden’s tweet:

“The hard truth is women — and particularly women of color — have never had a fair shot to get ahead in this country. That’s why today, I’m releasing my plan to make sure women can fully participate in our economy and country.”

My first thought when I read this was, really? Why is it that the so-called “progressives” continue to feed women, particularly American women, this false narrative — that women are disadvantaged, discriminated against, haven’t received a fair shot, and the like.

To be an American woman today is to be among the most privileged in our world. Right now, the speaker of the U.S. House is a woman. Three women sit on the Supreme Court. Women have held high positions, such as secretary of State, Education, and Transportation; director of the CIA; ambassador to the UN; and governor.

In the private sector, many women have grown brands and businesses, such as Oprah, Lori Greiner, Carly Fiorina — the list is endless. What about the women throughout history? Clara Barton, Katherine Johnson and, my childhood hero, Amelia Earhart.

How did these women succeed? They were determined to not let anything stand in their way. They simply got in the arena. They did not ask anyone to give them special treatment or fight for them. These women and others didn’t and don’t need “Biden’s Agenda for Women.” They (we) have their own agenda.

This cannot be said about many women around the world today who are truly oppressed, left out of the economy and their countries. They are denied education, beaten for posting on social media, raped while walking to get water and killed for dishonoring their families. Some are not even allowed to obtain a driver’s license let alone vote or have any voice for themselves. Not to mention the millions of baby girls who are aborted each year at home and abroad. For those women, we should lament that their rights to life, liberty, and property are not just ignored, but trampled on.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Christian author Lysa Terkeurst and hangs in my bedroom. She says, “You can’t hold up the banner of victim and victory at the same time.” As a 27-year old female, who in her short time on earth has graduated from one of the top universities in the country, traveled the world and operated two companies, I can promise you the banner I will choose to live under is that of victory.

Casting women as victims who need rescuing is on its face, anti-women. In the words of Ainsley Hayes, “I am a citizen of this country; I am not a special subset in need of government protection.” To not recognize this reality is truly regressive.

Aimee Mulligan is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a principal consultant at CardinalGPS, a political and public affairs consulting firm in downtown Raleigh.