Tory Burch, the Jewish fashion designer, just came out with a new campaign–and I’m all about it. Honestly, the word campaign gives me an allergic reaction, because as a writer, it makes me think of people who just want to market something to me. It typically screams insincerity. However, Burch’s campaign seems to have real substance behind it. It’s called #EmbraceAmbition.
Burch’s Instagram currently tells the story of all the public figures who are part of her campaign, which is meant to encourage women to feel good about themselves and their dreams. Often times, when a woman pursues a career, the old stereotypes come up, suggesting that she must not be maternal, or is cold–and those need to die, right now. Burch told Vogue why she started the campaign:
“We must address the stereotypes that hold women back. If women are truly to achieve parity, we need to own our bold ideas, celebrate our aspirations, and embrace ambition. It comes down to owning your desire to grow and thrive or to make a difference whether it’s at work, at home, or through your actions and social responsibility. We tend to think about ambition as relating to the workplace, but your ambition can be to raise children with integrity or to make a difference by supporting a cause that you care about. Overall, my ambition is for all women to compete equally in business and in life.”
Apparently, Burch didn’t always feel this way–in fact, she used to hate the word ambition. Why? She told CNBC that she used to hate the stereotype around it, that when used to describe a woman, it meant she was ruthless. She stated:
“When I got into the workforce, it seemed like anytime people described an ambitious woman, it was a bit negative. The word has two meanings: having a desire to be successful, powerful or famous, and being difficult. When used to describe female professionals and their career goals, it often takes on the second meaning.
The word ‘ambition’ when associated with a man is celebrated, and with a woman it’s more derogatory and it seems a bit crass.”
For me, personally, I can’t deny that truth. I’ve been faced with it my entire life–and that kind of attitude can crush dreams from a young age. Young girls don’t want to be seen as cold or ruthless, so they’ll start to deny themselves the liberty of wanting to appear ambitious, since it’s “unattractive.”
Working moms in particular are often made to feel guilty for having ambition, for wanting to balance both a career and motherhood–and those stigmas and shame of ambition need to stop. I’m glad Burch is using her platform to push for gender equality. Some of the key phrases from the campaign are easy to remember:
“Own your dreams.
Take the stigma out of ambition.
Ambition is not a dirty word.”
The proceeds from the #EmbraceAmbition T-shirts and bracelets online will benefit the designer’s Tory Burch Foundation, which focuses on empowering women entrepreneurs through educational programs, mentoring opportunities, and affordable loans.
Check out the video below:
— Tory Burch (@toryburch) March 7, 2017