Apply For Anything and Everything This Semester, If For No Other Reason Other Than to Take it From an Undeserving Man


Stay long enough in a Women and Gender Studies classroom, and the professor is sure to spit this statistic out at you (replicated here for folks who have not had the pleasure of experiencing such): “Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.” There’s also a litany of accompanying tidbits. Women are more likely than men to experience “imposter syndrome” when applying for jobs, more prone to worrying that their skills don’t match up to the expectations of their line of work than men. Women are 16% less likely to apply for jobs they view on LinkedIn than men are (though 16% more likely to be hired than men, so perhaps there’s a small light at the end of the tunnel). And let’s not forget to dredge through the article after article after article exploring why women are so anxious about taking risks - as compared to men - based on research, individual experience, and personal theories.


General consensus: women aren’t applying for things as frequently as men are. 


I hate to take an approach to social problems that essentially boils down to “each woman should do their part to fight against this!” since the reasoning behind women’s tendency to apply to fewer things is rooted in systems of sexist oppression, not failures on the part of individual women. However, on this particular issue, I do think that individual women can potentially help themselves overcome this statistic. Namely, by applying to things.


Too often I hear my female friends disregard a scholarship that ends up in their inbox because they don’t feel qualified for it. I’m not talking about white women not applying for scholarships left open for women of color, Christain women not sending their CVs to funds set aside exclusively for Jewish women, or other disqualifiers that are based on marginalized identities (yes, you should be leaving those alone for the people that they were created for!). Often, they exclude themselves from the application process based on negligible things that you know men find it in their favor to ignore - things like not meeting a minimum GPA requirement, not knowing whether or not their field would be considered “hard science” (hello, all of those STEM scholarships my psychology major made me question), or not feeling clever enough to apply to something looking for an application essay with “a sense of humor.” And I certainly feel the same on occasion. 


I take a few approaches to this feeling. First, I tell myself the age-old adage - what’s the worst that will happen? Rejection isn’t always a result of inadequacy, and even if it was, it just means you have more time to fix your application for the next great thing that comes around. Secondly, I make a little game out of it. Currently, I have an excel sheet sitting in my Google Drive that tallies all of the rejection letters I have gotten from various applications - whether they be jobs, poetry journals, anthologies - with the goal of earning 100 by January 1st. When I see something that I might be vaguely qualified for, then, it registers as an opportunity to score another “point” for my game, not as something to be feared and pushed off until the deadline passes. 


Finally? I started googling images of frat boys and telling myself that these were the people that would be applying for the job. It’s surprisingly effective in getting me motivated - envisioning the faces of the underqualified men that I could be beating out.





Plus, said photos tend to be attached to absolute doozies of articles. I feel as if I’ve experienced a hate crime for reading the sentence “Frat boys get a bad wrap . . . many will view our beer-guzzling friends as lazy or dimwitted, but I've always considered them to be misunderstood, above all.”


Break open your laptop, pin a few photos of Delta Kappa Epsilon’s class to your corkboard, and get to work applying. The world is depending on you to take that academic film scholarship away from a scraggly dude named Zeke.