Graduation Day

I remember how surprised the world was when Obama got elected; how African Americans said they never thought this would happen in their lifetime. What I was thinking was, “I can’t believe elected an African-American (well half-black, half white) to the country’s highest office before we have elected a woman President. I mean women have had the right to vote for over a century now and in many other countries women have served as the leader of their nations. Why not here?

As I continue to dive into dystopian fiction I can’t help but notice an obvious pattern of teen girls as the main character in these stories who display such strong leadership skills that they can topple a dystopian society or help save an apocalyptic one. Is this trend wish fulfillment on the part of writers who frustrated with the dearth of women leaders in government and even corporations have sublimated their biggest hopes for women into the pages of these books? From Katniss, to Tris and in the case of The Graduation, Cia, why is it these women are only given these opportunities to lead on the pages of a book?

In this final book of The Testing trilogy we learn that the Committee planned to fail Cia and not accept her into The University as she is ‘too emotional’ and they are not sure she can make the tough decisions that leaders must do, yet in the end of the series doesn’t she prove that it’s her very emotions and instincts that help her take down a corrupt and twisted system? What would our own world be like if we had a woman leader? If a woman was leading the country, and indeed more women filled the House and the Senate, would we have the current pissing matches between House and Senate and between parties that currently exist? Are women better able to come to a compromise and is that always a bad choice compared to a stalemate?

I am not saying there would not be possible cons to having a woman lead the government, but I would rather take that risk than to see our government and society continue on the path it has been on for a long time now.

Even in Graduation Day the female leaders such as Professor Holt and President Collindar do not always display the better qualities of female leaders. Indeed, Professor Holt while intelligent is also cold, calculating, manipulative and borders on ruthless. President Collindar also pushes aside the notion that a woman leader may fail at some of the tougher decisions. However, Cia is the counterbalance, she is smart, able to reason through options and make a decision, yet her biggest strength appears to be her ability to create alliances and build consensus. Her fellow male students follow her and not the other way around.

When a woman finally rises to the top office in our country, there will be extra pressure on her beyond the regular pressures of such as office to show what ‘female traits’, if any, she will display and how that will affect not only how she is viewed, but what the effects will be. Maybe in an effort to not be scrutinized for those very ‘traits’ she will swing as far away from such comments.

I can’t really say what having a female lead the country will be like; I just want to see a woman be elected so I can watch what unfolds. That’s what I liked about this book, a glimpse into what those possibilities might be….


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