Devil’s Advocate

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

One of my good friends recently accused me of being sexist. I was quite taken aback by this accusation because I do not consider myself to be sexist at all. She told me that my sexism shows in the little things I do, such as always taking my guy friends’ opinions over hers and the opinion of other girls. I don’t think this is true, but even if it is, sexism wouldn’t be the reason I’m doing that. How do I show her that I am not a misogynistic person?

Innocent Ivan

Dear Ivan,

First we should find out for sure if you are actually sexist or not. It just so happens that I have devised a fool-proof test to determine how sexist one is. I call it the Devil’s Advocate Misogyny Scale, or D.A.M.S. It is a one-question multiple choice test and it goes like this:

Finish the following sentence:

When I hear the word “woman,” I think of ________.

A.) Cleaning supplies, dinner, and babies
B.) PMS, crying, and anger
C.) A and B
D.) An intelligent, capable, and strong individual

If you answered anything besides D, then you are a sexist and if you answered C, then you probably don’t have any female friends. So, if this is the case, Ivan, then your friend is correct and you should probably seek professional help to fix your misogynistic behavior.
If you answered D, but your friend still thinks you are sexist, then you have two options. The first is to sit her down and have a nice discussion about the situation. Explain to her that you think of women as equals and you would never knowingly act in a way that demeans them. The second option is to simply not care what she thinks of you. The important thing is that you know you are not sexist. Other people’s opinions of you do not matter in the slightest.

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

I am a relatively smart and hard-working girl. For the most part, anything I put my mind to, I succeed in. I recently applied for a prestigious internship and I worked harder on the application and cover letter than on anything I can ever remember working on. I really wanted to get the internship, and because I almost always succeed in things I work hard at, I figured that I would get it. But I didn’t. Now, I am really upset and wondering what to do. Do you have any advice for me?

Let-down Lisa
Dear Lisa,

You sound like a very intelligent and ambitious girl. It’s hard to deal with failure, but you may be surprised to hear that failure is probably the best thing that can happen to you at this point in your life. Failure accomplishes two important things: it teaches you and it humbles you.
What can failure teach you? Well, in your case, it will teach you that life goes on even though you did not get what you wanted. It teaches you that you do not always get what you want. From failure, you learn that we all have flaws and that you can work harder than you did before.
You seem to not be familiar with failure. You should embrace failure because if you are living life correctly, then you should experience it a lot. A general rule I try to live by is, “If you do not fail at something at least once a day, then you are not setting your goals high enough.”
My advice would be to take the effort you put into getting this internship and to apply it to every facet of your life. Set your goals high. Fail and fail often. Learn from your failure. It sounds tough and it is, but if you do this then you will go far in life.
On the other hand, you could just take the easy way. Avoid failure because it’s uncomfortable. Don’t take any risks. If you never put all of your effort into anything, then you can always tell yourself, “Well, I could have done that if I wanted to. I just didn’t feel like it.” A life full of could-haves, would-haves, and should-haves is, perhaps, the least rewarding life there is.