The Other 1%

I know very few women that I consider role models. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of women I respect, but when I think about people whose lives demonstrate the structure and qualities I’d like to emulate, there are so few. Less than 1% of all women fall into the Myers-Briggs type ENTJ, and I think this may have something to do with my conundrum. As an ENTJ female, often I find myself stuck as to how I’m supposed to navigate being female and having my particular personality type. This becomes especially difficult when surrounded by people who staunchly support traditional gender roles.

That’s why I get so excited when I find women who share the same sort of drive and interests I have who are living a radically different life than I am. It paints a picture for me of what else is possible in my world. It shows me at least from a distance how my quirks can become my strengths. How the things that isolate me can bind me to things that really matter. Watching other ENTJ characters enriches my life and makes me better by challenging me in the areas I’m weak.

I first met this friend in the Twitterverse in 2011 after retweeting something she had written that someone else had retweeted (you know how it goes, and yes another online friend). At some point much later, we also become Facebook friends, too, and I think that’s when I began to realize what an interesting person she is. She’s married and has 5 children, but watching her navigate that at least from a distance and through the filter that is Facebook is fairly fascinating to me. She homeschools them all and totally plays the role of housewife/homemaker, but she’s all badass about it. All her kids shoot guns (yes, even the girls) and cook (yes, even the boys), and do volunteer work. And she puts them to work around the house in ways most people wouldn’t think to do or trust their kids to do. She’s a DIY pro and is always up to something interesting. She can also hold her own in all sorts of conversations, isn’t afraid of being edgy, and is very wise.

There are quite a few unique and weird aspects to being an ENTJ woman, and I’ve had an opportunity to chat with her about a couple of them. One of the strangest ones is that men tend to like ENTJ women as actual people and not just as women. What I mean is that they enjoy them in the same way they’d enjoy another male buddy, but they end up fascinated by the fact that something they’d appreciate in a male friend is suddenly present in a female. And so they start to say things like, “Hey, can you hang out with my girlfriend?” Or “Man, it would be awesome if you could rub off on my wife.” I’ve had guys say things like this to me before, and I started laughing when she mentioned something similar. However, the other half of this, of course, is that it really becomes very difficult to navigate friendships and relationships, because most men aren’t actually interested in dating or marrying an ENTJ woman. They just want their girlfriends and wives to be a little less emotional or needy or whatever. And most women aren’t interested in being friends with a woman who would rather talk theology with her husband than talk breast pumps with her (and not for any sinister reason at all). It takes a particular kind of person to actually marry one of us. I haven’t quite figured that part out yet, but watching her helps me understand the dynamics that matter.

Another thing that fascinates me about her is that she’s good at interpersonal relationships. She’s empathetic and vulnerable in a way that I have never allowed myself to be. And those things haven’t made her weak. In fact, they appear to make her stronger. She’s the first ENTJ female I’ve ever come across that seems to have this balanced out in a healthy way, and I’m envious of it a bit. She claims her ability to be vulnerable has everything to do with Christianity, and I don’t doubt that she is right. What that tells me, of course, is that all of us Christians have not only the ability but maybe even the obligation to be vulnerable because of a Christ who was vulnerable for us.

We finally met each other on my last east coast trip, and she, I, and another friend drank cocktails, got tipsy, and discussed all sorts of strange things. One of my favorite happenings of 2014. I’m hoping for another round in the fall, but you know, life is ever-changing, complicated, and weird. Still, she’s a badass. I’m glad I know her, I’m thankful for the things I’ve learned from her, and I love watching her crazy little world from across the country via Facebook.

Beka Johnson
Beka Johnson

Beka is the Director of Inbound Marketing for a fintech company in the Seattle area. She loves dabbling, reading, scheming, writing, and dreaming up ways to make good things better. When she’s not working, you can find her digging up all sorts of adventures in her new city.

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