Introducing Ambitious AF

Hey y’all and welcome to Milk’s new column, Ambitious AF. This column is about women, and women who work, with a little politics and pop culture peppered in to make things interesting. I wanted to write this because, like many women I know, I’m ambitious AF but also want to uphold feminist politics and ethical practices in the workforce.

I care about the advancement – of not just my career - but of women in general. I noticed that there aren’t that many outlets for women to collectively share their professional experiences, speak honestly about the complexities of being a woman in the 21st century workforce, or discuss issues that don’t pigeonhole us within the exhausting and overused “working woman” trope.

I want this column to be a safe yet productive space where we can open up dialogue about complicated issues that women in the workplace face and talk about the very real complexities and nuances that make being a woman who works challenging. I’m not going to tell you what to do and I can’t prescribe you meds– because – hey – I’m not that kind of doctor, but I can create dialogue and a space that can help readers discuss the complex realities of the workforce.

I spent over a decade in academia where my colleagues and I spent a lot of energy – and I mean a lot – unpacking race, class, and gender – and talking about what was wrong with the world. But, our conversations about crucial topics never seemed to reach the very people we were interested in helping and engaging. I’m much more hopeful about more public projects and when I talked to Milk about the column, that’s one of the reasons I got so excited.

My approach to everything in life – not just this column – is to not take myself too seriously, while also tossing in a little cultural studies lingo whenever I can. So, I want this to be an accessible space but also one where real conversations can be started. I try to be a little bit funny and a lot a bit feminist. I’m always honest and willing to self-disclose personal feelings and not-so-awesome things that I have experienced at a level that may seem abnormal for most humans. I do this not because it’s therapeutic – on a side note, it totally is – but because sharing the things that have happened to me in my professional career or that I have witnessed happen to others makes it that much easier for other women to talk about the very real issues that affect us every day.

The more creative spaces that exist where we can share stories and experiences, the easier it will be to work together, fight the patriarchy, learn a thing or two from other women, and move forward in our careers. Silence is our enemy and if there’s one thing that patriarchy has taught us – it’s that. We just can’t afford to stay silent.

Message me with topics you want to see discussed, personal stories that have happened to you or someone you know, or move the conversation forward in the comment section. I’m thrilled to be part of this and look forward to engaging with all of you. I hope y’all will have as much fun reading it as I will have writing it!

Karla Stevenson Mastracchio

About Karla Stevenson Mastracchio

A professor of writing, feminism, and cultural studies at The University of Tampa and The University of South Florida and consultant focused on media analysis and strategic engagement.

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