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How One Woman Lowered the Glass Ceiling

Are television series getting more twisted by the year? Many people are noticing shows regularly pushing the envelope. With series such as The Idol, Euphoria, and Elite elevating the daily lives of young adults and high schoolers, it’s interesting to note limited series based on real events holding up similar calibers. Whereas the former series reduce high school and early adulthood to sex, drugs, crimes, and just overall poor decisions, the latter series shine light on real-life monstrosities.


In the last five years, there has been an onslaught of entertainment focused on tragedies from everyday life. In my previous article, I talked about Hulu’s The Act’s depiction of Munchausen by proxy in connection to Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee Blanchard. After doing more research (binging Hulu series as summer showers rocket humidity levels), the streaming giant shows no sign of shying away from sensitive topics. 


2022’s The Dropout depicts Stanford University dropout Elizabeth Holmes’ rise to one of the largest scandals of the contemporary era. 


Who is Elizabeth Holmes?


Elizabeth Holmes is considered one of the biggest swindlers of the twenty-first century. Her multi-billion-dollar company promised a new era to medical practices and blood tests. She never delivered on this promise. 


Holmes was a student at Stanford University studying medical engineering; she dropped out and used her tuition funds to pursue Theranos, the birth company for a revolutionary device. A heroic idea to reduce the amount of blood needed to run tests, as well as make testing more inclusive, was just that – an idea. She lied to and tricked major companies such as Walgreens to invest millions into her dream, but the invention never made it past the testing stage. The blood-testing apparatus was said to run over 200 medical tests by a prick of blood, but these falsified reports led to the ultimate destruction of both her reputation and company. For more about Holmes and Theranos, visit this article by Integrity Line


So What?


Reading this, you may be thinking, “So what? She is already serving her sentence… Why should we care about this still?” Well, the Holmes’ scandal goes far beyond affecting her, the companies she stole from, the patients she put at severe and fatal risks, and the hundreds of employees caught in the radical crossfire. Her decision to pursue a personal dream led to the complete tainting of an entire subclass of individuals. 


Women entrepreneurs are finding it nearly impossible to find investors in Silicon Valley in the aftermath of Theranos. Erin Griffith writes, 


“A generation of female entrepreneurs — particularly those in life sciences, biotechnology and health care — is still operating in the shadow of Ms. Holmes. Though Theranos shut down in 2018, Ms. Holmes continues to loom large across the start-up world because of the audacity of her story, which has permeated popular culture and left behind a seemingly indelible image of how female founders can push boundaries.”


Alice Zhang, for example, had to jump through hoops to be considered legitimate and taken seriously in the wake of the Theranos scandal. Zhang ventured to generate funding for her drug discovery start-up but was met with whispers, questions about Theranos, and even a notable columnist generating an article comparing the two women. Although there were little similarities between the two and the components of their companies, Zhang was relentlessly reminded of what Holmes had done. Her mark, or rather stain, overshadowed any mission of Zhang and other women trying to step into the field.


Elizabeth Holmes did not just eradicate a crafted self-image and vision, she lowered the glass ceiling for all the women entrepreneurs trying to break into an already securely-sealed field. It is only a hope that with time Holmes’ scandal will be more of a distant memory than looming threat of repetition.

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Tags: #women #entrepreneurs #scandal #theranos #holmes #siliconvalley


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