There's something special that they're looking for. Unique and defiant of classification. Beholden to no one, wild. Female. This is you.
You are their new beginning and an end of an era. They bleed you dry. You do what you can to preserve what you are. You have to learn to speak their language, but you let your quirks seep in to your speech, to let those that matter know that you're still there, under all the tweaks and rules and preparation. There is a message now, where there used to be thought, and it's hard to work around it because it doesn't quite fit. They amplify their talking points through you, hot then cold, made to order; you are their rheostat, and it's never quite your voice you're speaking with.
The red lipstick is yours, but the shoes are new and they are not. It's all part of the plan, not so much a deception, but a clarification for the audience. It's more a trimming, in the holiday sense, which is to say a decoration meant as a signifier.
Now your first impression is that of a cut-out; propped up, held in place, and dolled up, standing against the unmistakable ebb of influence.
You're officially pitted against the old boys' club, and their cries of brotherly murder are nothing against you. But the ones on the other side of the ebb, they have one like you, too. She's reciting the other side's words, not her own, only her script is limited to questions and it's already written down. They pit you against her, but it's not a fair fight. She's in better practice with her scripts, and that's all anyone focuses on.
This contest is rigged. What they wanted was to see you fail, so she wins. Even if you hadn't stumbled she would have won, because that's how the contest is run.
It turns out you were there not to represent your ideal, but its shortcomings and, finally, its downfall. But you're not going to let that be where it ends.
After the fall you try to take them home. You want to show them where you used to rule, but their gaze frames you the same way as before. You want to take them by the hand, lead them on a long walk around this place you call home, show them what made you you before your blood was swapped for theirs, but everything they see is tinted by their bias, their predilections and self-fulfilling predictions. They see only what they made you out to be.
But there are those among them who can see through. You've said your peace and it sits inside their head where it fits, and it grows. The ebb reverses and becomes a deluge. Their end is your beginning. You learn to use their voice as your own. They will be the ones with their hands tied once they discover what you've done, once you chart them up and put them on display for all to see.
You may never again be what you were, and the glass eyes still glint when the lights shine too brightly, but you're decked out for the long-haul. Your empire will grow and you will rule again.