Friday, June 7, 2013

Some More Neat Advice for Lady Workers

Actual title of article: "Ladies, Want That Promotion? Then Quit Your Cheerful Demeanor"

From the article itself:
"In the experiments, researchers portrayed fictional scenarios in which men and women were described as either cheerful, prideful or showing no emotion, and then asked study subjects to rank each as leaders.
Among the hypothetical candidates, cheerful women were ranked the least likely to lead."
Pop interpretations of studies suggesting ways for women to get ahead in the workplace are, to me, much like pop interpretations of health studies (eg- my running posts on ScArY hEaLtH NeWs) - superficial, simplistic, full of often unwarranted mandates for behavior change, and not helpful.

For instance, want to avoid having a stroke? Don't drink coffee, have sex, blow your nose, or get angry ever.

Concerned about your headaches? Well, just so you know, many people with brain tumors don't even have headaches. Although, if you do have headaches it (or might not be) a brain tumor. So maybe you should be concerned if you don't have headaches, as well. Welp, have a good day!

And so it goes with Women In The Workplace articles.

Want a raise? The problem, you see, is that women just don't ask for higher salaries. But watch out ladies, women who ask for higher salaries are seen as bitchy.

Want to get that promotion, gals? Just don't ever smile or laugh again at work. (Although, beware, because women who show anger in the workplace are viewed as "out of control" and "incompetent.") It's probably best to affect a flat monotone, then?

I guess my point here is that this advice, although perhaps well-intentioned (?), is not actually helpful, since women are given this sort of advice all the time. I'm actually more interested in studies that examine which kinds of people are more likely to rely on stereotypes and false assumptions about who is and isn't incompetent in the world, and then seeing articles published giving those people advice on how to be more mindful of their perceptions about others. After all, the problem isn't with women who are cheerful in the workplace, the problem is with those who believe that cheerful women can't be leaders. So, how can we change that attitude?

Anyway, I want to end by noting an irritating line from the "cheerful demeanor" article.
"But before we start pointing fingers, know this: women too are guilty of holding these stereotypical views about female peers."
"But before we start pointing fingers"? What a truly strange, inapt thing to say immediately prior to pointing fingers at "women too."

It's weird to me that people are surprised that "women too" can be sexist and that they therefore proceed to pre-emptively rebut "feminist arguments" that, supposedly, blame all sexism everywhere on men. Yes, newsflash, women too can be sexist. Even against other women.

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