Our own worst enemy?

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Oh man. I hate articles like these. Although this one was ok for the most part, I can’t help but feel that these kinds of discussions have such a huge potential to reinforce shitty gender stereotypes about women being bitchy and jealous of one another.

Firstly, there seems to be an assumption that just because a lot of people say they don’t want to work for a female boss then it must be true that female bosses are terrible.

Shouldn’t we be questioning whether this is actually a reality? Or why people view female bosses this way?

Why do men and women say they’d rather work for a man? Surely they can’t all have had an unpleasant female boss and even if they have – why write off more than half the world’s population for it? Have they also not had unpleasant male bosses?

I’m not saying this article is ‘wrong’ in any way – I do think it’s important to understand the pressures women are under in male dominated work spaces and what effect this has – but I just wish the focus could be expanded a little wider to look at why people think about female bosses this way.

There’s a brief mention in the article that this dislike of female leaders is directed to those who don’t fit the “traditional female stereotype” – well, who made the stereotype in the first place? It wasn’t women. Yes, women have been complicit to the oppression and degradation of other women. Yes, many women have absorbed the sexist lessons of gender inequality and stereotypes that we get fed from fucking birth. But to suggest that we are our own ‘worst enemy’ is a joke. Men, and the structures of gender inequality set up by men, still get that honour.

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4 Comments on “Our own worst enemy?”

  1. Paul Kounnas says:

    Why just men, you said women were complicit in accepting certain constructions, so hey aren’t we all just as bad? Didn’t we all set up these gender inequalities? (…and go! haha)

    • Oh, Paul…

      Short answer – no! We’re definitely not all equally to blame. Sexist practices, stereotypes and structures have framed our society for centuries and they were not ‘set up’ by women. You can’t blame women for being susceptible to certain ideas that have been naturalised in our society for so long. Not to mention, that if you didn’t comply there was the very real threat of being punished – whether that involved being institutionalised, socially ostracised or persecuted in a variety of other ways.

      Yes it’s important to recognise how women have responded to, participated in and rejected these patriarchal structures – but it’s also important to keep in mind the context that women have lived in and continue to live in. You’ve always got to remember who has the power and, particularly historically speaking, that power has very much been in the hands of men.

  2. Joan H says:

    Of all the people I have worked with and for, I can remember one male who has assisted me enormously in my career and seen me as an equal and one female who jealously tries to put me down and sabotage and undermine me. That’s my experience.


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