Bossy Women and the Men Who Draw Them

Avatar

Vikram Bath

Vikram Bath is the pseudonym of a former business school professor living in the United States with his wife, daughter, and dog. (Dog pictured.) His current interests include amateur philosophy of science, business, and economics. Tweet at him at @vikrambath1.

Related Post Roulette

111 Responses

    • Avatar Kim in reply to j r
      Ignored
      says:

      Anyone who’s actually read 4chan’s responses to “Stop Rape” copypasta wouldn’t have been surprised by this. (They were actually quite civil.)
      You can say one thing about 4chan: their “sense of humor” applies to themselves as much as anyone else. a frequent subject of humor is their datelessness existence.Report

    • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to j r
      Ignored
      says:

      This is highly problematic for a number of reasons. I don’t suppose they cleared this with Ms. Watson first.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        Yeah, saying “I didn’t really yell ‘FIRE!’ in the crowded theater because I knew there was no fire when I yelled it” doesn’t really work.

        Though I suppose there are some interesting Fido/”Fido” issues involved.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        The issue is not whether or not these guys did what they did (they did) or whether or not it was wrong (it was wrong).

        The issue is whether or not these threats were “punishment” for a woman who dared speak up (the were not).Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        Instead of hating them because they are unthinking troglodytes, we get to hate them because they’re some variant of clever jerks (perhaps even urbane jerks) who thought they could leverage pretending to be unthinking troglodytes.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        Fire/”Fire.”

        It was a punishment for speaking up that wasn’t actually a punishment for speaking up but could still have the consequences of punishment for speaking up (stifling future speech). It wasn’t punishment, it was “punishment,” not really intended to punish, but still serving a punishing function.

        “Hey, a woman spoke up, so we’re going to threaten her to get attention, not because we care about her message or the fact that she spoke up in any ideological sense” is, in practical terms, not much different from “Hey, a woman spoke up, so we’re going to threaten her because we care about her message or the fact that she spoke up in an ideological sense.”Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        Except it wasnt’ actually a punishment. It was a marketing stunt. It was exactly the same as Dateline putting road flares on gas tanks.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        I imagine that it didn’t feel that way to her. “It wasn’t a real Sword of Damocles hanging over your head! It was styrofoam!”

        The fact that she wasn’t in any real danger doesn’t take away from the fact that she (and we) had reason to believe that the threat was credible.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        Jay,
        she’s dealt with worse threats, I’m sure. from far worse people too, I might add.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        Right Jay.

        The repeated insistence that even if it served to punish, the fact that it wasn’t actually intended to punish, and therefore wasn’t actual punishment, but instead actually punishing faux punishment, says something, but I’m not sure it says what those doing the insisting believe it does.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        It matters because what we do about a stupid marketing stunt is different from what we do about A Geninue Threat To A Woman’s Privacy Made Because She Dared To Speak Up.

        I’m sure the threat felt real, and scary, because it was entirely plausible at the time that something like that might happen. But then people investigated the situation, which they should have done, and they found that the threat wasn’t actually a real thing. But are we really going to use “fake but accurate” as an argument now?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        Yeah, if the photos had actually been released, I think we’d react differently.

        I’m not sure how we react differently to someone who threatened to release them because he hated the speech but didn’t have the photos to do so vs. someone who threatened to release release them because he knew that some people would be expected to hate it enough that the threat would be perceived as real and would therefore get him attention but didn’t have the photos to do so . I mean, in either case, it’s a real threat that can’t be followed-up on, and in both cases it’s a threat made because a woman spoke up. The only difference is that in one case the person making the threat did so for ideological reasons whereas in the other the person making the threat did so because other people would inevitably oppose the speech for ideological reasons, making the threat plausible. So how do we react differently? I’m asking this as a genuine question.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, for one thing, I’m pretty sure that the ad company is now persona non grata among the real and legit ad companies out there. Maybe the main thing we can do is make sure that nobody involved with the company will ever want to discuss it, put it on their resume, or whatever.

        I mean, if Coca-Cola or EA or whomever looks at the ad company and says “you know what, we could use a little viral marketing…” and starts giving this company money, we should scream our heads off.

        I don’t know what else would work or would be appropriate.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to j r
      Ignored
      says:

      I didn’t say that it was right or that it doesn’t involve its own ethical issues. And I’m not even sure that it’s correct to call it a false flag. It’s more like internet trolling disguised as a false flag pretending to be another case of internet misogyny. In other words, it is another example that just about everything that you see on the internet is bullsh*t.Report

      • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        I only meant “false flag” in the very loose sense of someone pretending to belong to a group they are not. I’d hate to have to dig into this and figure out how many levels of recursion there are. One of Chris’s posts above gave me a headache already.Report

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    One thing my dad said to me recently was that in order to get ahead in life, “you need to think like a boss and not like an employee.”*

    I think Scott Adams is generally right that society generally admires take-charge people if they are well-meaning and competent.

    That being said, I think that guys can get away with being more presumptive than women and possibly a bit more social Darwinist. We expect boss guys to be gruff, anti-social, and to sometimes barely recognize their employees literally. People will grumble about a guy boss who comes into the office, barely mutters some greetings, and heads straight to his office and shuts the door to get some work done. I don’t think women could get away with that kind of behavior. I don’t think men should be able to as well but they can.

    Bossy sounds a bit diminutive and almost like you are calling someone an Avignon Pope and that they are speaking with an authority that is not naturally theirs.

    All this being said, I am not sure of the school of thought that thinks advancement is when women can just as dickish and assholish as men. I’d rather see a movement targeted at antisocial asshole men and forcing them to be decent and sociable to a reasonable extent.

    *This doesn’t have to but often seems to translate into a colleague acting like he or she is superior to his or her co-workers. You see this a lot in law students and many first year associatewhen they work at law firms. Summer associates are often nothing more than glorified case assistants/law clerks and often not as useful but I’ve seen summer associates act like they were named partners and above certain tasks like answering the phone. I’ve gotten compliments for not treating the staff like shit when I was a summer associate. I’ve also seen people go far by acting like partners and treating the staff poorly.Report

    • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      “you need to think like a boss and not like an employee.”

      Tod said that too somewhere!

      We expect boss guys to be gruff, anti-social, and to sometimes barely recognize their employees literally.

      This is not the only difference, or even the primary one, IMHO. It’s that a boss guy doesn’t *have* to be gruff or anti-social to be regarded as a potential leader. A guy boss can treat his employees well–even tenderly and still retain authority. A woman who does that might quickly be put in the Laura-Bush category and not a real leader.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        I honestly disagree with this.
        I think that guys are more able to get away with explosive tempers… but women can treat their employees just as well as men can. Then again, I’ve had odd bosses and odd jobs.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        BLS doesn’t really need a manager, for example. People are Happy working with Numbers there — to punish someone, you take their Numbers away. Seriously, if there wasn’t a boss, they’d still come to work because it makes them happy to do a good job.

        (It used to be BS, until someone said… “there are lies, damned lies, and BS”).Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        @vikram-bath

        I agree with Kim here. We have plenty examples of guys who are high up in the business world and revered even though there are plenty examples of them being horrible human beings and putting on temper tantrums that would put toddlers to shame. Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Dan Snyder, etc.

        It goes back to debates about “entitlement”. Maybe these guys just have amazingly high self-esteems that makes them think that they deserve to be listened to and to have hundreds of millions of dollars or more.

        When I was in college, I knew a guy who was very good at getting women to sleep with him by basically throwing temper tantrums. A woman once explained the difference between this guy and me as being “When you are rejected and kicked down, you pick yourself up the ground, dust yourself off, and go on doing what needs to be done. Guy X whines and complains until another woman sleeps with him to get him to shut up.”Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        Saul,
        whining until your girlfriend lets you have sex with her is a valid reproductive strategy.
        Not that I approve, but tell that to Mother Nature (or Shakespeare!).Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        I don’t think the fact that male supervisors often are horrible temper-tantrum-throwers and can get away with it at the workplace more than women (usually) can is inconsistent with the claim that a male supervisor often can be soft-spoken without having to be “forceful” or “abrasive” or whatever adjective you can think of.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        I knew a guy who was very good at getting women to sleep with him by basically throwing temper tantrums.

        There might be more to that dynamic than meets the eye. Perhaps those particular women in question find the whining endearing? I also wonder about how something might seem like “whining” to one person and yet to another just might seem like being assertive about what one wants. (Also, whining seems a lot different from what comes to mind when I think of “temper tantrums.”)

        In my younger years, I often couldn’t understand what women saw in people who I thought were jerks or what you would probably call “bro dudes.” I later realized that while many of these people were indeed jerks and creeps, some of them weren’t. In fact, a lot of those people simply treated women well but to my hypersensitive/shy shelf seemed to me like jerks.

        I’m speaking in generalities, and I certainly don’t know the situation you’re referring to.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      “We expect boss guys to be gruff, anti-social, and to sometimes barely recognize their employees literally.”

      I don’t think we do. In fact, this seems like a pretty good description of a horrible and ineffective supervisor, manager or leader.

      “Bossy sounds a bit diminutive and almost like you are calling someone an Avignon Pope and that they are speaking with an authority that is not naturally theirs.”

      This. I think much of the double standards women face in the workplace start right here.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        Tod,
        one measures a company by how much it gets done, and how much profit it makes.
        If it’s able to do that, it doesn’t really matter how much work the bossman puts into it.
        There are a considerable number of companies without CEOs — the bossman literally doesn’t have time to be CEO to every company he owns.Report

  2. Avatar Mo
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t think this works. Wally’s low standards for his work and personal hygiene is an archetype owned by men. Roseanne Barr is an exception, but it’s one thing for Barr to pull that off and another for Adams to. Note the genders of the actors in movies like Animal House. Can you imagine making a Dumb and Dumber or Friday with two female leads?

    I would counter with Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. The archtypes owned by East Asians and Indians in the US is not that of goofy stoners, but the movie still pulled it off.Report

  3. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    “Can you imagine making a Dumb and Dumber or Friday with two female leads?”

    Isn’t this every movie Melissa McCarthy has made lately?

    I disagree that Alice is ‘bossy’ though I agree with the gender normativeness of both Wally and Alice. But if anything, I think Scott Adams has shown that Alice is clearly superior in talent than any of her peers (or her boss) but is kept at generally the same hierarchal level as Wally the Slacker and Dilbert the Charlie Brown *because* Alice is a woman. And of course, that frustrates Alice to no end.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kolohe
      Ignored
      says:

      Scott Adams has shown that Alice is clearly superior in talent than any of her peers (or her boss) but is kept at generally the same hierarchal level as Wally the Slacker and Dilbert the Charlie Brown *because* Alice is a woman. And of course, that frustrates Alice to no end.

      Yup, Alice is clearly the competent one and no one listens to her because she is a woman. Her frustration stems from a real source.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        I would argue, in the Dilbert universe, the reason that no one listens to Alice is probably because no one listens to competent people at all. End of story.

        Now, the rationale presented in any specific strip might be that she’s a woman, but they wouldn’t listen to her even if she wasn’t. The premise of the universe requires it.

        Of all the people who present ideas in Dilbert, the only people who are listened to are Dogbert and Wally, and both of them are listened to because they crouch their ideas in management speak. (And they are exactly the people that no one *should* be listening too.)Report

  4. Avatar zic
    Ignored
    says:

    My sweetie and I have talked about this a lot. His work experience has been that the male bosses have been difficult; assigning projects (computer programming) without realistic understanding of what was involved and measuring results by the amount of time he seemingly worked at it instead of the actual results. The women he’s worked for, on the other hand, understood the projects they gave him, had realistic expectations of the time it would take, understood that much of that time was thinking time, and were more interested in the results than the appearance that he was working on something. That said, the women he’s worked for were the best in the field (bio statistics), the men, must middle-management, coordinating customer service with a sales team.

    During all those years of writing software (if you get cancer, there’s a very good chance your doctors will use the software he wrote,) he also played music. You get a bunch of musicians together, and within 20 minutes, there will be the wisecrack about the chick singer. The only possible exception is if there’s a female vocalist in the room; and then, it may well be her, dissing some other chick singer.

    There are also the studies of classrooms, where the perception is that girls monopolize the conversation when they’re typically only speaking about 20% of the time.

    But there’s Carol Kaye, too.

    Report

  5. Avatar Troublesome Frog
    Ignored
    says:

    The notable things in my experience with women in engineering (with both my wife and I working in the field) are these:

    1) Women tend to get called out for being a bad “personality fit” for teams during interviews. An assertive personality that wouldn’t raise an eyebrow if it came from a man is a cause for concern and discussion in the post-interview wrap up when it comes from a woman. It has gotten to the point where I can see it coming. “Let me guess, you have some concerns about…”

    2) Even in organizations that work hard to be fair to women during promotion and evaluation, women tend not to get the types of career making assignments that men get unless they spend a lot of time with their managers managing their career trajectories. It’s not very noticeable in the sort run, but 10-15 years in, they’re team leads in charge of some obscure project that they can’t escape from because they’re critical and the equally capable men they came in with are in higher visibility roles and have been promoted ahead of them. Staying out of those career detours requires a careful balance between aggressively going after the plum roles and not seeming too demanding.

    3) I agree with what others have said about Alice. It seems like the character has a reason to be constantly bubbling with rage. I always thought it was a call out to the fact that competent women don’t seem to have their voices heard nearly as much as they should in tech organizations.

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard the word “bossy” but I think that’s primarily because it’s a word people stop using when they reach middle school.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Troublesome Frog
      Ignored
      says:

      @troublesome-frog “1) Women tend to get called out for being a bad “personality fit” for teams during interviews. An assertive personality that wouldn’t raise an eyebrow if it came from a man is a cause for concern and discussion in the post-interview wrap up when it comes from a woman. It has gotten to the point where I can see it coming. “Let me guess, you have some concerns about…””

      It’s interesting. Over the years I have found the same thing to be true about African Americans.Report

  6. Avatar Tod Kelly
    Ignored
    says:

    This seems too nice a post and conversation, so let me be the one sot start the flame wars…

    It’s interesting that when I hear people talk about stuff like this, it’s almost always in STEM-workplace contexts. I am starting to wonder if this is not coincidental.

    I don’t know that many people that talk openly abut females not being able to do X, Y or Z on the basis of their natural “qualities,” but I think that almost every single person I do know that does work in tech or some other STEM field. And this brings to mind a couple of questions…

    1. Why is this?

    2. STEM guys I know also have a habit of telling me that not only is STEM great, but that schools would teach only STEM and not non-STEM disciplines, this country would be a better place — and that if kids take non-STEM courses in college they will be turned into something lesser. I know that part of all of that is an economic argument, but I also think part of it is cultural. Now I’m wondering, are the two in any way indirectly related?Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      “It’s interesting that when I hear people talk about stuff like this, it’s almost always in STEM-workplace contexts. ”

      So it’s not something you’ve directly experienced, but you’ve heard stories. You haven’t actually seen a bunch of, e.g., rocket scientists standing around talking about how girls can’t handle rockets, but you’re sure that if you got a bunch of rocket scientists together there’d be talk like that.

      Maybe MRS could comment as well but I certainly haven’t seen it. I have seen as much respect accorded to women in my workplaces (and there have been several) as to men, and I have seen as many women in places of authority and responsibility–both technical and managerial–as men.

      So, y’know, “data is not the plural of anecdote”, but I’ll take specific anecdotes over appeals to unverifiable data.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      @tod-kelly

      As the resident champion of the arts and humanities on OT, I tend to agree.

      STEM guys or at least some STEM guys seem to think that they had the only really rigorous majors in undergrad and everything else can be BS. They also tend not to be impressed with a lot of what goes on as argumentation and proof in the arts and humanities side. There is a notorious prank of a physicist getting a “post-modern” critique of gravity accepted for a journal.

      STEM seems to have a lot of hazing at the undergrad level. They are graded on harsh curves and having a 2.7 in engineering could be like a 3.8 in English.

      But yeah, I agree that they seem to think nothing but STEM is good.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Everything else pretty much is bullshit (how else does one persuade people without inductive reasoning and statistical evidence?).
        However, that’s not to say it isn’t hard.
        Rhetoric is a very tricky subject
        You can teach a computer how to do STEM
        fairly easily. Teaching rhetoric is a lot harder.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @saul-degraw I’m actually talking about something different, and I’d be curious to get a non-Heffman-esque argument from the many people here who work in STEM that would explain to me why I’m wrong.

        What I was talking about in my comment is this:

        In my adult life, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a male attorney tell me that women just aren’t naturally good at being attorneys. And I’ve never heard anything similar from male chefs, musicians/entertainers, insurance people, white-collar misc., bankers or retailers. I *have* had one salesperson — a copier salesman — explain me that you can’t get a female exec to buy on things like “cost effectiveness,” because women don’t really understand things like that. But that was back in the early 90s, and he was drummed out pretty quickly because he could sell copiers.

        But I have heard a lot of people from STEM backgrounds — tech, engineering, and doctors — over the years that, while singular women might be able to do well, women in general just are not naturally gifted in their own industries in the way that men are.

        Now, am I saying that everyone I know in STEM jobs does this? No, certainly not — it’s a pretty small percentage. But I think there is something to the fact that whenever I hear “oh, women aren’t naturally good at careers in my industry the way men are,” it’s always — **aways** — from someone in STEM.

        Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that STEM people are more sexist than other people. I think it’s quite probable that in insurance or law there is an equal percentage of men who think that women are less capable at jobs in their industry as guys in STEM. My guess is that guys who think that in other industries have simply learned from experience and observation not to say those things out loud. But that still begs the question, what is it about STEM that makes it more immune to that that particular social pressure than other industries?

        And again, I am willing to be convinced I’m wrong about all of this…Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Tod,
        I generally don’t listen to folks who aren’t writing papers on what they’ve figured out, and who don’t do enough statistical research to figure out what they’re freaking talking about.

        That said, I have heard that in the main, women make relatively poor negotiators (unless you hold their feet to the fire, in which case they’ll be pretty effective), but better than average programmers and doctors and engineers (now, do you count me sexist for saying such?).

        I could get into details about brain chemistry if you wanted…Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @kim No, I don’t count you as sexist. I’m not actually saying a ‘women are better X jobs, men are better at Y jobs” is necessarily sexist. I’m just noticing what I think is a cultural phenomena, and asking for confirmation from people in the industry if what I’m observing exists, or is simply due to my own personal sample size.

        And since you are (I think?) a STEM gal, I’m chalking your answer up to a yes, I think?Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Tod,
        Chalk me up as a no, if you please. What I’m repeating is what a researcher was stating on his research material.

        Then again, I would figure guys would know better than to tell a girl to her face that women aren’t as good at science.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @tod-kelly

        I’ve heard of women complaining about the male-centric attitude that happens in many restaurant kitchens and how kitchens are kind of militarized.

        There are still plenty of stories about women getting not included from finance events thrown by big banks like Goldman Sachs because such events are held in places like strip clubs. In the documentary Inside Job, the filmmakers interview a madam about all the young (usually) Goldman guys who would come in and celebrate together. It is hard to do this behavior with women around especially the brothel thing.

        In The Making of the Atom Bomb by Richard Rhodes, there is a quote by Hans Berthe in the photo section. The quote was something like “Physicists are the Peter Pans of the Human Race.”

        Let’s say that many STEM types do see themselves this ways. Is it possible to be Peter Pan when Wendy is around? Isn’t the presence of Wendy a metaphor for growing up?Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I did my undergraduate degree in Biology (which is, granted, on the other side of the STEM spectrum from, say, engineering or math) and didn’t experience anything in the way of hazing. Certain departments – chemistry and math in particular – did grade in a way that was clearly deliberately geared toward driving out any weaker or less determined students; if the link Zic posted above is correct about women generally needing a higher GPA than men to feel they’re doing well at something, I can see that having an unintentional effect on gender balance.

        One of my friends did her degree in computer science; she didn’t mention any particular harassment, but she did find it rather uncomfortable to be the only woman in many of her classes.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Saul,
        http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Isidor_Isaac_Rabi
        you mean this guy?
        What he’s describing is fundamentally about keeping one’s brain flexible.

        Kat,
        I was in physics — no hazing here, our classes were small enough already! (@Pitt there was a hazing class, but it seemed to be such by accident. people would flunk and then retake it until they passed).Report

      • Avatar Guy in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @tod-kelly

        I’m an undergrad in physics, and I work in a lab, and I’m not Heffman, so maybe I can field this one. I’ve not noticed a remarkable deficiency in my female classmates’ abilities. There is, though, a remarkable deficiency in their numbers (a deficiency remarkably reversed in, say, my school’s writing major). In the year below me, it is the female physicists who are most active in the physics students’ group, so they are the ones I know. In my sample of ~4 physics classes, though, this is the exception, rather than the rule. The female physicist in ny year who I know best is worthy of note: she is the daughter of two physicists, continuing in a family tradition of research. She often talks about the sexism she experiences, though I can’t recall any specific examples.

        Among graduate students, genders seem to have about the same balance as in undergrad. I don’t spend a lot of time with the grad students, so I don’t know about their experiences with sexism. Faculty is heavily male dominated; I don’t know of any tenured female professors, though there are several in tenure-track positions. (One of these was, in fact, denied tenure around the beginning of summer. I’m not sure what will become of her lab or if she will choose to stay on).

        I’ve also spent a fair bit of time in the computer science department; I know of only one female professor in that department and her specialty is instruction.

        So that’s my STEM experience. As to the other conversation, it is a long argument I’d rather not get into.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @guy Thanks a lot for the perspective. (And I certainly understand that last part.)Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m not familiar with the US grading system – a higher number is a better grade, right?

        In my experience it was the opposite – I started in drama and graduated with a degree in computer science, so I took quite a wide range of classes. I found in comp sci, math, and natural science courses, it was relatively easy to get grades in the 90s – the work assigned has objective criteria for correctness; do the work or answer the exam questions correctly, and you get full marks. In drama, english, philosophy etc., there isn’t really anything you can do to get 100% on any assignment or exam.

        I looked on an 80% in a drama class with the same satisfaction as a 90% in comp sci.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        STEM guys or at least some STEM guys seem to think that they had the only really rigorous majors in undergrad and everything else can be BS. They also tend not to be impressed with a lot of what goes on as argumentation and proof in the arts and humanities side. There is a notorious prank of a physicist getting a “post-modern” critique of gravity accepted for a journal.

        I’ve known some STEM guys like that, but mostly at the undergrad level. And even then, there were plenty of non-Philistines among the STEMmers. And those who have made it to grad school–at least those I know–seem much more engaged with the idea of liberal arts.

        As a liberal arts guy myself, I dislike the strident, STEM, fish yeah! attitude. But they are right about one thing. Liberal arts classes tend to be easier. It’s easier for the typical non-liberal arts major to get an B in an upper-division history class than it is for the typical history major to get a B in an upper-division physics class. Mutatis mutandis for lower division classes. That doesn’t mean that liberal arts aren’t or can’t be rigorous, just that in practice, they often aren’t, or it’s easier to slide by.Report

    • Avatar Roger Ferguson in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      “I don’t know that many people that talk openly abut females not being able to do X, Y or Z on the basis of their natural “qualities,” but I think that almost every single person I do know that does work in tech or some other STEM field.”

      Lawrence Summers?Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      STEM guys I know also have a habit of telling me that not only is STEM great, but that schools would teach only STEM and not non-STEM disciplines, this country would be a better place — and that if kids take non-STEM courses in college they will be turned into something lesser.

      @tod-kelly , (and also @saul-degraw who says something very similar a few comments down):

      Is this really the argument you’re getting via STEM advocates? That students should take fewer non-STEM classes? Because my own support for STEM education is grounded in a strong belief in general education — and removing humanities courses would, to my mind, be just as damaging as the present absence of rigorous science and math requirements are.

      And, I think there’s a pretty simple reason for the sexism you experience from STEM people, Todd: lack of women in their professional circle. There’s nothing magic about STEM or the people who are drawn to it that makes it a particularly sexist field. I’ve seen the same attitudes from other highly-gendered fields (For example, while working in a grocery store, there was a strong feeling that women couldn’t handle being butchers, from a mostly-male meat department.)Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        Not @tod-kelly or @saul-degraw , but yeah, I’ve heard it from STEM graduates that English and history classes were a waste of time and money and they’ve could’ve been done with college in two or three years, and making their 60k in their first job (instead of the pathetic 20k those loser liberal art majors are making folding t-shirts at the Gap).

        That’s not even getting into the STEM advocates who think college loans and grants should only go to “real” majors and not liberal arts stuff.

        As for more “rigorous” math or science classes, I can see the point of why everybody should at least know basic world history and have some sort of background in literature. The world doesn’t need people like me or the HR lady at my previous job to know advanced calculus or how to figure out the size of a mole off the back of my head, especially since I’d hate every minute of it and likely bomb the class.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        @jesse-ewiak

        Why should everyone have a background in literature? I ask that seriously as a literature lover who finds non-lit readers irritating.

        And if not everyone needs calculus, a basic understanding of statistics and probability is something every participant in democracy should have, because we live in a probabilistic world.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        And analytic philosophy departments are known to be quite bad with respect to women too, so its not just STEM.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        “Why should everyone have a background in literature? I ask that seriously as a literature lover who finds non-lit readers irritating.”

        I’m not Jesse, but…

        I don’t think everyone should have a background in literature. Or rather, I think it would be a fine thing, but it should be required. But what we have here is a discussion about the purpose of a college education. Some people want it to be exclusively high level vocational training. Others hold to the more traditional view that the purpose is to be educated in a broader sense. The ideal is to be a well-rounded person, and this includes some introduction to literature. It also includes some introduction to STEM. Hence the requirement that the lit majors take some science classes, and the science majors some literature and history classes, to the dismay of everyone. (Well, not me: I had feet in both camps in college. But I was unusual.)

        I am actually surprised that no school has set itself up as pure STEM, marketing that it won’t make you waste your time on all that general education stuff. I would think that there is a market for this.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        Personally, I think everybody should be conversant in existentialism, poetry, video games, and professional wrestling.

        It’d make my conversations at work a lot more fun.

        As it is, I have to google football results and that totally sucks.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        I am alone in the midst of these happy, reasonable voices. All these creatures spend their time explaining, realizing happily that they agree with each other. In Heaven’s name, why is it so important to think the same things all together. It’s enough to see the face they make when one of these fishy- eyed men with an inward look and with whom no agreement is possible, passes them. When I was eight years old and used to play in the Luxembourg gardens there was a man who came and sat in a sentry-box, against the iron fence which runs along the Rue Auguste-Comte. He did not speak but from time to time stretched out his leg and looked at his foot fearfully. The foot was encased in a boot, but the other one was in a slipper. The guard told my uncle that the man was a former proctor. They retired him because he used to come, dressed up as an academician, to read the school term marks. We had a horrible fear of him because we sensed he was alone. One day he smiled at Robert, holding out his arms to him from a distance: Robert almost fainted. It wasn’t this creature’s poverty-stricken look which frightened us, nor the tumour he had on his neck that rubbed against the edge of his collar: but we felt that he was shaping thoughts of crab or lobster in his head. And that terrified us, the fact that one could conjure thoughts of lobsters on the sentry-box, on our hoops, on the bushes.

        Is that what awaits me then? For the first time I am disturbed at being alone. I would like to tell someone what is happening to me before it is too late and before I start frightening little boys.

        Now you understand existentialism: the fear that one day your very appearance will frighten little boys.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        @richard-hershberger

        I’m right there with you, down to the having feet in both camps (as a social scientist I co-teach a course with a chemist, and next term plan to co-teach one with a geologist). And I’d actually rather read literature than any of the professional material I need to keep up with.

        My only point is that if we’re going to be making an argument that “this one thing” is the one that that everyone ought to have–an argument I admit to having a little sympathy for–what is it that people in all fields and careers really need? I would argue that everyone ought to have some background in history, and in literature, but if I was commanded to make one and only one thing an absolute requirement for everyone, I would lean toward a basic understanding of probability and statistics.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        That’s why in the here and now, I try to frighten a little boy each day. Eases the transition and quells the anxiety.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        @james-hanley

        My own personal reason is that reading is fun and learning amuses me. I also think a knowledge of art, literature, and history produces a love for your fellow bi-peds, a sense of scope, that your struggles are not solo, and a sense of humility.

        Obviously your mileage may varyReport

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        Saul,
        I find such sentiments amusing, particularly in light of recently viewing Dogtooth.
        Be curious what you think about that movie, actually…
        (hey, you asked for someone to review less-commonly-viewed movies!)Report

      • Avatar Guy in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        @jesse-ewiak

        Since the argument’s started anyway…

        “As for more “rigorous” math or science classes, I can see the point of why everybody should at least know basic world history and have some sort of background in literature. The world doesn’t need people like me or the HR lady at my previous job to know advanced calculus or how to figure out the size of a mole off the back of my head, especially since I’d hate every minute of it and likely bomb the class.”

        STEM classes are essential to a well-rounded education for precisely the same reason that liberal arts classes are: they teach important, useful modes of thought that are not reliably transmitted by education in other disciplines.* Most critical in the STEM set is math: well taught, a basic understanding of calculus, probability, and number theory will give you a good understanding of what a rigorous proof looks like, what it means for two things to be correlated and how that correlation affects both of them, and how to make quick, effective decisions in situations where you do not have all the information (not to mention a solid numeric intuition, which is important in its own right). Engineering and science are the best place to learn how to just solve the problem. Both general classes of discipline will force you to look at a problem and simply try a solution, rather than giving up because you don’t know where to find the answer, and they will help you build your intuition for doing so. The scientific attitude is also very important; this is where good labs are critical (and where bad labs are horrifically detrimental): if you have a simple question, it’s good to be able to find a way for the world around you to answer it, rather than skimming a wikipedia article.

        These skills are just as important as the basic skills taught by history and literature, which I would say are the ability to write to be read and speak to be heard, the ability to understand why people do what they do (and that they do things for reasons), and the idea that other people react to their own and entire situations, not your situation or the slice of theirs that you can see. These skills are also often not taught well, if at all; the best that can be said of precollege history and literature education at the moment is that it is generally less bad than precollege STEM.

        *Of course, we teach them rather badly now, and thus frequently fail to teach those basic modes of thought, though people might manage to memorize numeric constant like Avogadro’s number.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        “My only point is that if we’re going to be making an argument that “this one thing” is the one that that everyone ought to have–an argument I admit to having a little sympathy for–what is it that people in all fields and careers really need?”

        If I might refine my position a bit, I don’t think there is one thing, unless it is “know something about your own cultural background and how it fits in with the rest of the world”. This includes literature, but also history and music and art. And yes, science: this is a huge element in our culture.

        The rest of the world bit means we need to include the World versions of history, art, etc., not merely the Western. (Persons from non-Western cultures should adjust accordingly.)

        If we still have room to add yet more, then I would put in that a vital element of being educated is being taken out of your mental comfort zone. What form this takes isn’t the point. Learn about something entirely different from what you come from. Liberal secular Jew? Study Christian fundamentalism. Your parents are both physicists? Study musicology. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. I’m not saying make it your major. I’m saying learn that there is more to the world than where you come from. This also is why campus diversity is, or at least can be, a real thing, and not merely political correctness. If you actually know someone with different experiences from yours, you have a better shot at escaping parochialism.

        An educated person is not parochial. If I had to give a definition of “educated” that could fit on a bumper sticker, that would be it. If you are parochial, you aren’t educated: merely trained.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        …if I was commanded to make one and only one thing an absolute requirement for everyone, I would lean toward a basic understanding of probability and statistics.

        That’s not a bad choice (although the mathematician in me says you can’t understand probability and statistics without material from basic calculus). Narrowly speaking, I’d settle for everyone having mastery of basic cookbook statistics. Say, they can explain the Monty Hall problem and understand what “test if these two samples were drawn from populations with the same distribution” means.

        More broadly, I’ve got degrees from both sides of the fence, and will cheerfully accuse both sides of a certain level of bigotry. I think that everyone who graduates with a four-year degree ought to have passed six hours of calculus (with certain substitutions allowed). I also think that everyone who graduates with a four-year degree ought to have passed six hours of honest-to-God composition (by which I mean writing, with feedback, and again, certain substitutions allowed). My bachelor’s degree in Arts and Sciences required me to take a foreign language and some number of hours from the humanities side of things.

        The biggest part of the problem is due to the inclusion of engineering within the traditional academic structure. Let’s be honest, a four-year engineering degree takes a lot of competent students five years, and some programs simply call it a five-year program up front. And some of the specialties are ridiculously tough; anyone with a BS in Chemical Engineering is a better student than I am. I still say the Chem E guy ought to take writing (and/or speech) because they need to communicate. I have a tougher time with requiring them to get hours in history, or a foreign language, or whatever.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        As far as math literacy goes, I’d be happy if everybody understood compound interest and got the gist of what this cartoon is all about. The world would be a better place.Report

      • Avatar dhex in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        “especially since I’d hate every minute of it and likely bomb the class.”

        i’m not sure “i won’t like it and might get a bad grade” is a particularly good argument for leaving something out of the concept of a well-rounded education.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      This is a remarkably aggressive argument for a pro-STEMmer to make. Not saying that nobody has made it – because somebody somewhere will argue everything – but the most strident pro-STEM arguments I hear tend to involve people choosing non-STEM majors. A critique I partially agree with. I didn’t take a single STEM elective, and loaded up on liberal arts as much as I could for every free class. Nobody has ever given me a hard time for it.

      I do think the STEM-for-all folks are misguided (which, again, I consider distinct from the STEM-only argument Tod has run across). I do advocate most people taking at least one programming course, but mostly for liberal artsy reasons rather than vocational. Not everyone can or wants to do STEM. Our economy isn’t built for everyone to do it. The STEM-for-all actually mirrors the college-for-all argument, in a way.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        “This is a remarkably aggressive argument for a pro-STEMmer to make. Not saying that nobody has made it – because somebody somewhere will argue everything…”

        Isn’t this essentially what Robert Heinlein wrote for years? That anything that isn’t based on math is simply bullshit? I was traumatized as a bright teenager that I wasn’t doing tensor calculus (or whatever) in my head, like those Heinlein characters about my age were doing routinely. It was years later that I reread some of the Heinlein juvies and realized what a crock this was.Report

    • Avatar gingergene in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      I have a degree in Engineering, but very little non-STEM experience. Here is a collection of experiences; make of them what you will:

      1) At my undergrad University, there was a reputational heirarchy of majors within the engineering realm: Electrical on top, Civil on the bottom. When Environmental was spun off from Civil as its own major, it fell below Civil. The ratio of female participation roughly tracked this heirarchy (i.e. Electrical had the fewest women, Environmental was the only major to approach gender parity).

      2) I never had a professor tell me women *couldn’t* be engineers (maybe saying this out loud is more for hard sciences?), but I did have one professor in my major who was irrationally hostile to women, to the point that even the guys noticed and wondered what the hell his problem was. He later became assistant department chair.

      3) In my Grad classes (where I was the only woman in my cohort), my Project Engineering professor did this thing where every time he talked about a project engineer in the third person, he would say “he…” make eye contact with me, “or SHE…”. It was a “doth protest too much” moment for me. I get it, dude. You want me to know you think women can be project engineers too. Here’s a hint- only one of us has ever doubted that…

      As I said, these are anectdata. My experience has been that when you are in the minority at least 3:1 (undergrad), 9:1 (current employer), or 18:1 (grad cohort), the little things are both more common and more wearing.Report

  7. Avatar zic
    Ignored
    says:

    My impression is that what she said is remarkable because she is the first person to say those things while also being Emma Watson.

    Much of the power of Watson’s speech came from her conveying her personal experiences. Snarkily, I suggest that beautiful women are mostly perceived as princesses; it’s difficult to imagine them experiencing the same crap regular, non-princess women with warts and all experience every day. Hard to imagine that they actually had to work hard to achieve their success (not to mention that being beautiful is, itself, a lot of work, which is why we accept so much slovenly masculinity, too much work.)

    I think Watson’s speech fit a distinctly feminine genre. (The link to Slate suggests this is a good form, there are feminists who hold some concern; particularly when women only get these sorts of writing assignments.) I’ve written here in this genre, and I have mixed feelings about it; on the one hand, it is powerful, it helps others to better understand the things women face. On the other, it’s revealing and discomforting, and my presence in the piece can actually distract from the topic; the woman herself becomes the topic, the gossip, for the crap she reveals, and not the crap itself.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to zic
      Ignored
      says:

      I think Watson to the UN might say more about celebrity culture than it does perceptions of women. It’s like how if there’s a Congressional hearing on farming or teaching, they always bring in actors that have played farmers or teachers to testify. Because if they didn’t, no one would care.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        I’ll give Watson this: she has more right to speak than most celebrities talking about random causes.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        Here, I reminded of the recent post on Rob Schneider; being a celebrity means you have a certain-something that attracts attention. Athletes on Wheaties and all that. I totally agree.

        I’m getting at a tangent, that Watson, in the role of her work for the UN as a celebrity, dipped into the feminine-personal genre, she talked about her own experiences being mistreated because she was a woman, and this is what sparked the nude-photo-release threat. It was very much a put-her-in-her-place reaction, that cheeky (read bossy) woman.

        It would be very interesting to go through those employee evaluations and try to measure how often people were criticized for bringing too much of their personal lives into the office; I think perceptions there might also weigh; she’s either too bossy or she’s too emotional, partly as measured by how much time she spends doing speaking in ways that invoke the feminine-personal genre.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        Paul Krugman had a very interesting take on this phenomenon in an editorial but from a more negative view point. It was basically about how star atheletes and celebrities are used to justify income inequality because they are really the only openly rich people that people have exposure to. Rich business people tend to guard themselves much more carefully and try live as hermit life like as possible to avoid public exposure.

        Celebrity culture originated from the way the press used to treat the 1% during the First Gilded Age. Before Hollywood and mass entertainment, a lot of what we would call celebrity gossip was supplied by what was than called Society. Debutantes were the 19th and early 20th century equivalents of actresses. Its almost like celebrity culture was invented to deflect people from the ultra-rich.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        “Rich business people tend to guard themselves much more carefully and try live as hermit life like as possible to avoid public exposure.”

        … with good reason. To meet some of these people is to dislike them. Romney in particular had practiced that to a high art.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        @kim and @leeesq , you’re on to something, but I think there’s a simple explanation:

        Society at large can only tolerate being exposed to the *first-generation* wealthy. Part of this is because we think that’s ‘fair’ and that inherited wealth isn’t. But that’s not the only reason.

        Another big reason is that the hereditary rich are, very often, completely entitled assholes.

        As for ‘Society’ and ‘Debutantes’…it used to be that those people could be carefully trained to present themselves in public, and the press would give flattering reviews of them and pictures of them. This has stopped working for various reasons (decentralization of news, everyone having cameras, tabloid journalism), and the hereditary rich have slowly backed out of public view. (And a lot of the hereditary rich are now ‘new money’ that wouldn’t know how to do that anyway.)

        In other words, it’s not ‘rich business people’ that guard themselves. I mean, they *do* guard themselves, physically, because, you know, kidnapping, but they’re out in public. Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Sergey Brin, Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, etc, etc. (My list is a little tech heavy, but it’s hard to come up with non-tech industries where billionaires just appeared.)

        Why do they interact with the public? Because they were raised in a normal environment, and can act like an actual human being.

        Same with *many* (But not all) professional athletes.

        Meanwhile, you get people like the Walmart heirs, which have vanished off the face of the earth as far as anyone else is concerned. You get the Koch heirs, who are wandering around in public, but the only reason anyone puts up with them is the wads of money they hand out left and right.

        This isn’t to say it’s a hard and fast division, of course. Shia LaBeouf seems a pretty good counterexample to ‘can act like an actual human being’, and there are families that have had money for quite some time (The ‘old money’ families) but have managed to keep training their children how to act reasonable to other people, like the Kennedys.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        David,
        The only reason anyone puts up with the Kochs is that people don’t know them well enough.
        If you ever go to a rich man’s playground, pay the fuck attention and you’ll probably learn something pretty damn disturbing.

        Rich people, by and large, have NO CONCEPT that they can’t just play with people’s lives for their pleasure. Or that they have to abide by laws that the rest of us do.

        “There once was a deaf man from Nantucket…”Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to zic
      Ignored
      says:

      Oh, no they don’t experience the SAME crap, they get worse stuff — trust me.
      Some of what you’ve written on this site springs to mind…Report

    • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to zic
      Ignored
      says:

      Much of the power of Watson’s speech came from her conveying her personal experiences.

      That’s something I probably missed by not watching the actual video. Until OT ups my research budget…

      Thanks for the Slate link. (Though I kept expecting her to explain why first-person confessionals are actually bad. That must be the first Slate piece I’ve ever read that didn’t rely on explaining why something bad is actually good or something good is actually bad.)Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    I also wonder if there is an issue where people assume that women are going to be more okay with lower positions and that a guy would not be good for a lower position.

    In the law school crisis, I’ve noticed it is easier for women with JDs to get lower rung legal positions like case assistant or paralegal or “JD-preferred” positions in things like grant and contract management. Very few people seem willing to hire men to do these jobs.

    One of my temp agencies directed several female colleagues from law school to grant administration positions at the same research institution (it is massive). I think I know at least 8 or 9 people working for this institution and most of them got it from the same temp agency and only one is guy. The same recruiter only sends my resume to lawyer positions and I wonder if there is something about being a guy that makes me seem like a bad fit for a position that is not JD. Maybe they assume I will be unhappy and just biding my time until an appropriate law position opens up.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      At big law firms, the less intense tract is often called the Mommy Tract so you might be on to something. Our cultural narrative states that aggressive pursuits of your career goals or at least working long hours at your job is a manly trait. Men without amibtions or drive are derided as bums and not really being men. Even if a particular calling isn’t likely to be financially lucretive, like the fine arts, we still expect men to pursue with a passionate intensity. Coasting is not looked upon well in men. Since the narrative about women traditionally tied their happiness and meaning to home and family and still does to a large extent, they aren’t expected to be as devoted to their work or job as men are. Too much devotion is actually suspect in women.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      @saul-degraw

      “I also wonder if there is an issue where people assume that women are going to be more okay with lower positions and that a guy would not be good for a lower position.”

      Related to that, my career for the last 15 years has been as an ‘administrative professional’. With my company, our administrative staff are either at the top of the hourly pay scale or at the bottom of the management pay scale, depending on what they do. It’s kind of the sweet spot where you have a good amount of responsibility, the perks of an office job, a degree of pull with the upper management, decent pay but limited exposure to the outcomes of poor management decisions. Like many companies in the U.S. this segment of the workforce is dominated by women. For example, my work group has ten employees who do the process writing for the entire country. There are three males and seven women. That ratio has been similar in every group I have been in.

      I think many women, but also some men, like those lower-tier positions because that typically mean more personal time. We don’t work the crazy hours and we don’t carry as much stress home with us. I made a conscious decision years ago to stay in that zone as long as I could, but I do often feel men get more push to keep moving up.

      As a personal complaint, what I have also noticed more and more is the way that office politics play out much differently with the women than the men. Squabbles over who has the best cubicle, complaints about project assignments, etc. They always seem to have far more drama than they should. In private the guys and our male management team tend to shake our heads and laugh about how silly it all is. Comparing notes to my wife and some other friends in the same field, it seems to be a consistent meme.Report

  9. Avatar ScarletNumbers
    Ignored
    says:

    Can you imagine making a Dumb and Dumber or Friday with two female leads?

    I don’t have to imagine it; it was called Romy and Michele’s High School ReunionReport

  10. Avatar PermanentGuest
    Ignored
    says:

    They’re at a greater risk of being called bossy…perhaps because they tend to overcompensate?

    This is a problem with anyone who is insecure about not being taken seriously and tries to put up a tough exterior. Why not just do the job without considering what they call you?Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to PermanentGuest
      Ignored
      says:

      That’s not what’s happening in my experience. It’s that saying and doing the same types of things that make a man seem engaged and passionate makes a woman seem overbearing and bossy. It’s a very real dynamic. There are piles of research on it and I’ve not seen much in my experience that convinces me that the research is wrong.

      Just “doing the job” without considering what people call you ignores the fact that in a workplace, people aren’t just calling you names. They’re deciding how much to pay you, whether to promote you, or whether you’re on the chopping block when it’s time to downsize. Navigating office politics and managing your career is often just as much about perception and interpersonal relationships as it is about actual productivity.Report

      • That’s not what’s happening in my experience.

        It’s precisely what’s happening in my experience, and in the eyes of many around me. I’d love to see the research though, as anecdotal evidence is apparently not enough here.

        Just “doing the job” without considering what people call you ignores the fact that in a workplace, people aren’t just calling you names.
        So instead of putting your work first, you should wear a fake exterior that turns everyone off and gets you called bossy? Isn’t that counterproductive.

        There are ways to play politics in your office. Speaking softly and carrying a big stick is effective. Shooting yourself in the foot is not.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Troublesome Frog
        Ignored
        says:

        So your experience is that everybody is being treated fairly and that the skewness in the numbers is because women in general are overbearing and aggressive to compensate for something? That doesn’t pass the smell test for me.

        I’d love to see the research though, as anecdotal evidence is apparently not enough here.

        For starters, what do you have to say about the Fortune piece linked in this story? Are those striking results just because women are failing really (really!) hard at basic social skills in the workplace? A systematic bias in the data? Something else?

        Then take your answer and see if it explains this result. Short summary: Randomly assigning female and male names to application portfolios for a lab manager position produced a significant difference in scores for competence and hireability.

        Human psychology is full of this sort of thing. Without putting in too many links, here’s another interesting one along similar but not identical lines.

        These are interesting and consistent results that show that we have a lot of expectations bouncing around in our heads, those expectations color what we think are objective assessments of data, and those expectations are not the same for men as they are for women. We like to think that we “don’t see gender” and that our perceptions really are objective measurements of the truth, but it doesn’t work that way.

        So instead of putting your work first, you should wear a fake exterior that turns everyone off and gets you called bossy?

        No, but if your real exterior is roughly equivalent to a go-getter man, you shouldn’t have to worry about being called bossy. You should be considered a go-getter just like the men are, and your pay and evals should reflect it. The problem here is that the same behaviors that “turn everyone off” in a woman are ones that people often admire in a man. Given that, it seems like the best chance women have to keep up with the men is to hope that one of the traits that people like to see in a woman are also traits that they like to see in somebody they promote and pay more money. I’m perceiving that not speaking up as much, not being critical of others, and not telling people what to do are high on the desirability list for a woman, but are they high on the desirability list for the next in line for the director of engineering position?

        I really need to clarify this, though. Are you really saying that the women you work with in general have fake, aggressive exteriors that turn everybody off? What do you do for a living, and are you 100% sure that’s not a perception problem? It just seems wildly unlikely. It’s like the old saying, if you met a jerk today, you met a jerk today. If you met 50 jerks today, you might be the jerk.Report

  11. Avatar Alan Scott
    Ignored
    says:

    The take-charge guy will be labelled a clueless dick and the take-charge gal will be labelled a bossy c-word.

    Scott Adams’s own words say it all.

    When people want to complain about a male manager they don’t like, they say that he’s being stupid about what he’s telling his employees to do. When people want to complain about a female manager, it’s enough that she’s telling them what to do.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Alan Scott
      Ignored
      says:

      Also, can we please at some point accept that Scot Adams hasn’t worked in an office for twenty years, and that what he has to say about them today isn’t particularly insightful or valuable.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        Maybe it’s just that I’m in the same kind of STEM office that Adams used to work in, but office dynamics today have changed remarkably little from 1995. That might possibly be because the movers and shakers of that period haven’t retired yet.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m thinking that a lot of what Adams wrote about is so built into human nature and group behavior that there will still be Dilbert cartoons on cubicles in another 30 years.

        I have to admit that I loved the Meeting Moth. WTF is up with those guys?Report

    • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Alan Scott
      Ignored
      says:

      @alan-scott

      Also, Adams doesn’t seem to acknowledge that there’s a lot of distance between the d-word and the c-word in terms of offensiveness. I find both offensive, by the way, even though I use the d-word from time-to-time. But the latter is in my estimation much worse and much more abusive.Report

  12. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
    Ignored
    says:

    Kind of off-topic but kind of not: I work in a majority woman workplace. Even at the top, women probably make up about 50 percent, and the percentage increases as you go lower on the hierarchy. Therefore, a “bossy” woman has a different connotation, although I haven’t heard the word “bossy” or “abrasive” to describe any female (or male) supervisor.

    Even in that environment, there seems to me to be a lot of male privilege. It’s perhaps not as obvious, but I do notice that people tend to defer to me in ways that I suspect they wouldn’t to a woman, even one who is better qualified than I am, and there are a heckuva lot of women (and men, too) at my workplace better qualified and smarter than I am.Report

  13. Avatar Shelley
    Ignored
    says:

    As our environment becomes increasingly corporate, the problem of trying to be a kind, ethical, tactful human being who is also a supervisor is going to become more and more excruciating/impossible.

    Corporations don’t care.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *