My dream reader is women. All of them. All women. I want to talk to single, married, mom’s and not, females at work, females not at work, old, young, middle-aged. You see something has gone wrong. I am a feminist but I cringe at the word. Why would I want to cringe at something that says I’ve got just as much right to do something as everyone else does? What has gone wrong?
I read an article from Fortune.com titled, “The Abrasiveness trap: High achieving men and women are described differently in performance reviews. The author of the article was curious to see if review tone or content differed based on the employee’s gender? Including if the manager’s gender was a factor in how they reviewed their employees. The results that the author came up with was, “Men are given constructive suggestions. Women are given constructive suggestions — and told to pipe down.” It didn’t really matter if the manager was male or female. Then the article asks for change to quit calling women, bossy, abrasive, and aggressive.
Lean In had a similar campaign a few months ago, to Ban Bossy. I understood the campaigns goal, but as a parent, I felt the restraint of society removing a tool to correct my daughter when she was acting inappropriately. Moreover the media campaign was teaching her to talk back to me while trying to correct her. Not literally, my daughter grew up, but I could see this whole scene play out and it wouldn’t have been very positive.
I want to jump in to the new wave of feminism, but it seems like we are slightly missing the point, because these two examples don’t make me cringe any less. I cringe because I have worked for abrasive women. I cringe at my own abrasiveness. I have worked hard. I have fought to defend my parenting. I have fought to get it all done. Oh yeah, I have been abrasive. Should I be ashamed that there has been a time or two where I have cursed this gift to go out and work?
Instead of continually going to the men to say, don’t call us abrasive, or let me climb the corporate ladder. Maybe we need to address the abrasiveness? Think back a couple of decades ago. I can see women enter the male workforce. The men sit back, smirk and say, “You want to work? Well go ahead and work.” I see women trying to lead and the men not following. (Women in the past, did fight for us to work.) I see no one really teaching the women to lead. I see the women get abrasive while trying to get their crew to move.
On a side note, I see a whole other industry, built on teaching people to get others to be motivated do stuff.
Instead of trying to get others to do what should be done. What do we need to do ourselves? What I would like to see is a whole new movement of feminism, where we lead successfully as ladies. Where we don’t have to pretend to be men, or at least think we are acting like men. Where we go out and get our own paychecks and negotiate our own raises. Where we don’t need federal policy to back us up for equal pay. Where we don’t need to be bossy or abrasive to get things done. I want to see a time where we have true respect for the Mother.
My dream reader? Women who want to celebrate being female.