Saturday, September 1, 2012

Should Women Act Like Men to Get Ahead?

I read a bunch of articles about why women should act like men and they are posted below. Basically what these articles are saying is that it's better for women to act like women at work by using their emotional intelligence and abilities to get along with others! It may help them though to act like men in terms of negotiating their salaries before taking a job, exaggerating their accomplishments, and asking for raises and promotions. When women try to act like men to get ahead at work they are punished for violating gender norms by not being liked and not getting promotions (i.e., others think they are weird and they don't fit in). As one article mentioned it is better to show feminine and masculine traits when necessary at work and not behave the same way all the time. The articles seem to encourage being feminine but using those traits to be a new kind of emotionally-aware feminine leader. This is very pro-woman because it does not hold men's leadership styles as being the ideal and only way to be a leader and finds value in the way women do things. It also shows that some great male leaders sow traits that are usually labeled "feminine" (e.g., caring, cooperative, nurturing, kind etc.). This is the perfect example of where someone theorizes that something will be better (i.e., for women to be successful they have to stop acting like women and do what successful men do, it's just common sense) only to discover that in real life, and evidenced by research, it doesn't work!

But I have to note that all of these articles are about being successful as CEOs, managers, or in business environments where you are competing with others. These are jobs where you may have to work very long hours with great pressure and competition to climb the corporate ladder. But many women work in fields where they are not competing to make the best business deals, produce the most, or become leaders. There are some positions were you are rewarded for great social skills with customers or coworkers, where you are rewarded based on seniority not competition (just doing well enough and not getting fired will bring rewards), or everyone is at the same level and working somewhat independently. So these jobs are very different from someone on Wall Street who is competing for deals with other employees and trying to become the head of a company. So other than asking for salaries, raises, and promotions and boasting about achievements what is the benefit of women in these other fields acting like men? What if you don't work for a corporation or want to climb the corporate ladder at all?

I don't want to climb a corporate ladder but it's fine if others want to. I have my degree and designation so I just have to find a job and do it efficiently. I don't plan on becoming the head of the place where I work because that will entail more time, stress, and responsibility than I am willing to take on. I just want to work 9 to 5 and go home to a loving family. I don't plan on conquering the world or getting in the spotlight because that was more of a school thing and I'm done with that stress. My education will bring me respect and power and just having my job will do that. I guess I had a long and stressful academic career and now I'm done with it and I want to move on to my actual career with less pressure. I'm satisfied :)

For me, the biggest achievement in my life will be to have two, healthy, successful children and a long and happy marriage! Yes I'm serious. Having children period will be an achievement because many people can't do that and passing on genes is success from a genetic and evolutionary standpoint. Having healthy, well-behaved, well-liked, and successful children will also be a great achievement not just because I will love being around them. It's an achievement because so many people fail with these things including highly successful and influential people! I mean there are people who influence millions and own millions yet they can't keep their kids off drugs and out of jail (e.g., Paris Hilton)! They will be good kids because I passed on good genes and I raised them to be that way (of course they are the one's who chose to act like good kids. No I don't plan to live through them or be a crazy controlling mom). If I am able to produce children and they turn out well...I admit, that will make me feel better than many people way more than being in charge of a company or winning awards.

Furthermore, look at how much admiration society gives to couples who have been married for a long time! Those people are admired because they were able to do what so many successful and influential people have been unable to do--maintain a long marriage and intact family. People say these couples are lucky to have found love with someone compatible, dedicated to making things work, and it's assumed that the woman is a good wife and the man is a good husband. They must have good relationship skills or just have something that keeps the other person around (can't say the same for MANY beautiful and successful people like Tiger Woods, Halle Berry, Heidi Clum, Tom Cruise and so many "regular people" too). Great kids and lasting and loving marriage are status symbols that actually love you back, keep you company, enrich your life, take care of you, and keep your legacy going. These are things no house, car, job, or degree can ever do. For these reasons my family will be my #1 priority not my job. The jobs of wife and mother are for life. Just think about this, if you lost your job one day you might be devastated, feel depressed, and think the world isn't fair but you can get another job, maybe even a better one. But what if one day you lost your husband and kids...that would be much worse and that is why they are always more important than your job. They can never be replaced with the same people you love and that is why they should always be the most important parts of your life.


  1. Don't want to be harassed? Stop acting like a man
  2. Should women act like men to fit in? (maybe if you want to be a CEO on a boards full of men, but if not why bother? Why is acting like a man to be successful at work ok but being more ladylike to be successful with men is called fake? I mean you live, sleep, and procreate with your man not your job. Shouldn't you train and improve your skills to fulfill the more important job of wife? Yes there are good wife and good husband skills that some people just don't have. If just being yourself was enough then everyone would be married and there would be no divorce)
  3. Should women act like men to get on?
  4. Should women act like men to get ahead? (interesting to note that 57% of men but only 7% of women in the study negotiated their salaries when hired...maybe that's why some men earn more? Article encourages women to exaggerate their accomplishments)
  5. When a woman should act like a man (so women who act like men are seen as more competent but deficient in social skills so they are less liked and promoted. The most effective women used masculine traits when necessary but not all the time and this requires self-monitoring/self-control and not just "being yourself")
  6. For women it doesn't pay to be nice (being agreeable pays less but working hard pays more. I'd rather make less, get along, and go home to a loving family than earn more, not have friends, and work 80 hours a week. I choose less stress and more sleep and free time over money)
  7. Do you have to act like a man to succeed in business? (women should embrace their natural emotional intelligence)
  8. Worst advice for women: Act like men
  9. Secret of successful women is femininity: (women who take aggressive approach at work less likely to be promoted, very interesting! "The bossy women who made a conscious effort not to appear too threatening by ‘self-monitoring’ their behaviour had done better than those who had carried on regardless.")
  10. Is there an advantage to thinking like a man? (opinion piece)
  11. The next-generation of female leaders will emerge at a faster pace when women stop trying to 'act like men': I want to know why acting like men is seen as so great and I want an answer to this question as well, "But this is what I, the next-generation thirty-year-old female that I am, would like to know: by denouncing femininity within the workplace - in lieu of simply encouraging leadership skills - are we making things more difficult for the next generation of female leaders who are comfortable within their own skin? Can women be themselves and become leaders?"
  12. Why don't women act more like men at work?
  13. The essence of femininity: LOVE THIS POST!!! I agree with everything in this post it is definitely a MUST READ!!! I'm going to post a link to Hooking Up Smart because I have really liked some of their posts.
  14. Feminism vs. Feminism (interesting)


  1. Honey you're one of the smart ones lol. Women have been bamboozled and tricked into thinking we can have it all. I am yet to meet s successful woman who acts like a man, making a lot of money and having a happy family/home life. It's impossible to balance both. And men who marry these career driven women, well most of them end up regretting it. Do you know that if you're in a high stressed job and making a lot of money, probably more money than your husband, that the chances of your husband cheating on you is doubled?

    I do not believe in this acting and thinking like a man. Maybe it works for some women who are not interested in getting married and raising a family. And like you said, maybe it works for women working in a certain field. I know it doesn't work because I too had read similar articles in books and magazines encouraging women to act like men and be independent and me being naive, applied this toxic advice to my life and it has not benefited me one bit.

    And as a black woman, the last thing I need is someone telling me I should act and behave more masculine. I am trying so hard to get some of my friends and family members to be more feminine because they too have been tricked into behaving like men. The first article you linked rang so true. When a women acts masculine in the work place she is more vulnerable to harassment. I had the same problem. The men you work with will disrespect you and it's not just because you're a woman, men do it to other men. As for me, I will continue to act feminine and girly because when I do and someone tries to harass me, then other people will empathize with me. I will close by saying that we should all boycott the people who are telling us to be more manly. That's why I haven't read that Steve Harvey book that so many black women are reading. What was it called...something like act like a man think like a lady or think like a man act like a lady pfft I don't know but I'm sure you've heard of it lol.

  2. Hi do you mean model Jessica white? I don't think it's Karen White.

  3. Lol thanks Anonymous, I changed it :0

  4. Act like a man, Think like a lady, bark like a dog, rattle like a snake.... puh-lease! Women and that goes double for black women should not take such offensive advice a la Steve Harvey. It's simply counter productive for us to do so. I personally boy cotted the movie, and all my family & friends knew it. I flat out refused to spend my precious dollars partaking in such belittling nonsense.
    BW have enough social & societal pressure as is, just by virtue of being a BW. BW especially AABW have been held up as being societys "anti-woman" or least desirable because of our potrayl in the media & ultimate following suit.
    To be a truly feminine BW that does opposite of the cultures view of us will truly get us far.

  5. Hi Shae,

    Oh I haven't read that book or seen the movie. I would rather trust a professional than a comedian. I agree we have to much against us already to be choosing be more masculine and having that used against us. If someone says I'm not smart or not a lady then I will prove them wrong, not for them, but for me because being intelligent and a well-mannered person is beneficial to my life. I don't know why people aren't motivated to prove stereotypes wrong.

  6. Yeah, I never liked that "Act like a lady, think like a man" nonsense. What's wrong with thinking like a lady?

    I've always been that strange girl in support of equal rights for women while maintaining what makes us uniquely womanly. I'm not an aggressive person, nor do I ever want to be. Yes, I want a good career that I like (instead of working at McDonald's or something)--but I also want a family that I can spend ample time with. I've seen my parents both work extreme hours and I personally don't want that for myself.

  7. Now if Steve Harvey "wrote" a book called, "Think like a lady, act like a lady" only THEN would I care to take a look, lol.

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