The successful women quarantine
Secret thoughts and fears of successful women; is a subject that for some specific reason started to invade the internet. Day after day I have been reading posts with titles such as: “Are single women too successful and intelligent to find love?”, “Ladies, the Smarter You Are, The More Likely You Are to Be Single”, „How 3 Successful Women Stay Grounded”. These wannabe articles are about women but somehow they are more likely promoting men and the consequences women have to face each day, due to men’s outdated thinking.
Whether we like it or not we have to accept the fact that successful women in the workplace or in life in general are viewed differently, from men that have the same or lower amount of success in their carriers. Why? Because 40 years after women entered the work force in large numbers, the default mental image of a leader is still male, and for some reason men can’t cope with the idea that there can be women who earn more than them and that doesn’t necessary has to be scary or intimidating.
Researchers such as Joan Williams, who runs the Center for WorkLife Law, part of the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, wrote the book “Unbending Gender” and she, too, has found that women are held to a different standard at the workplace.
However, it is evident that as society grows and changes the issue of how men and women interact is an ever evolving and complicated one. Still, there are many men who are attracted to strong, powerful, influential and successful women. They see these traits as contributing to the complexity of that woman’s character and personality but it is rather hard to find such men who think this way. Either biologically or sociologically men have it ingrained in their minds that this is a competition.
After lots and lots of research and reading post after post about the same subject, I realized that all of these articles have one single aim that is to hold back women. A new study confirms this that was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. It giving credence to what successful, single women have been saying for decades: men are intimidated by women who are achieving more in their carrers then they do. The study, “Gender Differences in Implicit Self-Esteem Following a Romantic Partner’s Success or Failure,” was co-authored by University of Florida psychology professor Kate A. Ratliff and University of Virginia psychology professor Shigehiro Oishi. The discovery and conclusion of the study was that men’s self-worth — or self-esteem — disproportionately suffered when they perceived their female partners to be successful. That proves the fact that such behavior form the part of men exists and continues to be a problem.
Even if the possibilities for success are there to women to take, but are not flexible enough so they can truly embrace it. We fought for our rights to wear pants, smoke in public and vote, but none of us should be fighting for something as simple as enjoying our own success in life. If we start to think about it, we realize that the problem is with the perception, not with the woman. The outdated perception that a women’s job is to clean, cook stay at home and raise children. Those days when a women had only these things to care for are over long ago but that doesn’t mean we have left behind all these responsibilities, we have only reached out for a new goal that is to have a successful career without feeling bad for it. The aim here is to contribute to society not to become an intimidating social outcast.
That brings me to my next question. Is there a gap in intelligence —not gender — that causes this kind of intimidation? One thing is for sure, strong, aggressive, ambitious people intimidate weak, passive, people, but why is this focused so much on working women?
To me it seems like that women who spend their time and energy on trying to accomplish other goals in their lives are somehow being punished for not focusing all their time on the old “have to do” lists and relationships.
We should encourage all women to choose the path that leads to a successful career; not make them feel that their success comes with the price of being avoided. In the end men have to face the facts and realize that the intimidation part is not the woman’s fault but a problem that men need to deal with by becoming more accepting of change. Because at the end of the day, the main conclusion is that, women want to enjoy their success not apologize for it.
By Széplaki Zita