Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why a woman can't be more like a man

Thanks to Margo for sending me this article last week.

In response to Clay Shirky's "A Rant About Women," Kate Harding wrote this piece answering the question of why a woman can't be more like a man. The "manly" qualities they are talking about here (loosely) are confidence/arrogance, stubborness, and ruthless ambition.

Clay Shirky writes, "...it would be good if more women see interesting opportunities that they might not be qualified for, opportunities which they might in fact fuck up if they try to take them on, and then try to take them on."

Kate Harding's response is that 1) women are often punished for acting like men (they are considered frigid bitches and still not given recognition), since everyone expects them to act like women and 2) it shouldn't have to be the case that women have to act "like men" to succeed. She writes, "So no it's not like I think Shirky's giving out bad advice here... I want a better world for women who don't have a 'screw you' streak a mile wide, too. The other part, the much greater part, involves recognizing what happens to women who 'act like men' -- i.e., who act like they deserve respect, fair pay and acclaim for good work -- and calling it out until it stops."

For most of my life I've received advice along the lines of what Clay Shirky says and I haven't thought much about Harding's argument, but Harding makes good points that are worth thinking about.

1 comment:

Marie Emanuel said...

Great food for thought!