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  • The Cattiness of Women

    Posted by Ginny on January 2nd, 2007 (All posts by )

    The Lehrer Report did a puff piece on Pelosi (Mark Shields’ glowing praise might suggest they’d gone over the top). But if issues like the Jane Harmen chairmanship weren’t mentioned, they did make me look twice at an A&L link to the “Queen Bee” syndrome.


    This is probably of little interest to the Chicagoboyz, so clearly boyz, but it does indicate a problem – both with women’s attitudes toward the women they employ and those employed toward their bosses. On the other hand, I feel quite lucky in my department chair, partially, I suspect, because we are both women of a certain age – when we speak, we understand each other, in more thorough ways than I (and I suspect she as well) do with much younger people or with men. Our allusions are not lost on one another, for instance. This is complicated territory and most of the time it is a good idea to assume something other than sexism is going on, but it is interesting, nonetheless.

     

    7 Responses to “The Cattiness of Women”

    1. david foster Says:

      The study was based on an experimental scenario using “705 participants living in southern Spain.” I’d be curious to know about who these participants were–were they managers and executives in real life, or not?

    2. Lexington Green Says:

      I have observed the phenomenon mentioned in that study with my own eyes.

      It is commonplace and only PC prevents it from being more widely discussed.

    3. Jonathan Says:

      The findings, based on experiments carried out among more than 700 people, suggest that the “queen bee syndrome” of female rivalry in the workplace may sometimes be as important as sexism in holding back women’s careers. [emphasis added]

      Translation: Everyone knows that nowadays women are institutionally favored as often as not, and that accusations of sexism not infrequently reflect either social-skill deficits on the part of the accusers or are themselves tools of intraoffice competition, but we’re too timid to acknowledge this openly.

    4. Dan from Madison Says:

      “…because we are both women of a certain age – when we speak, we understand each other, in more thorough ways than I (and I suspect she as well) do with much younger people or with men.”

      I like this quote Ginny and would go one further – that this would apply to an office with, say, people from a certain geographical region that understand each other. When attending national meetings I always find the scene in the bar after the formal presentations most interesting. The East Coast guys typically congregate with their own, as do the Midwest, Southerners, West Coasters, etc.

    5. Clifford Roster Says:

      there is always something going on that we in our concocted pretend deny to ourselves and seem unable to fathom so we decide that all is well and as it seems.

    6. Ginny Says:

      In re. to Jonathan’s note: A couple of weeks ago we saw Oleanna (another thanks to Netflix). What struck both my husband and me over and over was how stupid the two were in their interactions. But, then, that was not particularly unrealistic. People who get caught up in things like this generally have insufficient people skills. (Those who like – and many people do and did – Henry Cisneros complained that it was more his naivete that got him in trouble; certainly his partner seemed more adept at wringing money from him than would most.) Mamet can be riveting, though the movie looks like a staged play and,like that other academic drama, Who Killed Virginia Woolf?, the staginess lends it a pressure-cooker tension.

    7. Tyouth Says:

      “there is always something going on that we in our concocted pretend deny to ourselves and seem unable to fathom so we decide that all is well and as it seems.”

      A very nice sentence Clifford. It sounds Shakesperian (Richard III, maybe). My compliments in any case, but is it a quote?