Women of Power
Have you noticed a resurgence of women acting powerfully? It’s not like there hasn’t been a growing stream of upwardly mobile females in the workforce in the past 50 years. But the #metoo movement acknowledging what men have denied for decades if not centuries, growing numbers of allegations of sexual harassment, and apologies by contrite abusers has brought about a whole new level of conversation.
There’s only one problem: Too many women still think they have to act like men to be powerful. Conversely, too many men think they have to be bullies or assholes “to be real men.”
It’s not unusual. History is full of how the oppressed have overcorrected when they were no longer subjugated. Freed slaves have turned on their former masters, or worse, enslaved others. The poor have revolted against the aristocrats, and then started acting like the class they despised. Gays and lesbians have flaunted their private sex lives to heterosexual society, largely for effect. And, too many women continue to act like men to get ahead.
Studies down over the past five decades have proven the futility of this approach. Yes, today women become CEOs and make lots of money, but that alone doesn’t make them a success. We have evidenced-based, clinical studies documenting an increase in male-patterned baldness, hypertension, and heart disease, to name just a few issues, among women working in executive careers. But, here’s the real kicker: This way of life doesn’t work for men either!
Are we still playing stereotypes from 1957 that might not have worked for women or men back then anymore than they do today? I feel for women who are objectified in the board room. It’s a damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don’t situation. If a woman shows up in the corporate world dressed to the nines and wearing six-inch heels she’s accused of buying into what men expect (even if that’s what she wants to wear!).
But whether she arrives looking like she just stepped off the runway at a Paris fashion show or in a three-piece Brooks Brothers suit the result is still the same as soon as she asserts her power. She’ll be derided by men for being a ball-busting bitch (that’s a bad thing), yet if a straight man takes control he’s clapped on the back for being a bastard (and that’s supposed to be a good thing!).
Then there’s the woman who decides to be a homemaker, care for children, and support her wife or husband who remains in the workforce outside the home. It’s the opposite end of the spectrum, but comes under just as much criticism.
We can’t talk about women in power without acknowledging ALL the places women make tremendous contributions to our society. And, we can’t discuss women in power without talking about men in power, and why and how that’s different. It’s complicated, but worth the discussion, which ultimately leads to people in power and how we are each individually and uniquely able to express leadership, guidance, and hopefully, compassion.
We are challenged in the 21st century with new and confrontational ideas about gender, gender orientation, and what it means today to be a man or woman. Frankly, I find these discussions to be as exciting as they are challenging.
But let’s not miss the point:
Rather than figuring out why others are or aren’t expressing themselves, let’s be more mindful of who we are. How do you express power in your life? Or, where do you feel disempowered?
If you’d like to join in this discussion, jump over to my blog page by clicking here and make a comment!
P.S. Remember this: A woman of power is dynamic, unique, and a force with which to be reckoned – no matter where she is. Ladies … please … show us whatcha got in a way only you can!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Copyright © 2018 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
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