As a keen observer of what happens around me, I noticed that on many occasions society has some double standards regarding women, which make our lives quite difficult at times, especially at work, but also on a personal level.
For example, I’ve seen from the interactions around me that when a man fights to sustain his argument he is often seen as strong – people expect that kind of reaction from guys. But in the same discussion, a woman is expected to be nice, sympathetic towards others and seek the middle ground to make everybody happy, instead of fighting in the same way.
But, when a woman doesn’t speak up for herself in an argument, she is likely to be perceived as weak. If she speaks up however, she has high chances to be seen as having diva-like behavior. The effects of this behavior are most visible professionally but affects personal life quite a lot too.
Also, when a woman is angry, rumor has that she’s in period of the month. (sigh and sigh some more…) but when a man is angry, people don’t find it so unusual or give it such a bad vibe.
And the examples can go on.
It makes me very happy to observe that more and more young girls today are witty, opinionated, they fight for their rights and their beliefs, will not take no for an answer and will not accept someone’s arguments only because the discussion partner is a dude but because he might actually have a point.
I’ve noticed that society changes. Slowly, but it does. In some (possibly quite many) years from now the same society might expect women to fight more for their rights and beliefs and be opinionated instead of just being team players and mediators.
In the light of my blunt introduction above, I feel I need to mention this: I do not hate or dislike men. Not at all. Most of my friends are guys. I am married and have a son.
So what do you do you were raised to be the nice person in the room, even when you don’t feel like it? How do you handle the moments when you feel you are at disadvantage? Please let me know.
My advice is to aim to be very good at whatever it is you are doing. People can gossip regarding your gender, looks, finances, sexual preference, opinions but results are harder to dismiss.
Here is a list of suggestions:
1. BE MORE CAREFUL HOW YOU REACT WHEN ANGRY
When they are angry and shouting, guys have a scientifically proven advantage: their deep voice. The male voice goes has a low frequency and the woman voice goes into goes into a high frequency.
What does it all mean to be more procise? It means that a woman’s voice when shouting will sound quite bad to the ears because of the high frequency of the voice and will make people wanna keep distance instead of listening what the person has to say. A man’s voice will get people’s attention because deep voices are well…more attention catching.
So how do we get past this disadvantage (when you can, cause if you’re really angry nothing will actually matter in that very moment) I use a thing I call cold anger: I raise my voice just enough to be noted that I did it, but not so much as to shout. And I try to present my argument by looking my discussion partner(s) in the eye, talking slowly and articulating carefully each word. It works better if you can control yourself to not use a lot of gestures so that people will listen to what you have to say and not be distracted.
2. DON’T APOLOGIZE WHEN YOU”VE DONE NOTHING WRONG
Women tend to apologize much more than men, even when it’s not their fault. If you’ve done something wrong, then you need to apologize and that’s that. But unless you should really be sorry for what you just did, don’t say that “S” word.:) Why? Because saying you are sorry all the time says you’ve done something wrong. And especially in the work environment, people who leave the impression they make mistakes all the time are not seen very well.
3. DON’T ACCEPT TO BE TREATED BADLY
Women tend to accept bad behavior from others just to calm the situation and not upset others. I’m returning to my earlier point that many women were taught since childhood to be nice, accommodating and develop strong motherly traits like always taking care how other people feels, even when it means accepting not OK behavior like screaming or not so nice words: because the other person was angry but they are good people, because they are the boss, etc.
If someone treats you badly, be firm, polite and refuse to accept being treated in a way you don’t like. If you accept to be treated badly by someone, other people might think it’s acceptable and might do it too. Plus: your self esteem will not be doing very good in time. We can’t change society perceptions overnight, but starting to say no in a firm positive way is a good place to start.
4. UNRELATED TO THE PREVIOUS POINTS, BUT EQUALLY IMPORTANT
Not really related to the points above but I find it worth mentioning: women are not expected to be good in male dominated fields, driving being one of them. So I feel most women “rise” to the expectation. I don’t know about you, but I’ve lost count of the jokes and and stories guys (mostly) were telling about the bad driving habits of women (from the way they behave in traffic to the way they park).
If you have a car and don’t feel comfortable driving it, go drive alone (so you don’t have a nagging someone around telling you what you do wrong) around the city when you can so you can get better accustomed with it. Try “feeling” the car, its size, how it reacts when you drive it, how it feels when you make turns. Try this until you feel comfortable climbing a hill or getting out of a tight space. Go to a supermarket’s parking lot when it’s empty to practice parking. You don’t have to become the next Michael Schumacher of the city roads, but if you’re driving, please do it right.
PS: 3 effective budgeting tips to save more money each month