Saturday, May 16, 2015

Leaning In Is Bad For Women

When Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In was published a couple of years ago I posted several times about it. I suggested that Sandberg was offering a lot of bad advice, advice that was ultimately detrimental to women’s career success and even their relationships.

My posts may be found here and here and here.

This week Amy Alkon also debunked Sandberg’s concept, explaining that the Facebook COO was trafficking in ideologically driven pseudoscience.

Who knew?

She reports on the research conducted by Joyce Benenson, from Emmanuel College in Boston. Benenson just published a book on the difference between the sexes, “Warriors and Worriers: The Survival of the Sexes.”

Alkon summarized the results of Benenson’s study:

The upshot of the research on sex differences, Ms. Benenson explains, is that men evolved to be “warriors” — the defenders of the species — and are prepared to do physical battle and do battle in the boardroom in a way that women, the “worriers,” who evolved to care for vulnerable children, are not.

Men have far greater muscle mass than women, far more physical strength, and far more of the hormone of aggression, testosterone. Even very young boys show a love that girls do not of play fighting, of declaring an “enemy” to battle, and of weaponry—to the point where Benenson reports that they’ll shoot “bullets” out of a doll’s head if no toy gun happens to be available.

Of course, feminism is well aware of the disparity between male and female strength. It has decided, even mandated that any time you refer to a woman you must tack on the qualifier “strong.” Since strength is just another cultural construct, the more you say “strong woman” the more women will be stronger.

If it sounds idiotic, that’s because it is. The same principle has caused feminists to drone on endlessly about female empowerment.

These tricks might not have changed anything about a woman’s muscle mass, but now liberated women believe that they are as strong as men.

What is the psychiatric term for a shared illusion?

Folie à plusieurs….

In her book Benenson explored the psychological consequences of the strength difference:

Research finds that women are not only physically weaker than men but more fearful—from infancy on—and rarely engage in physical fighting. This makes sense, Benenson notes, as a serious injury could jeopardize a woman’s ability to have children or to live to protect the ones she already has. Women did evolve to compete—with one another, for male partners and for resources for their children. But they compete differently from men.

This means that women are not designed to assert themselves, to act as though they are strong… because they know it’s a bluff. Others know it too.

Women are more naturally inclined to share vulnerabilities:

In fact, research finds that women bond through sharing their failures and vulnerabilities—an essential bit of information that helps explain what Sandberg merely laments: women’s not proclaiming their greatness in the workplace and not finding it natural to just march right up and “sit at the table.”

Among the other pieces of pseudoscience is the commonly held belief—not a fact—that men are more individualistic and women are more communal. As I have had occasion to point out, compare the number of men’s sports teams with the number of women’s sports teams and you will reach a more accurate conclusion.

Alkon explains:

Although Ms. Sandberg, like other business advice writers, repeats the stereotype of women as “communal,” it is actually men who evolved to be cooperators in a way that women, ever-vigilant that another woman might get one over on them, did not. When men aren’t fighting each another, they are quick to band together against a common enemy. Or, after kicking each other’s asses, they’ll go and have a beer.


Ares Olympus said...

Well, all is good as long as you remember there's a bell curve going on here, and as well we can ask how many women want to be iron ladies after all?

But it does remind me of the divergent stress response theories:
1. Fight and Flight
2. Tend and befriend

So maybe its not just the Warrior vs Worries BUT also Cowards vs Caretakers? At least the letters match.

And if we say "Worrier" is the feminine weakness, and cowardice can be the masculine weakness, right?

So we can imagine a nice diamond shaped diagram. We'll put Coward at home-plate, and Warrior at 2nd base, both on the straight and narrow linear path the masculine likes.

Then I'll put Caretaker can be on first base (toward right field), and Worrier on third base (towards left field), as opposite lateral directions to "lean" for the feminine, but no fainting please!

Maybe I'll write a book about this great new theory someday, but I hope someone else does, since I'll probably think of a new fun theory tomorrow and I'll never come back to it.

priss rules said...

There is no iron rule in anything.

Leaning In can work if you got leverage.

If not, don't.

It's like acting smart works if you have wits. If not, you'll just look like a fool.

It's like acting macho works if you're tough. If not, you'll just pick a fight and lose.

So, if you're gonna lean in, make sure you have the talent that make you invaluable.
If not, they'll just see you as a pest and get rid of you.

Know your leverage before you do anything.

Nick said...

During the playoffs, the NBA has run these bizarre ads featuring some of the league's best players pleading with viewer's to "lean in for women". I don't know what it means, and I doubt many people do. Seems like a wasted opportunity.

Dennis said...

Leaning in is not going to help ameliorate all the damage feminism has done to women.

Even in NYC where the average single woman has slept with 18 men there is this desire to blame others and take no responsibility for their own actions. I am not sure that this is not training men to see them as throw away items. Why have respect for someone who seems to have little or no respect for themselves?
I realize that feminism teaches that women should be like the stereotypical image they have of men. The surprise here is that most men start out immaturely thinking that they are going have sex with a goodly number of women, but reality sets in when they, used to, meet so many nice women who demonstrate a self respect for themselves and a respect for their male counterparts. Even in sex there is a place where a far more meaningful place can be attained, but that requires respect which seems to be lost in an emphasis on animalistic behavior.
As I have stated before feminism has create the world most men, especially immature men and also immature women, thought they want and now find they don't. What women wants was never what women thought they wanted.
Success almost always depends on how hard one wants to work for it and what one is willing to give up in order to get it. This applies to women as well as men. Perpetuating a "victim" status is not going to get the respect a self actuated person will receive.
One day a significant number of people are going to recognize the singular importance of the word RESPECT.. It is the key to a healthy, happy and well lived life.

Dennis said...

One has to love Harold Bloom.

If one really wants to know how this all ties together: