It’s amazing how ingrained the messages are in our culture about how women should behave.
In Sheryl Sandberg’s piece in the New York Times she explains why the Myth of the “Catty Woman” is exactly that: a myth. The fact is that we’ve all been told that the biggest enemy of powerful women is powerful women.
“…the popular idea is that women are not supportive of other women. At school, we call them “mean girls” and later, we call them “catty” or “queen bees.” (What’s the derogatory male equivalent? It doesn’t exist.)”
Why do we listen to these messages? Women lift each other up, support each other, cheer each other on. But even when there is competition it’s healthy and usually, as Sheryl Sandberg points out, because there is only one seat at the table.
Hopefully tokenism will fade out. The fact remains that when women lead, more women make it up the ladder, women are more likely to make as much money as men and companies thrive due to this healthy balanced environment.
“As more women advance in the workplace, queen bees will go the way of the fax machine…When a woman helps another woman, they both benefit. And when women celebrate one another’s accomplishments, we’re all lifted up.”
Powerful women are often held to a different standard than men and they are often judged on how “nice” they are. The stereotype of the woman in power with a load, booming, screaming shrill voice needs to be put to rest. Think about how Meryl Streep helped create the fierceness of the Miranda Priestly character in “The Devil Wears Prada”. Apparently when they starting shooting:
“everyone had expected ‘a strident, bossy, barking voice. So when Meryl opened her mouth and basically whispered, everybody in the room drew a collective gasp. It was so unexpected and brilliant.’”
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