This article makes me angry. On the one hand it’s telling women to be more confident and just “act”, on the other it is admitting (rightly) that: “When women do behave assertively [telling that the authors didn’t use the word “confidently” here], they may suffer a whole other set of consequences, ones that men don’t typically experience. A host of troubling research shows that they can still pay a heavier social and even professional penalty than men do for acting in a way that’s seen as aggressive. If a woman walks into her boss’s office with unsolicited opinions, speaks up first at meetings, or gives business advice above her pay grade, she risks being disliked or even—let’s be blunt—being labeled a bitch. The more a woman succeeds, the worse the vitriol seems to get. It’s not just her competence that’s called into question; it’s her very character.”

So quit putting more pressure on women to “act” [and then get fired] and put it on society to accept confident women!


  • ClintJCL i think acting is a precondition for acceptance; it won’t just come out of thin air. some people gotta take one for the team and prove people wrong. Not that that’s fair…“Wanna play the civil rights board game? You never win; you just do a little better each time.”
  • [RANDOM DUDE] I think it’s a very interesting article… Although there is no single cause of the achievement or pay gap I do think they’ve hit on a huge one. In my experience it’s true that women are on average less confident… Less willing to be wrong, more measure and certainly more risk averse. In some ways these are strengths (as with the noted finding that women are better hedge fund managers due to making fewer moves). But like it or not, people make their opinion of you in large part based on your opinion of yourself… I think part of the issue with current reactions to assertive women is that its not common enough… If more women were assertive in the right ways that change would be normative.
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith Right, but you’re neglecting the fact that a lot of women started out assertive and were effectively punished for that, so they’ve learned not to be.
  • [RANDOM DUDE] Okay what if this was civil rights, and it was the 60s, and you were essentially saying ‘blacks spoke up for their rights, and they were punished for it, so they stopped doing that.”
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith I’m not saying we (women) shouldn’t speak out, I’m saying that there are a lot of bigger issues at play. Speaking out doesn’t just fix things when the problem many people have is with women speaking confidently in the first place. There needs to be a larger campaign targeted to the people who react poorly to women speaking out. Let’s take civil rights – there were laws that were passed, rallies that were held, etc. to hold white people accountable/create change. No one in the working world is really being held accountable for, say, punishing a woman by cutting her hours because she recommended a policy change; or firing her because she is perceived as “pushy” when a man would not be; or getting angry and cutting her off and telling her she doesn’t “get to make decisions” when she’s just trying to explain best practices in her field, while a male colleague (who is an idiot and does not work in her field) is allowed to speak about these best practices, which he does not understand (true story, happened to me a couple of months ago)…
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith It’s a very complex topic and it requires more open conversation, I think. And until you’ve been a woman working with misogynistic men (and women) it’s difficult to understand. But I would be careful in assigning the majority of the responsibility to women. That puts it on their shoulders, and this is something that is very deeply societally ingrained, something that individual women cannot fix just by speaking out, even if a bunch of them start doing so at various jobs…
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith I can tell you from my personal experience that they will likely get silenced and then fired first, before that strategy works to bring about some sort of revolution. Ha.
  • ClintJCL Nobody is protecting men from having their hours cut because they recommended a policy either. Repercussions for standing up for yourself is not a problem unique to women. If anything, they are the largest majority (since they are actually a majority!), so they should have the easiest climb to rights of any oppressed group. But oppression in general? Same for everyone. Obviously the specific instances aren’t the same (for any 2 things, ever), but it’s the same shit: People treat you worse because they judge you.
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith What I’m trying to say is that you are told as a woman everyday, whether verbally or nonverbally, not to piss people off at work. I’m told that I am “the new girl” and I am “in a service role” and I need to “make people like me” and I need to “not talk” etc. etc. If I speak up I’m told not to, quite often (now granted, my current boss is an ex-military pig). But even at previous jobs, being a woman, and a young woman, with a strong professional opinion that is stated professionally, makes you a MAJOR THREAT. I’ve been fired for doing my job countless times. One time I was told that it was because I was “like a bulldozer” in the way that I delivered information (straightforward, as I was asked, in an [WORK RELATED REPORT] that I was asked to write for the sole purpose of [PURPOSE THAT REQUIRES STRAIGHT-SHOOTING HONESTY]). I was once told, before quitting a job because the female boss was so brazenly bitchy and wanted complete control over her female staff, that I should not have spoken up in a meeting when I was told it was my turn to speak, and that because I argued with a male colleague (who was very argumentative), I did not play well with others. Etc etc. List goes on and on…and I doubt all of these things would happen if I were not a female. So Clint, please spare me the “men and women face the same challenges in every arena” thing…that’s just nonsense.
  • ClintJCL Everyone is told not to piss people off at work. I can’t speak to communications-specific roles, though, but I don’t know of many jobs where you are told to piss off your co-workers. Your situations aren’t unique to women. They are unique to people. Of course your specific situation is unique, by definition, but I’m pissed on very frequently as well…..But the difference is I don’t get to play gender-victim when it happens to me. I blame it on assholism, which is a root cause to patriarchy *and a whole bunch of other shittiness*. It’s generally better to strike at the root cause of problems, rather than go for the leaves.
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith Clint – read the study reflected in the article for gods sake. What I’m describing (perception of confident women as bitches) is scientifically proven!! You have nothing to offer to these conversations if all you offer is denial. Furthermore, I take offense of the use of your term “gender victim” and your devaluation or my experiences, which you as a man will never experience.
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith Take a fucking women’s studies class for cris’sakes! Do something, because at this point you sound as out of touch as a climate change denier or something..
  • ClintJCL Let me know when you can climb to the top of the pyramid and, y’know, communicate (wasn’t that your major?) instead of just calling names. Here’s a handy reference:

    Did I offend you by delivering information straightforward? Perhaps how you’re feeling now is how you made your co-workers feel? By throwing a temper-tantrum you validated their similar reaction to you.

  • ClintJCL Seriously – I stated my opinion and analysis of things. You threw a temper-tantrum. Isn’t that exactly what you were just complaining about? People reacting crazily to iconoclasts? If you’re this intolerant of someone stating an opinion matter-of-factly, are you possibly exhibiting the very behavior you’re complaining about?
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith I’m not intolerant and I didn’t throw a “temper tantrum” ya nut. I’m telling you that you’re out of line, offensive, and ignorant with your opinions.
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith It’s not like I’m deleting them, even though they’re getting more and more personally offensive. Go take your shit to a message board where ppl enjoy arguing with you. I don’t!
  • [NICER FEMALE] Cool story bro
  • ClintJCL You’re absolutely intolerant if me stating an opinion makes you call me out of line, offensive, ignorant, “your shit”, and “ya nut”, without giving any reasons or justification.That’s absolutely a temper tantrum — though maybe you threw one becauseI accused you of that, which is something I do (if you blame me for X, i’ll then do X even if I hadn’t before).You also seem to be misconstruing what I said as “women have no problems unique to women”. Of course they do. But every human being has problems unique to that human being.

    The specific scenarios you describe – being shot down for arguing with people, pissing people off, or stating items matter-of-factly/like a bulldozer, even when asked (which describes me as well) – These are all things that happen to me. Every. Single. One. And I’ll get shot down by my female boss.

    Throw as many temper tantrums as you like, but the specific scenarios you described are not unique to women. Instead of addressing the assholism that affects 100% of us, you want to whittle it down and only advocate for your half. That makes you as insular as any sexist patriarch.

    I’d suggest taking another look at the pyramid.

  • ClintJCL Huh? Are you construing temper tantrum to be some sexist term that is only used against women? Because going to all caps is just tantruming harder.
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith No. I’m “construing it” to be the way you speak to a child. I won’t have this argument with you any longer. You are way too patronizing to be taken seriously.
  • ClintJCL Now tell me why the situation of getting cut down if you argue with people or piss off the wrong person is a problem unique to women. Ever since I’ve left a comment saying it isn’t, you’ve left 1..2..3…4…5…6 comments insulting me, but never refuting what I said.The message that sends to me is that you are unable to refute (top of pyramid), so you instead call names (bottom of pyrami