All Career Advice For Women Is A Form of Gaslighting by Ephrat Livni
If you’re a working woman, you’ve likely been inundated with advice about how to ensure that gender double standards don’t impede your brilliant career.
Assert yourself boldly at meetings in an appropriately low tone of voice, yet purr pleasingly when negotiating salary. Be smart but never superior, a team player though not a pushover, ever-effective yet not intimidatingly intellectual. Calibrate ambition correctly, so that none are offended by your sense of self-worth, but all seek to reward your value. Dress the part.
Inevitably, even in the most allegedly enlightened workplaces, women contend with subtle biases. And so the fairer sex gets the message that we can’t just work. We must also contort and twist and try not to seem bitchy as we lean in.
But the obstacles that come with working in a sexist culture are beyond any individual’s control.
And so advocating a do-it-yourself approach to on-the-job equality may actually be a kind of gaslighting—just one more way for institutions to deflect blame and make women question themselves and doubt their sanity.
It’s the society we operate in that needs fixing, not how we ask for money, the tone of our voices, or our outfits.
In fact, research by Duke University department of neuroscience professors Grainne Fitzsimons, Aaron Kay, and Jae Yun Kim, to be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, shows that overemphasizing messages of individual female empowerment diminishes people’s sense of systemic obstacles that require societal redress.
It puts major historic problems on the shoulders of individuals, who are actually minor players, they write in the Harvard Business Review (paywall).
Read more of that here.
Toxic Femininity, the Flip Side of Toxic Masculinity, and the Love of Scientific- Sounding Jargon to Endorse Sexism – Sexist Beliefs and Practices are Acceptable so Long As There is a Scientific Study That Defends Them