By Lisa Belkin
DON’T get angry. But do take charge. Be nice. But not too nice. Speak up. But don’t seem like you talk too much. Never, ever dress sexy. Make sure to inspire your colleagues — unless you work in Norway, in which case, focus on delegating instead.
Writing about life and work means receiving a steady stream of research on how women in the workplace are viewed differently from men. These are academic and professional studies, not whimsical online polls, and each time I read one I feel deflated. What are women supposed to do with this information? Transform overnight? And if so, into what? How are we supposed to be assertive, but not, at the same time?
Oh, heavy is the head that wears the crown. It seems like there are gender double standards going in both directions. If a guy is a disciplinarian, he’s tough. If a woman likes discipline, she’s a dominatrix. If a gal is hung-up on an old flame, she’s romantic. If a man is hung-up on an old ‘girlf,’ he’s a psycho or a Nancy. We could probably rattle these off all day long. The point is that anyone can achieve anything. There are going to be obstacles for a male baton-twirler and there are going to be obstacles for a female head of surgery (or head of state). Hillary Clinton is in a tough place. It’s hard for her to be a woman and a warrior. She has tried her best to walk that line and Barrack Obama can still accuse her of hiding behind her gender.