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Have you ever heard either of the following?

Women cops are mean because they think they have to be tough like men.     or
Women bosses are bitches.

Are all women cops mean? No, but some might be just like some men cops might be. I won’t use the word “bitch” to describe women here, so let’s restate the question: Are all women bosses belligerent, unreasonable, rudely intrusive or aggressive? No, of course not, though probably some are, just like some  men bosses are. We can’t generalize and say all women with power are this way. Stereotypes are oversimplifications of certain groups of people. Even what seem to be positive stereotypes are harmful, especially for women.

We might even say that under patriarchy, women are  are supposed to be docile, agreeable, to please men, dumb… and therefore, we all may expect women not to be assertive or to have any power. The very fact that some women are in positions of power goes against what we believe women should be, so when women are in power, we see them as aggressive (somewhat normal for men), harsh, or cheerleading (or in some other way different than men).

We all buy into stereotypes and when we do, we maintain the power structure as it is, which doesn’t work for any of us.

Forbes gives a pretty good list of stereotypes about powerful women, with photo examples that make the list simultaneously more interesting and more odd, especially with the examples that are real people representing the ‘negative’ stereotypes of women, but anyway…   Check them out:

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/lmj45hfkl/emotional/

They list:

1. ice queen
2. too emotional
3. single and lonely
4. Tough (and uncaring)
5. Masculine
6. Angry
7. Conniving
8 Cheerleader
9. Token
10. Weak

I have also seen and heard talked about: ball busters. I am not a fan of the Urban dictionary as it is often sexist and degrading toward women, but an already obviously sexist term like ball-busters seemed appropriately defined by them. I listed their first definition.

1) A woman (also affectionately called a bitch) who challenges the virility and dominance of a man by utilizing verbal abuse and/or by controlling social situations usually controlled by the men.

So #11. ball-busters

How are women supposed to be in the workforce with men at all? With all of these stereotypes, how can we ever think about advancement, be hired for any job that would ever be above a man, or question the authority and power that the patriarchal system has given to men?

Stereotypes like the ones listed make it difficult for women to even want to be in the workplace or participate in the larger society. But women have great ideas, drive, planet-changing abilities, AND want to work outside of their homes.

Think of all of these stereotypes and consider the following scenario:

A man and a woman are both applying for a job, they both have the same qualifications, who is more likely to be hired?

Even unconsciously, someone doing the hiring might think: The woman could be an icequeen, or mean and uncaring. She may be too emotional and just put men down or she may be too weak to get the work done. She may be a great cheerleader, but we need a serious candidate.

Maybe these aren’t conscious thoughts, but the patriarchal system has put the stereotypes out there and for the most part, we think they’re true, so probably the man gets hired. If the woman gets the job, people will say it was because of how she looks, because of some type of affirmative action, or because she can be paid less. What about because she was qualified and the best person for the job? And what about paying her the same amount a man would make doing the same job?

Another thing that happens is: men who are already in power and may hire other people who look and act like them. The phrase “it’s a boy’s club” exists for a reason.

Think of women who have been harrased on some level for being in powerful positions. Hilary Rodham Clinton, Sarah Palin, Michele Obama, Condaleza Rice, Anita Hill. Stereotypes encourage objectification, oppression, and harrasment of women. These women are just a few of the famous ones- what about women who are regularly harrassed for being in positions of power? The harassment of famous women in positions of power is the example for us all, showing us that women are not supposed to be in power. It’s like a threat: If you take any power, you will be harassed until you wish you hadn’t or until you step down. Under patriarchy, power is reserved for men.

People who are aware of the system, will work to hire an even number of qualified men and women and will try to set stereotypes aside.

Men and women both have these stereotyped perceptions. We all need to fight against them. Again, this is the system of patriarchy. It is not that men or women are bad, it is that the system is set up for some people to be in power over others. It’s time for this to change.

The year is about to change to 2112 and I’m going to be writing resolutions to change the world, one person at a time. It starts with me. It starts with us. Let’s do this! Spread equality for a more just world. Peace.

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