From The Workplace To The Presidential Stage: The Pressure For Women To Be ‘Non-Threatening’ Needs To End

pressure at Work

Unfortunately, when a woman is confident, assertive and aggresive it’s viewed negatively.

Now that we have a woman running for the highest office in the land, this misogyny and biased viewpoint is on full display. In order to bring attention to the constant, and often silly, struggles of women in a male dominated work place, a veteran woman of the work place, Sarah Cooper, created “9 Non-Threatening Leadership Strategies For Women,” a satirical list of illustrations that outlines how women should behave in the workplace in order to make men comfortable.

sarah-cooper-non-threatening

Photo credit: The Cooper Review

While much of the satire is hilarious, it strikes a chord because of how true it is. Findings show many women do not feel as confident as men do in the workplace which prevents us from speaking as frequently, asking for promotions as frequently, asking for less money when we do ask for promotions, and underestimating our abilities.

These differences in the habits of women and men in the workplace and beyond are currently most visible in the race for the White House. The whole world gets to witness as a man who has no experience is regarded in the same esteem as a woman who has spent her entire life dedicated to politics. Even with her extensive experience and wildly impressive resume, Hillary Clinton is being forced to listen to the ill conceived plans and temper tantrums of a former reality tv star. In the face of false accusations, condescending behavior, and name calling from her unqualified opponent, Hillary Clinton finds it necessary to maintain a smile. She visibly refrains from speaking over her opponent who does not refrain from speaking over her during debates. These habits, clearly not practiced by Donald Trump, are typical of a woman accustomed to the workplace who works hard not to seem “abrasive” to her own detriment.

Clinton forces and a smile and a chuckle in the face of lewd remarks regarding her husband’s past. She forces a smile as Trump says she deserves to be incarcerated. She forces a smile as Trump scrutinizes the entire career she’s nourished and maintained for decades, all in order for the public to view her as nice and approachable. Clinton cannot do the same things as Trump. She cannot interrupt him while he is speaking as he does her. She cannot make irritated faces as he falsely accuses her of being inadequate. She cannot slouch and pout as she makes her points during debates.

Clinton is forced to reign in her visible responses to Trump’s antics to avoid appearing “too emotional” to the public. She has to prove that she is equipped to be the leader of the free world by pretending that she is not offended by highly offensive and often false statements being made about her at the hands of her opponents. She has to prove that she is emotionally and mentally stable enough to advance in a career that she has worked for her entire life against a man who devalues women, has no experience, and incites violence in his constituents.

The pressure to seem confident and assertive without seeming “crazy” and “pushy” can be seen from your local workplace to the presidential stage. Hillary Clinton underscores Coopers point about how deeply women have been socialized to make themselves non-threatening in order to receive the benefits that they deserve in the workplace. Unfortunately, the pressure to appear sweet, nice, and unbothered in the face of disrespect is displayed by women around the world.

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