How far have we come from the “little lady” at home with the kids; that “little lady” who needed to be handled with silk gloves so she would not fall apart?
That seems like centuries ago.
And yet, gender stereotyping continues to bloom. Think about the way we speak. Men love to use the word “power” when they talk about themselves or about each other. I admit, the word power or powerful does have an addictive quality to it.
We want our leaders to be powerful. We want our sports stars to be powerful and certainly celebrities need to be seen as powerful.
Are women seen as powerful or are there other adjectives that sneak up about women that are more colorful?
Let’s look upstream and get a handle on how words are used to stereotype.
On average, women are smaller and shorter than men. Thus, men seen as more powerful. Women have a higher percentage of body fat (hey, nature intended this to be good for the sake of continuity of the species). And while women resent being called “bitches” dieting for women is a bitch!
Back to biology for a minute. While men’s testosterone levels can fluctuate throughout the day, women’s sex hormone levels fluctuate as part of their reproductive cycle. Ask any woman of child-bearing age and she will tell you about bloating, cramping, and emotional mood swings.
Most women have learned to cope with “that time of the month” and can still make keen decisions. However, still, to this day, many men will blame an argument or confrontation with a woman on, well, you know, “it’s that time of the month.”
The question is still to be answered: “How do women bring the men into a circle of discussion to reframe words like “powerful, capable, cooperative, collaborative.”
Women have become more outspoken in our society and now it is a time for all GUTSY women to reach out and encourage the men at work and at home to co-create a new dialogue and stop the stereotyping.
It’s about you, it’s about me and it’s about time!!!