Remember that GUTSY GAL who took a walk in the woods and went into the Bears' vacation home? The food was "too hot" or "too cold" until she found the bowl of porridge that was just right. She was the bed tester for "too hard" and "too soft", until she found one that was just right and she could finally take a nap.
Several years ago, research from Catalyst, a leading advisory organization, indicated that women are either “too soft or too tough, and never just right”.
Would Goldilocks have agreed? More importantly, do you agree?
Looks like the world of stereotypes just won’t go away. That is unless we all put on our GUTSY hats, open our GUTSY mouths and say “enough already”.
Why are women seen as either competent OR likeable, yet men can be seen as assertive AND clear-minded? Is there really truth in any of this or is it just nonsense handed from generation to generation?
Here's the skinny on stereotyping: we are all hard-wired with a basic instinct to make snap judgments about what is safe or unsafe, who is friend and who is foe. These judgments are done so fast, we are not really conscious of it.
Think about it for a minute. You go to a business networking event and what makes you immediately gravitate toward that woman or than man and steer away from others?
Let’s go back, way back. It starts when you are a kid and your parents cross the street to avoid someone of another nationality or race. You ask why and usually get a muffled answer. However, somewhere in your brain you have registered that person, those people, can cause danger and since our basic species requirement is to survive, it gets remembered way down in the brain.
What does it take to break the cycle of stereotyping? In Don’t Bring It to Work and GUTSY: How Women Leaders Make Change, I offer the way OUT. It is a technique for all of us to OBSERVE, UNDERSTAND and TRANSFORM the patterns of behavior we have been handed and get past the stereotypes that keep us locked in fear.
Tomorrow: How to begin the process of getting past the past and getting to a healthier way of seeing ourselves and others.