Powerful women have a tough balancing act to maintain: They must be feminine yet powerful, competent yet human, etc. etc. Err too much in one direction and you’re a bitch or a wimp or a robot or a crybaby. That’s why I love this post from Forbes’ Jenna Goudreau, in which she talks to a variety of women about their least-favorite stereotype about powerful women. They came up with a list of ten. Let’s take a look at them—and kiss them goodbye.
“A woman who shows emotion in the workplace is often cast as too fragile or unstable to lead,” Halley Bock, CEO of leadership and development training company Fierce, told Forbes. “A woman who shows no emotion and keeps it hyper-professional is icy and unfeminine. For many women, it can be a no-win situation.”
The flip side of the Ice Queen is the Cry-Baby. Hillary Clinton has a justly earned reputation as a super-competent superwoman. But when she welled up during a tough moment in the 2008 presidential primary, it became the salty teardrop heard around the world.
Single And Lonely
Ah, the delightful stereotype that powerful women are repellant to men and have no time for a personal life. And even women who remain happily single are punished. As Goudreau points out, single “men get to be ‘bachelors’ while women are reduced to ‘spinsters’ and ‘old-maids.’”
Mika Brzezinski told Jill Abramson, the new executive editor of the New York Times: “I was speaking to women recently, about my book, and they are all so worried about looking like the ‘B’ word and I said, ‘Let it go. I mean, seriously, the only one worried about that is you. Let it go and others won’t as well.’” Good advice.
Six other annoying stereotypes about women in power!
The Language of Business: How to Think Like a Man to Get Ahead
Dear Forbes, Women Can Be CEOs If Chauvinists Are Put in Their Place
Where Are All the Women in Digital Media?
Five Qualities You Need to Bring to the Boardroom