Posted by: juliacraig09 | February 20, 2013

The race against guys

For my blog post, I thought I would take a slightly different approach. Throughout the semester we have talked about the challenges and inequality that women face daily. We have also discussed the mental models of men and women. We even have looked at the idea of the glass ceiling and men not thinking women should gain that kind of power. This could be from men not wanting to be beat by a woman. But what about the reverse?

I grew up with two older brothers and learned at a young age that I had to keep up with the boys or I would get trampled (literally and figuratively). From that, I have become a fairly competitive person especially against guys. Whether it is athletics or simply playing a card game, I have always had a hard time losing to a guy. To this day, I don’t like to go running with guys because I know that if they are faster or more in shape then me, I will literally run myself into the ground to keep up and not show frailty. Why is that? I am more willing to tell a girl running with me that I need a breather. Is it simply because as women we understand each other? I don’t think so.

I think this need to keep up with or beat men comes from the need to over compensate. Atleast, that’s what society tells us we need to do. Due to the current stigmas and views of the differences between men and women, we, as women, feel we must prove ourselves more. I so desperately wanted to be “one of the guys” growing up that I not only worked to join that group but beat the guys as well.

But where does this drive come from? And is it a good thing or a bad thing? Some might say it is a good thing because I have developed a drive that can over power both men and women. This desire to be successful doesn’t see gender but rather the mountain that must be overcome. Yet on the other hand, this type of drive could be seen as self destructive and impulsive. It is the kind of drive that exists only to win and not necessarily gain anything other than saying, “I’m better than a boy.” It is the type of drive that actually does see gender because it is only concerned with beating men rather than beating both men and women. The ultimate question is, how does one work or lead with this type of drive?


  1. I have always been the same way. In highschool I played sccer and the concept that boys were stronger, faster, and tougher than me was very hard to grasp. I was unwilling to accept it. Now I have realized that obviously boys are stronger and faster physically but that doesn’t mean they are tougher than me emotionally or mentally smarter than me. In a way this made me strive to out perform guys in all other aspects besides sports. I felt naturally more compelled to compete against males than women. I think this is healthy because when women compete against eachother they tend to get nasty and fiery but I see it as more of a women coming together to face men. For me it started when I was very little my father used to read me a serires called “The Boys against the Girls” and they would plot tricks on eachother whenever the girls would win I would feel inspired to compete against males because I knew I was not inferior to them.

  2. Personally I have always been a competitive person, regardless of gender. I always felt the need to be the best in everyhting I do, and if I somehow am not the best I over compensate on something else I am the best at. Especially with guys I can never be beaten even in something as trivial as a video game, if I am I will keep playing until I win. I wont give up until I have proven myself to be equally as capable and even more determined. But I think a healthy sense of ambition and competition is good. Without feeling the need to do your best in at least one thing what would you strive for in life? I think more people need to be ambitious, I have seen so many people have no drive in their lives to accomplish anything and generally this leads to poor career and life choices. I think to lead anyone you need this kind of drive. If your leader does not have the drive to make what they’re doing a top priority then what motivation does his/her followers have to improve the company or situation?

  3. I feel as if many of us share this commonality of being competitive between genders. In regards to your question, “how does one work or lead with this type of drive?” I think the answer is quite complicated and delicate. We define a transforming leader as “appeals to the moral values of followers in an attempt to raise their consciousness about ethical issues and to mobilize their energy and resources to reform institutions” (Yukl, 2010, pp. 261). I feel that it is a very difficult and conscious decision to channel our gender competitiveness into being a successful transforming and transformational leader. Despite our competitiveness, a leader needs to put aside the “gender” component and focus on unifying substituents in order to achieve a common goal. Leaders could focus on creating partners or teams that consist of both males and females so that they work together rather than against each other, diluting the need for competitiveness between genders. It is necessary for a leader to recognize their gender competitiveness as well as the gender competitiveness in their substituents in order to effectively get past this obstacle.

  4. I understand where you are coming from with the desire to beat the boys. It means a lot to be able to compete and even win among side of a man. I believe that this would not negatively impact your leadership style because you would not be competing with your subordinates. If anything, this would motivate you more to be able to move up in the workplace. This desire to win would make the workplace more interesting and would enable a healthy competition to continuously make work fun and a challenge. As long as good sportsmanship is involved I believe that this competitive streak would just enhance the relationship you have with co-workers as well as subordinates especially if there was a team competition between your team and a male co-workers.

  5. I can completely relate to this, as I also grew up with two brothers. Since I was the middle child, I could easily be friends with either of their groups of friends because we were all close to the same age. I realized early on when we would play any kind of game that they l thought I wasn’t nearly on the same level as them. I knew it wasn’t fair, and I soon learned that I had to beat them by a whole lot to even be considered on the same level as them. I think this translates very easily into the world of leadership. Women are seen as unequal. If women want to compete against, and ultimately win, against men, they will have to work extremely hard to surpass the qualifications of men. And even then, the men will only say that the women are equal, not better. I guess you could call this over-compensation, but I think it is more on a societal level rather than individual women.

  6. Growing up I was the same way with guys. I loved her them say, “wow, a girl just beat me she is really good at (fill in the blank).” I never wanted to be seen as a helpless girl when it came to competition. In reality though, there should not be a contest between women and men, it should be a contest for who is the best period. This notion where men are dominant sometimes suffocates women, and thus the fight for equality breaks out.

  7. Well, unlike everyone else, I do not understand this competitiveness. I grew up with three sisters, and I was quiet at school. That quietness kept me calm in school and life because I was able to keep to myself and focus on bettering myself just for the sake of doing so. I did not feel the need to compete with anyone. But, I have seen other people with a similar drive. In general, I thought they were great leaders, with immense confidence. These girls really focused on their goals, and I think that is the key to being a successful leader, especially with a drive to be better than men. Think about goals, and prioritize them. One of those goals might be to beat a man at some activity, but if the other goals are ahead of that one on your priority list, I believe success wil follow.

  8. I grew up in a competitive household even though I had an older sister, not a brother. We always competed in sports with one another, and I was always the girl to compete with the boys. I dont know why I felt like I had something to prove when I would play with the guys, but I hated defeat, so I would work hard to always win. It’s unfortunate in this world that men and women have to compete for power and leadership, and how men are usually seen as dominant and they seem to overpower the more feminine roles. It’s 2012, and you would think that the fight for equality would have passed by now…

  9. I believe it can be a good thing when that energy is harnessed but has a limit. A woman who is working at a law firm that works herself into the ground (maybe like Miranda from Sex and the City, sorry I was watching it this morning!) to try to “keep up” with a male partner is actually being counteractive to her being successful. There is a point where you need to keep your unbridled need to compete in check. It may not even be about competing at that point! It is always about innovation. It can also be emotionally draining and unhealthy to push yourself too hard. It is important for each person to be aware of how far is too far and women especially need to keep an eye on their limits without comparing them to men.

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