Posted by: emilyschoka | February 6, 2019

feminist traditions

Last week we talked about the reading titled “Leadership, Authority, and Women,” which stated that there are two different feminist traditions that have, in different ways, come to influence our society. The first tradition is that of trying to eradicate the differences between men and women. I think this goes hand in hand with modern gender theory, which proposes that gender is a spectrum and that therefore the only difference between a man and woman is a feeling of being one or the other. This view goes against the other feminist tradition mentioned in the article, which is to acknowledge and honor the differences between men and women. While I think it is important to recognize that men and women are equally valuable and can do many of the same things equally well, in my opinion I think it is better to acknowledge that there are differences between men and women and to try to make these differences advantageous, rather than acting on the presupposition that these differences don’t exist. The idea of honoring the differences reminds me of the article we just read about the studies on college campuses that showed that women prefer to lead “behind the scenes” rather than “up front.” Assuming that this study presents an accurate reflection of how women generally tend to operate, I think that is something we should acknowledge and honor, because I think it is an honorable thing that women chose to work hard and make a difference for causes that they feel are important, even if they don’t receive recognition. On the flip-side, we also should celebrate the people (men or women) who do choose to take on more prominent roles, because those are just as important as the behind-the-scenes players. I also liked how the article talking about feminist traditions chose to focus on the importance of understanding men’s perspectives as well. While it may be the reaction of some to say that we either already understand their view or that their view is irrelevant in the efforts to get women an equal platform, I thought it was interesting that the article contends that women should try to understand men in order to prepare them to compete with men for positions of authority. I think this is a good point to consider, because I think women should do everything they can to be as well-equipped as possible so that they can succeed. I think part of that preparation is to understand men, and part of it is to understand themselves as women and as individuals.

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Responses

  1. I totally agree with you that we need to acknowledge the differences between men and women (instead of pretending they aren’t there or working to “fix” them) and make these differences advantageous. I think men and women were made to be different, and that’s okay because what one doesn’t have the other does. While I agree it’s important to regard the qualities of men and women as equal, they are different and it’s good that they’re different. If everyone was trying to possess the exact same qualities and behave in the same way, I think it would be difficult to make any progress. However, if we agree that men bring certain things to the table and women bring other things, this is when the most progress and understanding occurs. For example, if a group of individuals was trying to figure out how to present a topic and they all knew the topic very well but didn’t have good presentation skills, the main points of their topic would probably not get across to the person/people they presented to. If this group instead had individuals with all different characteristics, the topic would get presented well and would be well received from others.

  2. I liked how your post brought up the idea of acknowledging the differences between men in women. When talking about traits or characteristics of men and women they are stereotypes and cannot account for EVERY man and EVERY woman, but the studies we’ve read about do show that men and women typically do behave in similar ways. You also mentioned honoring the differences and celebrating both those in up front positions and positions that work a little more behind the scenes. I think people have different things they are good at and some things they are not as good at. A lot of roles could benefit from having different people working together to balance out each others strengths and weaknesses. After these past couple weeks I think it is important for men and women to work together in both those up front and supporting roles to each put their strengths to use.

  3. The differences between men and women, in my opinion, make us men and women. I think you articulate that very well in your post. Especially the fact that we should not slander these differences or pretend they do not exist. The fact of the matter is that they DO exist and trying to say they do not would be very close minded. It is not just differences in appearance that I am talking about. We have reference many studies that, however small, do say their are differences in the way that men and women lead. Their are differences in how we act in groups as shown by another article we read earlier in the semester. We are just different. Society may have made us this way, made us believe that we are different but I also think society today has put “differences” in a negative light. Just because someone is different from you does not mean they are a bad person, they are just different. Maybe that person has something to bring to the table that you could not think of because they do not think like you. We must embrace our differences as men and women. We must use them in the working world, in social interactions, and in leadership in order to have the best world that we can live in.

  4. I agree that the differences between men and women should be celebrated. Both men and women bring unique and beneficial qualities to the table that work well to create a successful leadership team. I remember reading in an article (it may be the one you were referring to), that when many women first entered the workforce and leadership, they felt like they needed to conform to the agentic qualities that their male co-workers had. However, it is exhausting to put on a “face” at work and be somebody who you are not. I think that by focusing on each person’s unique qualities and what they bring to the table, we can form better teams with more successful results. I was reading for my annotated bibliography, and I stumbled upon an article about the differences between men and women in crisis handling. It found that because most men leaders were more focused on the mechanics of the group, they were better at preventing crisis from occurring. On the flip side, women were better at handling crisis because they knew how to handle stress better and remain calm. I think this is a great example of appreciating the differences between men and women, because by using both sets of skills, the outcome of the group is better.


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