I’ll cut straight to the chase: any man who views women as inferior is weak and unsure of his own masculinity. That’s a fact and whether you’re a man or a woman reading this, I hope you agree. Three things and three things only oppress women: religion, tradition, ignorance and fragile men; often all four at once. And just to clarify in case you’re wondering: I am a man.
It’s a man’s world?
There are approximately the same number of men and women in the world. We all have the same sets of organs and the same skin. We share equivalent brain structures and mental capabilities and we breathe the same air. We, largely speaking, seek the same things out of life – happiness, love and security. So how do women get past the unfortunate attitudes that exist? Well, the first thing is to accept that those attitudes do exist and will probably continue in our lifetime. Accept that for many, these attitudes will never change. Once you do that you’ll cease to be disappointed and disenchanted by them. It’s a bit like the first Noble Truth of Buddhism – “there will be suffering”:accepting that you will suffer is profoundly liberating when it comes to dealing with suffering. Accepting that some men will disappoint you with their conveniently biased beliefs is equally profound when the inevitable happens.
Believe that you deserve success
You know that many men believe they deserve it, so why shouldn’t you? Don’t be the slightest bit apologetic about your career aspirations. Likewise don’t be the least bit embarrassed when you get there. It all comes down to self-respect. Men may try to erode that, often through their own insecurities. So don’t give them the opportunity, or the satisfaction. You’re equals whether they like it or not. If you end up being better than them at being equal, so be it!
Assert yourself not your soul
Niggling uncertainties can stick their hand up in funny ways – talking too much or too honestly; openly comparing yourself; and being conservative in workplace actions. In the end it comes down to having unbreakable faith in yourself and your abilities, not as a woman, but as a human being. So create a positive, empowered work persona who clocks on and off when you do.
Picture men as they really are
There are many things you can do to focus on your own learning and developing your own capability without comparing yourself to others, which is where real confidence comes from. But here’s a fun exercise you can use to remind you that we are all human and we are all vulnerable: the next time a man tries to assert some sort of chauvinistic dominance over you, picture him playing Twister naked. This tried and true technique is a wonderful leveller and an emphatic (often humorous) way to bring ANY man down to size. It might be the belittling bank manager or the creepy boss; it might even be a member of your own family. Strip them bare (figuratively speaking) and throw them into an unflattering position on a sheet of coloured plastic. Then see how intimidating they really are. This great little mind game washes away any irrational inferiority you might feel and allows you to operate on a level playing field.
Here’s to a world of happiness!
Dylan Forbes, B.Sc. Psych (Hon.), Pr. AINLP
For more visit www.leaderskill.com.au(added if on another site)