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The more successful a woman, the less likeable she is. AIBU?

(75 Posts)
Moknicker Mon 11-Mar-13 14:20:58

Heard Sheryl Sandberg say this todayv (radio) and have to say I agree with her. When a woman does a good job - people say well done but you have put people off, been aggressive. Have had this in my career and been told to "smile more".

The more successful a woman gets the less she is liked. Conversely the more successful a man gets, the more other men and women like him - can see this happening with DH.

How do I let my DD grow up with the attitude that she can be extremely successful at whatever she wants but also be liked as a person.

So AIBU - do you think you/ are/ know successful and likeable women?

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Mar-13 16:55:39

I think women care more whether they are liked, or not. Although, personally I don't care if people at work like me. As long as they fear me. wink

HazleNutt Thu 14-Mar-13 16:49:48

It must have been a good 15 years ago now, but I still remember when I first realised how differently men and women, doing the same thing, are preceived.

A male and a female boss had a somewhat heated and public disagreement. One was not behaving in any way worse than the other. My colleagues commented later about him "Well, he has this really strong personality, but it's good that he always stands up for what he believes is right!". About her: "Well that was certainly unprofessional! Women, they are just not cut out for such roles!"

So - sorry OP, but if your DD is successful then she might be generally liked, but she will also be called a ballbreaker and aggressive where her male peers would just be called strong leaders.

(I'm successful. I think I'm generally nice and fair, but I'm sure some people disagree and believe that as a woman, I should be softer and more maternal. Or something. I'm not losing any sleep over it.)

Springdiva Thu 14-Mar-13 15:05:27

I sometimes feel that people in general are more demanding (as far as behaviour is concerned) with little girls than little boys.

I know of lots of little boys who are treated as the most perfect thing to walk on God's earth by family /GPs but fewer girls.

Am I wrong there?

Are females more wiley ?sp and less likeable?

Gauri Wed 13-Mar-13 12:40:58

But this debate is not only about sales. I think you will find this in banking, baking, broadcasting, and any other business, (even if it does not begin with b)...

The question is, how do we turn this around?

greencolorpack Tue 12-Mar-13 23:49:58

I found this completely true when I worked for Pampered Chef. The people who are good at it give seminars telling other women to "act like its a lot more difficult than it is" so people will warm to how cute and ditzy and useless they are. Levels of disingenuous bullshit through the roof. It did my head in. And everyone hated and gossiped about the very successful women. So the message comes loud and clear, be good at sales and make loads of money and everyone will hate you with a passion, be useless make hardly any sales, everyone loves you. Stupid stupid business model.

Bunfags Tue 12-Mar-13 23:41:32

"but you can frame it in a different way - I could say people who don't progress are least able to cope with their own jobs and lives so are selfish in a different way.

whereas most people who progress careerwise have to learn taking people with them. "

It depends on the careers involved. What do some companies do for the greater good of the world? They do nothing at all, apart from for their owners. Some people may feel that they are best off out of a scenario like that!

Also, do the chiefs not need the Indians? Without them, people would be buggered all round.

I've always disliked my male bosses far more than the female ones.

poorchurchmouse Tue 12-Mar-13 18:38:19

Part of the trouble is that high profile women are seen as "representative" in a way that men aren't. Just had a spat with my boss this morning because he said of someone (who is perfectly likeable but a nincompoop) that she is a bad advert for women in flagship roles. I nearly lost it but managed to point out calmly that he would never say that of a man who happened to be a nincompoop in a senior job.

I find it very hard where I work that I'm so often the only woman in the room, and therefore if I screw up I'm making life harder for women who come after me. it's a kind of pressure that just wouldn't be there if I were a man.

Fillyjonk75 Tue 12-Mar-13 18:09:18

I think women are generally less liked.


FasterStronger Tue 12-Mar-13 15:59:15

but you can frame it in a different way - I could say people who don't progress are least able to cope with their own jobs and lives so are selfish in a different way.

whereas most people who progress careerwise have to learn taking people with them.

Bunfags Tue 12-Mar-13 15:24:05

I've found that people who get to the top in business tend to be selfish and materialistic, regardless of gender. They have got to that position because they have a ruthless streak and are self orientated. It has nothing to do with what's between their legs.

However, ime, female bosses have been nicer to their employees than male ones.

Moknicker Tue 12-Mar-13 13:36:01

Just realised I have phrased the OPost very very badly. It should read

"*The more successful a woman is, the less likeable she is perceived to be*

Big difference of course.

Re my original post - of course IABU!! smile

How can I get this glaring example of my idiocy deleted?

Gauri Tue 12-Mar-13 13:32:20

The problem with what a lot of posters have pointed out is that it makes a women's life that much more difficult, to be successful in a career.

I have had this all through my career. Every review process. I believe I am great at what I do and they also admit that. However, every review it's the same old... Be less aggressive... I am being assertive not aggressive.

I get things done. I am given generally the tougher jobs...

It's a mans world but the women don't support other women either...which doubly exacerbates the stereotype...

FasterStronger Tue 12-Mar-13 08:39:55

if a successful man is not very nice, he is just a successful man who is not very nice. He is not seen as an indicator that successful men are not very nice.

if a successful woman is not very nice, she is seen as an indicator that successful women are not very nice.

its just double standards.

the other bullshit is that nice and unsuccessful (in job/financial terms) go hand in hand.

in both cases, people gladly believe what they would were true.

melbie Tue 12-Mar-13 03:40:30

I have not come across this at work but again maybe it is just where I work. Some of the female bosses I work with are the most awe inspiring women- I think because as well as their achievements they love their jobs, are all strong and confident and get things done but are really really nice and I would be so happy if in a few years I was even half the person any one of them is. They have all had to put so much work in to get where they are and I admire them so much. But the same is true for most of my male bosses. I think it is just that I have never worked with quite such high achieving women who are essentially models of how I would like to be! Even all the bosses appear to admire each other and will happily admit it- not in a jealous way just in a nice way.

Funny I have never thought about it. But maybe I am just really lucky!

nooka Tue 12-Mar-13 03:10:10

Whilst I am sure that it is generally true that there are double standards for men and women at the top, this really isn't an attitude I've come across personally. I think I must have worked in pretty supportive workplaces, because I've never heard the senior women being described in a way that I considered derogatory. Although I've always been fairly forthright about not wanting to hear unkind gossiping (very unprofessional IMO) so perhaps it went on around me and I didn't really notice.

My dd is a bit of a people pleaser, and we have been teaching her not to care so much about what other people think. ds on the other hand can be totally oblivious (or quite enjoy annoying other people) so we have tried to teach him to at least appear to be kinder. It is very useful to be able to be diplomatic, especially early in your career.

LittleChickpea Tue 12-Mar-13 02:27:06

I agree with this. The more successful you are the less people like you. It's strange, people you had really good relationships with change as you progress. I have experienced this. In some cases people actively want you to fail. I have never really understood why this occurs. Not sure if it's to do with people's competitive nature, the fact most successful people generally do not try and please everyone (which can be perceived in the wrong way), its all about achieving your goal/objective etc. or what............

I have heard/seen people bitch about successful people and I have had it happen to me. The best adivce I was given by a really nice and very successful female business leader was "You just have to grow a thick skin, ignore it and keep working hard... Thinking, worrying and allowing that sort of playground negativity into any aspect of your life will only hold you back"

ArmyOfPenguins Mon 11-Mar-13 23:42:55

Even rapists like Polanski are let off the hook a bit if they're good at something. Imagine a female film director being convicted of a sex crime: she'd never work again (and would still be imprisoned).

What's with the low expectations of men in their so-called private lives?

WilsonFrickett Mon 11-Mar-13 23:02:13

Ha! Exactly Army can you imagine the thread? 'AIBU to be judgy pants about this woman who took her baby into a bar? What was she thinking? Could she not wait till the child was at uni before having an alcoholic beverage???


ArmyOfPenguins Mon 11-Mar-13 22:28:09

I remember seeing a man on a barstool holding his baby, and people were remarking on how cute it all was.
A woman sitting at the bar holding her baby would have had a somewhat different response.
Sorry to slightly derail, but it seems to me people find any excuse to like a man, and any excuse not to like a woman behaving in exactly the same way.

ArmyOfPenguins Mon 11-Mar-13 22:21:49

I don't think it's just 'successful' women who are liked less than 'successful' men. I think women are generally less liked.

Single parents on benefits might not be considered 'successful'. Who gets the worse press? The single dads? Don't think so.

BlingLoving Mon 11-Mar-13 21:42:58

Whoever made the point up thread that there's always a negative associated with successful women is absolutely true. There's always a rider when talking about tho women - like they made it in spite of their negative aspects while the same personality traits in men aren't even noticed.

This kind of thing really pisses me off. I have pre-ordered sheryl sandberg's book because I think she has a very clear view of sexism in a certain kind of work environment,

thegraduand Mon 11-Mar-13 20:38:21

i would like to think I'm a successful woman, and have lots of friends who are. I also work with men and women in senior management. One of things they have in common is they don't tend to suffer fools. However, in a man this seems to make them a strong leader, in women it makes them a bitch. But I would like to think I'm likeable, I have friends, and I'm leaving my organisation soon, and my colleagues have all been telling me how much they will miss me.

My best managers have both been women, my current manager is truly dreadful and he's man.

momb Mon 11-Mar-13 20:32:44

I really hope this isn't true. I have a great job that I love, and pays enough to support our family. I have friends. I like to think that I get on with people.
Captain Paranoia on my shoulder.....

foslady Mon 11-Mar-13 20:27:05

bother - both - D'oh!!!!

foslady Mon 11-Mar-13 20:26:26

I know where you're coming from, but it hasn't been the case for me. Last two CEO's of the firms I worked for was/is female and bother are lovely ladies, genuinely concerned about their staff. One of my friends is Factory Manager at a big food production site - couldn't break a ball with dynamite!!!! (and we met through work, I left, she rightfully progressed)

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