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To think being gentle and having delicate mannerisms doesn't make you emotionally weak

(215 Posts)
user1493041907 Mon 24-Apr-17 15:04:43

I am very elegant and have very delicate mannerisms. I'm warm and friendly but don't come across as 'powerful' or 'commanding'. I am both those things. I am very emotionally strong but I just don't come across that way.

When I used to interview for a primary school teacher positions I was perfect and exactly what they were looking for.

Now I've moved into law, despite excellent work experience all I get told in interviews is that they need someone 'powerful, authoritative and mentally strong'. It's their way of saying I'm not what they're looking for.

My old manager said it's a shame as although I come across as gentle and feminine that does not mean I'm emotionally weak.

AIBU to think just because I'm feminine and gentle, that doesn't mean I'm not emotionally strong, authoritative and assertive.

Why do we consider feminist with weakness?

Beadoren Mon 24-Apr-17 15:07:55

Look into Lakoff and women and powerless language, might give you some insight

user1493041907 Mon 24-Apr-17 15:09:30

Thank you!

I'm feminine. So what? I have no idea how to come across more masculine! I'm not sure I want to be anything I'm not.

I'm not powerful but I'm also not weak.

ThymeLord Mon 24-Apr-17 15:09:55

Does that mean that women who don't have "elegant delicate mannerisms" are not feminine?

millifiori Mon 24-Apr-17 15:13:42

You may not be being unreasonable but are you being self sabotaging? You've entered a highly contempetitive, conservative, male-dominated profession and you're expecting its members to take the time to carefully look beyond the stereotype to find the real you. They don't have to. Lots of people will present them what they think they;re looking for on a plate. You can either play the game at interview and in the first few months of a job then gradually reinstate your natural behaviour once they trust you. Or you can set up on your own, on your own terms and maybe create a niche in law for clients who prefer a softer approach. Or you can hope against the odds that your dream interviewer will react as you want them to and feel they should even though experience has told you otherwise. Or you can continue to fail at interview in the radically different field of law by continuing to present as a perfect candidate for primary teaching.

user1493041907 Mon 24-Apr-17 15:17:37

Nope.
You can be feminine and not be elegant.

ChicRock Mon 24-Apr-17 15:18:14

If I was ever looking for a divorce lawyer, for example, elegant and delicate wouldn't be on the list of attributes I'd be looking for.

Wise up and play the game, or go back to primary school teaching.

user1493041907 Mon 24-Apr-17 15:18:44

I'm not sure what exactly they want to see in me. My friend is a man and got a job straight away. He's very authoritative and assertive.

But I don't naturally present that way.

user1493041907 Mon 24-Apr-17 15:19:34

So I don't know how to act to be what they want really. I have those natural mannerisms. It's very hard to act using different mannerisms.

PeaFaceMcgee Mon 24-Apr-17 15:29:40

Give us an example of your unassertive mannerisms please.

picklemepopcorn Mon 24-Apr-17 15:33:38

Without knowing you, we can't say what would make a difference.

Margaret thatcher had speech training to lower her natural register. That can help.
Speech training can also teach you to alter the speed of delivery, use more declarative statements etc. To sound opinionated, in other words.

Maybe eye contact is an area which you could choose to be more direct in?

Physical space is another area- look at men's posture while sat at a table in a meeting.

Actors have to change their mannerisms to play different roles. You can do it too. Think of, I dunno, Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft.

mygorgeousmilo Mon 24-Apr-17 15:34:33

You just stated that you don't present as authoritative or assertive. I understand what you mean when you describe yourself, but if I was the person hiring a lawyer - that's what I would be after. That's quite literally the whole point of someone understanding the law and using it to benefit you, to have an authoritative stance on a point of law that was relevant to my case. I can't understand how you could not see this. If I was hiring, say, a nanny I would want them to be cheerful and calm and have various other appropriate qualities. If, during interviews, they come across as flustered, can't multi-task and antagonistic - why would I hire them? People are looking for certain qualities from particular professionals

user1493041907 Mon 24-Apr-17 15:39:34

It's hard to explain. I'm like Kate Middleton. I look like her too to an extent.

Just imagine I'm her!

I have that soft of softness to me.

However. I do have authority. I just don't initially present that way and in an interview there's only an hour to present yourself.

VestalVirgin Mon 24-Apr-17 15:40:43

YANBU, but that doesn't help you.

I mean, you can try to sue them for discrimination because of your sex, but other than that, they won't suddenly hire you just because people on here say that you are right.

If you want to succeed in that field, and you are 100% sure it is because of your mannerisms (and their phrasing isn't just code for them not wanting to hire a woman) you will have to change your mannerisms.

picklemepopcorn Mon 24-Apr-17 15:43:08

IT sounds as though there is a bit of energy missing, too. Lots of quiet strength and determination, but they want to see drive.

Try the things I suggested- it's just about adding another tool to your kit. I bet when you are intense and focused you have those qualities, you need to channel them for the interview too. Think drive, focus, determination rather than calm and capable.

Drama classes are what you need!

WorraLiberty Mon 24-Apr-17 15:49:16

I'm not sure where 'feminine' comes into it really here?

You seem to be presenting yourself as very mild in nature, which is not just a feminine trait.

If they need someone to come across as assertive and strong, then I think that's the problem here.

You can be 'feminine' and assertive/strong in manner too.

WorraLiberty Mon 24-Apr-17 15:50:41

Oh actually, have a look locally and see if there are any interview training classes.

There are quite a few in my area and people speak highly of them.

Chavelita Mon 24-Apr-17 15:51:04

What millifiori said. Your 'nice girl' self-presentation is clearly not working in your favour professionally, so if you are absolutely certain there is nothing else making you unlikely to be hired, you have the choice of changing your self-presentation or changing your field.

You actually come across as quite strange in your posts on this thread, but I can't decide if English isn't your first language, or if you just aren't good at analysing your self-presentation -- what exactly are 'delicate mannerisms', and how might they appear in an interview situation? All that comes to my mind is someone sitting bolt upright on the edge of her chair and doing very tiny sneezes into a lace hanky.

user1493041907 Mon 24-Apr-17 15:56:10

It's very hard to explain. I don't think I'm mild as I am confident and chatty. I'm just 'soft' in my mannerisms.

It's very hard to describe.

EdmundCleverClogs Mon 24-Apr-17 15:58:29

Is it just me who has no idea what the OP is on about? Righto....

user1493041907 Mon 24-Apr-17 15:59:13

I may present as mild though. I think I present that way.

I answer the questions well and when I applied for jobs as a primary school teacher I was perfect.

My personal manner doesn't seem right for law.

IloveBanff Mon 24-Apr-17 15:59:21

When I saw the title of this thread I thought "What the hell are delicate mannerisms?". The first line of your OP "I am very elegant and have very delicate mannerisms." seems a very unusual thing to say. I'm perplexed. confused

user1493041907 Mon 24-Apr-17 16:00:17

I need to present with more assertiveness and authority. No idea how though, when it's just not the way I am.

MariafromMalmo Mon 24-Apr-17 16:00:34

I agree with al the rest. You have got a very clear feedback "Not being Authoritative is holding you back". I would go further and say that your unwillingness to accept the feedback shows a lack of insight and seriousness.
So you have to work of exuding authoritative: this has some pretty clear connotations.
Do you have a firm handahake?
How do you ask questions?
How do you answer questions?
How do you get be your professional opinion?
How do you deal with people that co read it or question you, especially those that do it on a public forum?
Do you dress in a way that is undermines your own credibility?

user1493041907 Mon 24-Apr-17 16:00:46

Well everyone tells me I have 'delicate mannerisms' google it if you don't understand. It's self explanatory.

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