Recently, a female colleague said that she believes that I had achieved my professional position because I am an attractive woman and work for male administrators. The (not-so-subtle) implication of this statement was that, as an attractive woman, I was given opportunities not afforded to others who she believes are better qualified than I am.
To be quite honest, I was shocked at this accusation. I would never classify myself as an attractive woman. I would describe myself as a runner, athletic, a feminist, an educator, a wife, a sister, a mother, an animal lover, and a laundry list of other adjectives…but never would I label myself as “attractive.” The idea of of using my appearance in an attempt to get ahead is ridiculous to me. I am the person running out the house at the last minute with a dryer sheet stuck to the arm of her blouse. I am so frugal that I only shop at second-hand clothing shops and that one red tag clearance rack at the back corner of the store. My husband is far more fashion forward than I am. In fact, he does all the ironing in our household as my skill level is not up to his standards, which is fine by me. I spray that magic wrinkle spray on myself and call it good enough. Most of my time outside of work is spent in running shoes and workout clothing. My beauty “routine” consists of my daughter’s baby oil, eczema cream, and prescription acne ointment from a dermatologist (yes, in my mid-30’s I am plagued by both acne and wrinkles). Those are certainly not the features that one would normally associate with “attractive.” Continue reading Feminism and the Alpha Female
by Jodi Koslow Martin
A couple of weeks ago, the bloggers of this site got together on GoToMeeting to do what we do – discuss a book we’ve chosen related to feminist leadership. We had chosen Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington. The participant with the newborn was too tired to be on the call. Completely understandable as all of us have been in her shoes. Another was talking to us from the car after fitting in a haircut before picking up her son. She was about 100 pages into the book. I had also read about 100 pages, too. I had borrowed it through interlibrary loan but didn’t finish it before the due date. It traveled with me in my purse for a few weeks before I shoved it through the book repository of the library. Then, I ordered it on Amazon.com. Instead of trying to be a good steward of my resources, my packed schedule left me with a library fine and a credit card charge. Then, the PhD student of our group was listening to the book on audio while out on her runs. To make sure she finished in time for our meeting, she made the reader talk so fast she could barely understand what was being read to her. Lastly, our pregnant participant held up her book to show us that the binding was pristine. She hadn’t opened it yet.
Continue reading Women of December
by Brenda McKenzie
What happens when you hear the word “power”? A typical response is that power is “bad,” that it is something that uncaring leaders wield to get what they want. For me, as a woman, I had these same thoughts and feelings. Power is about manipulation and I am not a manipulator. Several experiences I have had in the past year have changed my mind about the concept of power and its role for women in leadership.
Last spring I took a class on power and politics. I admit to going into the class with a negative attitude toward the concept of power. I saw it as manipulation and negative, and many of the examples we initially read about confirmed my views. As the course progressed, I began to examine my perceptions and think more critically about what power means, to me as a leader in general, but also to me as a woman. I came to realize that my views about power were shaped by political and societal actions aimed at telling me, as a woman, what I could and could not do. Continue reading Women and Power