The post-feminist generation seems genuinely perplexed when they encounter textbook examples of gender inequality.
“Girl Power at School, but Not at the Office,” by Hannah Seligson, is number two on the NYT most emailed stories list (Maureen Dowd’s “Vice in Go-Go Boots” is number one).
Seligson, 25, noticed that the “girl power” that fueled her and her female cohort through their educational years mysteriously petered out on her first job. She found that men’s modes of interaction were valued in the workplace. Networking (in the form of going out with the guys for a beer), asking for a raise, singing your own praises: all of these qualities made men money and earned them recognition denied to women. Seligson notes too that men are versed in this skill set upon beginning their careers; women are not.
There’s a feminist-sized hole in Seligson’s world-view. If girl power really buoyed women to equality with men during her educational years, why did men emerge with different sets of skills? Why did men leave university with the traits they needed to succeed in the workplace, while women don’t? I could continue with this line of questioning, but I’m sure you get the point.
Girl power is used to pull the wool over the eyes of generations of young women. They, in turn, are happy, happy little sheep.
Seligson’s remedy to these issues? Find a mentor at work. Also, we are to make sure that an office’s work environment is friendly to women before we accept a job.
I have a suggestion for Seligson’s next advice book: what to do when you are assertive (or, heavens forbid, aggressive) at work and everyone thinks you’re a total fucking bitch-whore. Or a nutso dried up pantsuit wearer. Now that would be a helpful tome to have on hand.