I guess by now everyone’s seen Clay Shirky’s A rant about women?
This worry isnâ€™t about psychology; Iâ€™m not concerned that women donâ€™t engage in enough building of self-confidence or self-esteem. Iâ€™m worried about something much simpler: not enough women have what it takes to behave like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks.
It was cheering that, by the time I read it, there were already comments pointing Clay (and other readers) at the ovular (what!? it’s like seminal but without the semen!) Women Don’t Ask. If you haven’t read that book, go get hold of a copy pronto. It’s an overview of research into negotiation skills and gender, and it’s eye-opening.
I didn’t see linked, but also thought of, Fugitivus’s posts about rape culture, especially another post about rape, in which she says:
If we teach women that there are only certain ways they may acceptably behave, we should not be surprised when they behave in those ways.
That, in a nutshell, is my response to Clay. (A good feminist bookmark collection is a life-saver, I swear.)
Two other posts I found today, talking about Clay’s rant. First, Gabriella Coleman, Being Bad-Ass w/o the Arrogance:
I have always resented the idea that women canâ€™t be assertive and confident. However, confidence and self-esteem, which I agree are vital for getting noted, does not inherently entail jerky behavior. I think Shirkyâ€™s perspective might be skewed because of his home field, which is filled with just the type of guys he is describing.
And Tom Coates, Should we encourage self-promotion and lies?:
My experience has been that there’s definitely a role for the arrogant and the pushy in the creation and promotion of a project. It’s also taught me that this skill is a small part of the set of skills necessary to produce something great.
The kinds of things that result in great products are tangible skills, a desire and a pleasure in collaborative building, an aspiration and sense that you’re making something important, a sense of teamwork, room to experiment, the ability to bring out the best in the people around you, a good work ethic.