The Man Myth

    Ah yes, another firing of an idiot who stated what much of the world believes, that "men are more charismatic performers? ... they work harder? ... they are more driven? Possibly a bit of each."

    Having spent part of the weekend listening to drunken "charismatic performers" at 5 am and the last 1 1/2 years horrified by the latest batch of "more driven" men, I'm still bewildered that people think of this as a plus, as a feature, rather than a grave disqualification, or at minimum a toss-up among other useful measures, such as efficiency, quality of work, consistency, team inspiration & enablement, etc.

    But since this latest controversy involved both anti-semitism and misogyny, it's ironic that 2 of the greatest female scientists, Marie Sklodowska Curie and Lise Meitner, had their careers ruined for those traits - Curie for a smear that she was Jewish* (along with being female, and having the nerve to fall in love - an affair! - 5 years after her husband passed, while Meitner, discoverer of fission, had to do her physics work for free because she was a woman and go into exile because she was a Jew - continuing her work from Sweden but denied the Nobel while her German collaborators - both scientific and Nazi - reaped their rewards. And yes, Curie likely wouldn't have worked if her husband didn't rule the lab.

    [* though still possible that Sklodowska Curie was Jewish after all - another of life's mysteries to sleuth out]

    Another female Nobel winner for "jumping genes", Barbara McClintock, almost didn't attend Cornell because it would make her "unmarriageable". 

    That women's eligibility for study and work and participation in society (Swiss suffrage came in 1971!!!) were deeply circumscribed until relatively recent times, you'd think that issues like pay discrepancies and advancement might be chalked up to more factors than just pregnancy and negotiating skills (though yes, men can have sex without having to take a year or more out of their career).

    Oddly, the military is simultaneously seen as one of the most screwed up, dysfunctional organizations ever created by man, and a great equalizer and trainer of noble skills like courage, teamwork, and responsibility. Quite amazing that males are so adept at making lemonade out of lemons, while females are better able to disappear completely. 

    So yes, Negotiating 101 - first requirement is to be a man, at which point you're "serious", rather than a female who's looking for a husband or an affair. (Mary Tyler Moore broke the mold by being a single Mary Richards who *wasn't* looking to hook up. But then the exception makes the rule...). Second, is if you're a woman, ignore what other women make. Or as Bill Cosby would say, "riiiggghhttt". Third, if you're going for a job with a Mike Pence cro-Republican type (or a Bill Cosby rohypnol date-rape type), make sure you never ever ever go it alone with the boss. Which of course means no standard business trips, policy dinners, rousing team-building outings, or those little tete-a-tete drinks sessions usually needed to advance your career. Think of it as erring on the side of self-defeating irrelevance. And whatever you do, don't get pregnant.

    By following whese rules, you too can rise to be say a Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski, a slightly less irrelevant and even occasionally useful part of the back bench. But certainly not a charismatic performer like John McCain. These Tom Cruise-type roles are still reserved for men - the legends behind the myth, you know. If you want to see how it works in the business world, just look at Trump - nowhere has failure failed upwards like his has, but his uniqueness is only a bit in scale, not in method. His son-in-law is another who could go into debt for billions on a hugely inadvisable real estate deal and still come out of it like a player in the real estate scene - just as his father could go to jail and still come back to be a player.

    You'd think in a year that highlighted the fundamental weaknesses and idiocies and incompetence and screwups of Trump, McConnell, Ryan, Sessions, Nunes, Chaffetz, Chris Christie, Romney, Comey, Boris Johnson, Farage, Cameron, et al, that this myth of extraordinary male superiority would start to die off. But then myths are seldom based on facts, are they? Maybe by next millennium we'll have rounded the bend.

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