Stop Hating on Female Leaders

Female LeadersJimmy Kimmel had a great skit last night with Hillary Clinton.  He provided “helpful” advice to help Hillary win the election:

“You’re too loud… it comes off as a little shrill… you’re making a speech, not an arrest.”

She speaks more quietly.

“You have to speak up because we can’t hear you.  You’re like a mouse up there.”

 

“You know what would be nice?  If you smiled a little.  Show some teeth.”

She smiles.

“Ok don’t smile like that.  It looks too forced… Ask yourself, ‘Do I want to be president, or do I want to be a Laker Girl?’” 

She gets more serious.

“Oh my God, with the sourpuss!  Try to have some fun!”

The skit pokes fun at the way people analyze and criticize Hillary, but it perfectly sums up what all women go through in the workplace.  Unlike men, who are almost entirely judged by their ability to do their job, women are judged by a whole range of things that have nothing to do with that.

In the book Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg calls this the Double Bind: women are either too nice and therefore incapable of leading, or they’re too serious, which makes them evil bitches who should not be given power.  In this skit, Jimmy Kimmel blames men, but women can be just as guilty of criticizing other women.  Her email was so demanding.  Her voice bothers me.  She seems so severe.

I challenge everyone reading this to do a gut check.  Ask yourself if you think about male and female leaders the same way.  Do you give male leaders a pass on the things you don’t like about them quicker than you do female leaders?  Because if all people really thought the same way about men and women, we wouldn’t have a gender wage gap or a grossly underrepresented number of women in C-Suite positions.

If you don’t plan on voting for Hillary because of her stance on policies, then don’t vote for her.  But if you find yourself nitpicking her for things that have nothing to do with her ability to be president, you’re doing all women a great disservice.