Elon Musk’s New York Times Interview Reveals Double Standards for Male and Female CEOs

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Musk normally swats criticism away, typically through angry tweets.“But in the interview,” the Times wrote, “he demonstrated an extraordinary level of self-reflection and vulnerability, acknowledging that his myriad executive responsibilities are taking a steep personal toll.”

Self-reflection, vulnerability, acknowledgment of the consequences of labor on one’s well-being—these are admirable qualities in a pacesetter of any firm. And it is necessary, in a tradition that too typically rewards work on the expense of well-being, to debate overtly the customarily unsustainable outcomes of that tradition. But as I watched the responses to Musk’s tell-all roll in, I attempted to think about what would occur if a feminine CEO of a serious firm gave the same interview. How would she be perceived?

Both males and ladies take a threat after they reveal stressors or struggles, however their candor doesn’t normally garner the identical response. For ladies, the dangers of being open are far better, and they will manifest in tangible methods.

“Women incur social and economic penalties for expressing masculine-typed emotions because they violate proscriptions against dominance for women. At the same time, when women express female-typed emotions, they are judged as overly emotional and lacking emotional control, which ultimately undermines women’s competence and professional legitimacy,” in response to the Handbook on Well-Being of Working Women, a set of analysis and literature on the subject.

Masculine-typed feelings, female-typed feelings. The guidebook for being a feminine CEO is, at its core, the identical because the one for being a feminine something: No matter your title, the double bind stays. Speak assertively, and threat being labeled “bossy.” Display anger, and be seen as “bitchy”. Remain stoic, and be referred to as an “ice queen.” Cry, and get pegged as too emotional. Women within the office are always strolling a tightrope.

A 2008 sequence of studies from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Women and Public Policy Program discovered that shows of anger from males in skilled contexts are sometimes considered as responses to exterior circumstances, whereas the identical from ladies are seen as representations of their persona. In different phrases, males are provoked, whereas ladies are naturally vulnerable to anger. The analysis additionally discovered that ladies who expressed anger in work contexts had been perceived as much less competent and acquired decrease wages, whereas the other was true for males.

Meanwhile, in response to It’s Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace by Anne Kreamer, ladies who cry at work “feel rotten afterward, as if they’ve failed a feminism test.” Men, nonetheless, are likely to really feel higher after crying: Kreamer’s analysis confirmed that “their minds felt sharper, the future seemed brighter, and they felt more physically relaxed and in control.” When HuffPost interviewed 15 high-profile feminine leaders about crying within the workplace, the bulk thought-about it taboo and sure to supply detrimental outcomes. “If the person you’re confronting is male, it provides one more excuse to make him think ‘Isn’t that just like a woman?’” stated Marina Whitman, the previous vp and chief economist at General Motors.

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