Saturday, January 14, 2012

How are people supposed to be women?

I’m still figuring out this whole blogging thing, but one of the things I plan to do here is to document my attempts to change from Ambitious Litigatrix to Suzy Homemaker, to see if that makes for a happier and more satisfying life. To generalize grossly, women lawyers (especially moms) tend to be kind of miserable.  I suspect the reason is because they/we are socialized to want career successes that are incompatible with motherhood. 

I love being a woman. But I also really, really love to win. As a lawyer, I found that I got better results when I scrubbed all traces of sentimentality from my thinking.  Pathos-driven arguments still worked, but generally they were more effective when shaded as an appeal to ego rather than an appeal to empathy.  Male lawyers have more license in this regard—if a woman pulled the famous John Edwards’ “Help me, Mommy” closing she’d be laughed out of court. 

Physically, there’s a little more latitude. A hyperfeminized appearance works better for more aggressive settings. (I do not mean risqué.)  It disconcerts the unprepared. Aside from the distraction factor, it invites men to try intimidation tactics. That’s great: women don’t care the way men do about dominance displays, and efforts by opponents to “win” the interaction can be used later for strategic purposes. 

When your career success is tallied in terms of wins and losses, womanhood becomes a weapon in your arsenal. 

That does not seem healthy.

Also, repressed femininity burbles itself out in odd ways.  

Quick! They're coming.  Fly with me, now!

No. . . no . . .

YOU! You did this, damn you!


1 comment:

  1. I think that certain jobs are not deeply compatible with certain gender roles.

    I once dated a trauma surgeon off-and-on and when I finally moved on there was a plaintive "WHYYyyyy?".