What does it really mean to act like a man, or to act like a woman? Are we constantly adopting to gender expectations that society places upon our bodies, voice, mannerism, clothing and relational connections, or is it an innate persona that shines through based on the anatomy that we have between our legs. For most, it is that reasoning. For others, the binary is blasted out of the water through example and reasoning in which exemplify the disillusion and unrealistic commands of our world; people are not THIS or THAT, instead individuals adopt their own perceptions and lie on a continuum of manifestations that is constantly evolving.
The Marshall School of Business, located within the University of Southern California, found interesting resultsfrom a research study looking at the ways people change their gender expression during job interviews to appear either more masculine if presenting as a biological woman, or more feminine if presenting as a biological male.
“In the study, women who were motivated to make a positive impression, perhaps in an effort to refute the stereotype that they are weak or ineffective negotiators, advocated more strongly for their own interests. In contrast, men who were motivated to make a positive impression, perhaps in an effort to refute the stereotype that they are overly aggressive, yielded to the demands of the other side.”
The result of the study: men take an economic hit, and women take a relationship hit. Their recommendation, “Our recommendation is that the more negotiators of both sexes are conscious of dynamics affecting negotiation, the more planning or practicing they can and should do.”
The real result: Sexism and gender marginalization are still very real in the society’s workplace. What’s more, it appears that people, in general, operate in a dualistic fashion where the complete opposite is acted upon. Perhaps we all need some lessons on the continuum – find understanding and acceptance in the grey area.