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Self-aggrandissement, continued 3 February 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Life.

After my recent post on Clay Shirky’s rant about women and their lack of ability to be “self-aggrandizing jerks”, there have been more bloggers discussing the topic. And, this particular rant seems to have provoked;

Here is Ann Friedman’s response,

Women who are loud and proud about their abilities and experience will be declared uppity bitches — or at least privately thought of that way. Studies have shown that employees, both male and female, are wary of working for high-achieving women. And what about women who follow Hoff Sommers’ advice (which says women just need to, well, woman up)? They won’t even get their applications read, let alone taken seriously. When was the last time you saw “responsible femininity” among desired qualities in a job listing?


For decades, we’ve told women how to get ahead in an unjust system. It’s high time we all work to change the system itself.

Will Wilkinson’s reply is here, including this excerpt:

First, it’s not clear to me that a new norm of more aggressively competitive women won’t encourage even more aggressively competitive men. I don’t think this would entirely prevent the greater success of a more aggressive class of women, but it may also make our professional culture even more unpleasant than it already is. Do we really want to do that?

Second, it’s not clear to me that actively stigmatizing the kind of ridiculous, overreaching self-promotion Shirky thinks is characteristic of men wouldn’t work. We want people to be “go-getters,” but we don’t want them to be obnoxious and mendacious while they try to go and get it.

So, I certainly have some more points to ponder.



1. JennyMac - 3 February 2010

I found interest and merit in both Ann and Will’s comments above. Off to read your previous post.

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