March 12, 2010

When composing emails in the work sense, I’m always surprised how much goes into it. And on some level, it annoys me because it takes time. But I do understand that in email, many things can come off the wrong way and you don’t want to offend or incite anyone without good reason. In the end, it’s hard art to learn to write strongly without upsetting anyone.

Then I read Clay Shirky’s Rant about Women. The point was that women don’t act as arrogant or narcissistic as men, and therefore, the females are missing out on opportunities. We never learn to brag or be aggressive, especially in writing. We don’t self-promote. We don’t confidently say “Yes I can do that” if we’re not quite sure. Are females naturally inclined to avoid looking like arrogant jerks? Or is it something we’re socially taught – to come off more compromising and sadly, less confident? Are we afraid to risk what others think of us in order to open doors for ourselves? Shirky points out:

“There is no upper limit to the risks men are willing to take in order to succeed, and if there is an upper limit for women, they will succeed less. They will also end up in jail less, but I don’t think we get the rewards without the risks.”

Yes, some of it may come from a much larger bias against women who do have these characteristics. But it has to be noted that men often come off the exact same say – whatever the masculine term for bitchy would be – they just care more about the reward than the risk. When it comes down to it, there shouldn’t be this clear of a difference in writing between genders. I had to take a moment to mentally go through any emails I’d recently sent to see if they sounded like that. It’s become an almost unconscious habit to tone things down. And that skill has a time and place. So does being able to say “this is what I need” or “I’m really great at…”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: