Do men sabotage successful women? I think some do. I think some men just can’t understand the essence of this very common phenomenon.
Much has been written about the new generation of young men – the “millennials” as they are called – that they have been coddled by over protective mommies of my generation; that they have been helicoptered and micromanaged to the point of perennial adolescence and now are ensconced in “Peter Pan syndrome” for the long haul. It is said that their female counterparts are soaring ahead in education and career, even in this down economy.
But what of the mommies? Do we “ baby boomers” fight off male angst while our daughters tackle apathy?
Male Angst #1 – the Media
I have a friend who is the President and CEO of a community bank chain – her mother is the Chairman of the Board. They have six robust branches along a busy corridor in the San Francisco Bay area. Her mother has been an iconic female force for many years, having raised ten children (five she gave birth to and five step-children), while putting herself through school, becoming an investment broker and a banker along the way. My friend, the eldest daughter, not quite a score younger, followed suit with Mom as mentor. Like most of us her tap dance is continual, with the rich obligations of wife and mother. However, I rarely pass the bank on Sunday mornings when I don’t see her car parked outside, and she alone, putting in a few hours of work. She does not advertise how hard she works, nor feels compelled to.
They both are “hot” women. They are as good looking as they are savvy and they aren’t the least bit interested in hiding any of their assets. They are also extraordinarily community minded and philanthropic, giving thousands of dollars to scads of causes and non-profs – the most of any bank in this area. They also spend countless hours volunteering their time and expertise on a smorgasbord of charitable boards and commissions.
It recently occurred to me that they’ve been the victims of some bank bashing by male reporters. Since they have succeeded where many banks have floundered or failed since the 2008 bust, a few news guys pick at non-existent scabs, stepping right on the border of unethical reporting, though God knows these days the media is myopic when it comes to objectivity. A problem bank that is women-owned seems a tastier morsel than one that is meeting goals.
However, my friend and her mother never stoop to low levels in the pond – they don’t believe in bending down. While I want to attack the scum, they quietly move on and up, ignore the bait and fish more ambitious waters. They continue to succeed.
Male Angst #2 – the Politicians
A male county supervisor is retiring here and will ultimately succumb to pancreatic cancer, and my video company has been commissioned to act as testimonial documentarians. His female appointee will greatly tip the sex balance on the board at four females and one male, something I gave little thought to until it was demonstrably brought to my attention.
At his retirement ceremony, a (fat, old, sloppy, “good ‘ol boy) former supervisor moved to the podium to give his commendations. He had obviously given a lot of thought to the female leaning equation. Before speaking he handed out copies of a thirty-year old newspaper article, heralding the fact that with the appointment of this retiree, replacing the sole female ever elected to the Board of Supervisors in this county (currently one our U.S. Senators), this body would now be 100% male.
“Those were the good old days,” he lamented loudly to the lone male on the dais – “I pity you, you poor bastard.” What should have been a tribute to a man retiring in ill health, became a “diss” to the women sitting on the board and all the women in the room. For no apparent reason.
Last week California celebrated the 100th anniversary of suffrage in this state. Women have been elected to political offices on every level and have served with incredible distinction. Most of the time, they’ve given very little thought to their sex as they work through the tasks at hand. They are too busy tap dancing and achieving to laud their accomplishments as females. It seems some men on the other hand, find it important to take note of gender, and criticize and misrepresent information about their successful female counterparts.
Whether angst or apathy, I think the real emotion at play in either case, is fear.
The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear. ~Gandhi
Copyright Oct. 2011
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