Thursday, January 22, 2015


Saw this on Twitter.

I think its a perfect example of a certain strategy certain woman are employing to gain the upperhand in certain interactions.

Now let's be clear: There is absolutely nothing wrong with employing strategies that will help you win. God knows men do it. In fact, the interrupting and appropriating decried in the poster is precisely that: Its a strategy men use because it helps them win. 

See, here's how its used.
Dominant Man : Here's what we're going to do [Outlines plan]
Less Dominant Personality: Well, I think we should consider...
Dominant Men (waving his hand) No, no. We already decided what we're doing and that's it. Meeting adjourned. 
Now, the dominant man in this example is clearly being a jerk, but he doesn't care. He doesn't want to be loved. He wants to win*. 

*as he defines winning. I realize that many of us don't believe we've won if it requires us to be jerks, but the dominant personality in this example doesn't agree. 

** Also (and does this need to be said?) men aren't the only ones who dominate meetings and behave like jerks in the pursuit of a particular goal. Women do it, too. 

The counter-strategy suggested by the flyer I've posted above calls for the group to respond as follows:
Dominant Personality: Here's what we're going to do [Outlines plan]
Less Dominant Personality: Well, I think we should consider...
Dominant Personality (waving his hand) No, no. We already decided what we're doing and that's it. Meeting adjourned.
Other group members: Hey, wait. Let's hear the other point of view.  
On the face, that's fine, but there are some problems
  1. The poster, and the approach, put all the blame on men, and suggest that women are the victims. But like I said men interrupt other men all the time, and women interrupt men, too. The interrupting and appropriating problem has nothing to do with gender. It has to do with personality type.  Less dominant men also have a hard time being heard and getting their ideas across when a type-A personality of either gender is leading the meeting. Making this about gender is straight up mithandry.
  2. Getting everyone to gang up on the dominant man (or woman)  is - in of itself - a fine strategy, and there's nothing wrong with it per se. The problem is logistics: it relies on the cooperation of the other group members, which can be fleeting. Instead, the person who wants to be heard should take responsibility for solving the problem alone. He should train himself to be more dominant. The tricks that the dominant man (or woman) uses to control the conversation can be mimicked. And saying, "Stop interrupting me" or "Let me speak" works just fine most of the time. *
* Dominant men respect toughness. It seems counterintuitive, but if you stand up for yourself and speak to the dominant man directly, you're far more likely to get your point across and win his admiration and friendship. Inciting an anti-dominant man riot, on the other hand, is likely to make the dominant man into your enemy. 

The whole point of this exercise is to neuter dominant men so that less dominant personalities (of either gender) can gain an edge. That's fine. All for letting less dominant personalities be heard. Moreover, I understand that denying this and pretending what you're really doing is standing up for equal rights or whatever is also part of the strategy. But I don't like the dishonesty. Instead just be direct. You want to be heard. You want to be included. These are reasonable, respectable goals that should be clearly and forcefully articulated without any subterfuge and without taking the radical step of indicting all men for dominant personality behaviors exhibited by both genders.

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