Friday, October 1, 2010

Musings of an almost professional female

A powerful female lawyer versus a powerful male lawyer. What exactly is the issue here? Because, apparently, there is one. After skimming an ever-so-eloquently titled entry, “Does this law degree make my ass look fat?” on Above the Law, I began to reflect on my own personal experiences with the general reactions and responses I’d gotten since making the decision to pursue a J.D. (despite the poorly written entry and hateful comments on the entry itself).

I started law school last fall with a boyfriend. While 1L did obviously come hand-in-hand with a demanding schedule and vigorous workload, our eventual break-up in the winter was not due to my choice of career path, at all. Despite that, I found it notable that, in consoling me, most of my friends went down the “you’re too good for him” (true) and “he couldn’t handle your ambitiousness,” route. While the latter is also probably true (I’m being quite humble today, I realize), it was not remotely the cause of our mutual split. Yet, almost everybody instantly turned to that form of solace, despite knowing the full-fledged details of our actual break-up.


Is it a natural assumption to make that males generally are uncomfortable with females who are more powerful and ambitious than they are? The chauvinistic male complex nods vehemently yes in the direction of this question, but what about every other type of male out there? I’ve found, interestingly enough, that while males will say one thing and deny it, it still comes out to play when push comes to shove and when they are with or around a woman who is more goal-oriented or in a more powerful professional position than they are.

Whether a female is more or just as ambitious as a male, has the same skill set as a male, or has the same hobby as a male, it apparently raises a red flag at times that an uncomfortable situation has arisen and that there’s seemingly something “off” about it all. The almost age old double standard of a man in a high paying power position being seen as attractive or sexy, whereas a woman in the exact same position is merely intimidating or too masculine is tired, but still very much exists in this day and age, especially with the increase of women in professional fields. I understand the reasoning of it being male dominance and male privilege and the stereotypical excuse of the male “ego,” but I also can’t get over the fact that what it really boils down to is the fact that both the man and the woman merely just share a same interest, all connotations and implications stripped aside, and that seems to be a social problem still in this day and age.

So, while clearly a positive connotation of women in professional fields and ambitious women are on the rise, many males still remain repelled and uncomfortable. In turn, meeting these types of males these days while I’m still in my dating years, in turn, makes me repelled and uncomfortable.


2elle said...

What makes me really uncomfortable is the number of magazine articles I've come across in the past that deal with this issue and give tips on how not to "intimidate" or "threaten" men with professional success as a woman. A lot of these articles get published in women's magazines!

This site as an example of so called "dating tips" that emphasize the idea that women should avoid talking about their career so they don't somehow scare men away:

It's kind of depressing. Professional success is something to be proud of, not something to hide. It's obviously rude to boast, but there is nothing wrong with a woman being proud of who she is and her great career.

Yazzyjazzy said...

Agreed. My ex-boyfriend and I had a similar experience last year. I felt like when I got into Davis for law school that he was almost unhappy and frustrated at my success. I remember when I told him I got in, he said a quick congratulations and pretended he had to go somewhere. He had wanted to go to law school for as long as I had known him, but he didn't think his grades were good enough. He ended up getting an LSAT score in the top 95th percentile, but didn't even apply to Davis because I think he was too afraid he wouldn't get into the school I got in to.

Sad :(