Renee Iseli - Smits in Lifestyle, beBee in English, Social Work Moderator • ProCap Switzerland Jun 23, 2020 · 1 min read · 1.7K

Why can't a woman be more like a man?

Why can't a woman be more like a man?

In 1964, in the musical «My Fair Lady» professor Higgins tried to teach his female student Elisa a more civilized pronunciation and way of life.

In a conversation with his friend, Colonel Pickering, he asked him «why can't a woman be more like a man?» He answers his own question with this: «Cause men are so friendly, good-natured and kind. A better companion you never will find.»

For those who are familiar with this musical will, without doubt, recognise the irony and sarcasm of the songs and text, well placed in the historical context of time.

Yet, by means of a short story, I will try to claim that this question still has relevant potential today.

Somewhere, sometime last year a woman, lets call her June, is applying for a management job in a influential company. June is well educated, can show quite some relevant experience on her résumé, she is well prepared and properly dressed for the interview.
Her interviewers are both male, well educated, well prepared and also properly dressed. During the interview, both men are asking June some situation based questions, ask her how she would react and behave. June answers these questions conscientiously and from experience. The interview goes flawlessly and June makes a talented candidate for the job.
The following day, June receives a phone call from one of her interviewers. June does not get the job, because the fear is, that she might behave too feminine to fit in.

June learned a lesson from this feed-back and, well prepared as she was, tried to expand her behaviour by asking herself: «why can't I be more like a man?», which she wanted to test in her next interview.

A couple of weeks later, June has another interview, at another company. Again, June shows up at the interview well prepared and properly dressed. This time, her interviewers are both male and female. And again, the interview is going flawlessly and June leaves a very good impression.
After two days though, June receives a letter from the company: she does not get the job. Since there is no explanation mentioned why, June decides to call her interviewers and to ask for the reason behind her rejection.

One of her interviewers told her, that she feared that June›s behaviour might be too masculine to fit in the team.

A few weeks later, June had a third interview. This time, she decided to dress properly and to be prepared again, but also to be herself.

The same evening she got a call from the company and … she got the job.



Renee Iseli - Smits Jun 24, 2020 · #7

Indeed Ken, this still happens in 2020 ...

+2 +2
Ken Boddie Jun 24, 2020 · #6

This reminds me of an acquaintance who left her high paying legal job not long after her then male boss suggested that if she wanted to run with the pack she had to learn to lift her leg.

+2 +2
Renee Iseli - Smits Jun 23, 2020 · #5

And of course, employers will not admit easily that being too masculine or feminine is the reason for rejection. The legitimate reason will be, that a candidate "does not fit in".

+1 +1
Renee Iseli - Smits Jun 23, 2020 · #4

John, this is based on true events, though with a writer’s twist. If women do get a high position in a male environment, they tend to behave more like men, to be taken more seriously.

+1 +1
John Rylance Jun 23, 2020 · #3

As Polonius advises his son Laertes in Hamlet " to thine own self be true"
As to the story I'm not sure being too feminine or too masculine are legitimate reasons for not employing someone, but it does underline the fact you should never try to be something you're not.

+1 +1
Renee Iseli - Smits Jun 23, 2020 · #2

@ali-anani and @Fay Vietmeier
Hope you like this little tale 😊

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