Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Men Diminishing Women, albeit Unwittingly—Even You, Barack Obama? Answer to the Quick Quiz of Yesterday

To make sense of this post, you need to first read the previous one, which asks you to identify the communication screw-up by President Obama in a 45-second video clip.

Obama’s mistake is the disrespect he metes out to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, unwittingly of course. Take another listen to that video clip and note that Obama refers to the other three leaders in Congress--all of whom are men and one of whom (Mitch McConnell) is a “minority leader,” as is Nancy Pelosi--by their official titles. Thus, while thanking them, the president utters “the Speaker of the House”…“Democratic Leader Harry Reid”…and “Republican Leader Mitch McConnell” respectively. But the woman among them is referred to simply as “Nancy Pelosi” instead of “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi” or “Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.”

As noted in previous posts under the labels “diminution of women…” and “men diminishing women…,” such displays of disrespect for female professionals are, sadly, all too common, thanks to the way we men are hardwired. A classic example of this sort of invidiousness, one which I never fail to cite in my seminars on “first impression” and “diminishers,” involves George Stephanopoulos’s interview of four members of the 9-11 Commission. On that occasion, the supposedly urbane and suave Stephanopoulos repeatedly diminished the only woman among them--former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick. Click here to revisit that post.

Sure, there are preemptive steps men can and should take to avoid such accidental slighting of female professionals during meetings, presentations, and the like, and I discuss them in my above mentioned seminars.

© Copyright 2013  V. J. Singal

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