In A Rant About Women, Clay Shirky’s example of male arrogance is a man who lies about his exceptional abilities, and his example of female arrogance is a woman who tells the truth about her exceptional abilities. Shirky complains that not enough women behave like “arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks”.
Although speaking up is necessary for integrating information, commenter Matt King reveals Shirky’s (and society’s) double standard for men and women in what is considered “arrogant”:
I wanted to follow up with a similar observation: of your three examples of “arrogance” (your male student, you, and your female student), it seems worth noting that the two male examples were also “lying.” You and your male student overstated your abilities while your female student summed up her (excellent) abilities quite fairly.
When a man tells the truth about his exceptional abilities, he is not perceived as arrogant, but as a man with exceptional abilities. When a woman tells the truth about her exceptional abilities, she is perceived as arrogant and self-aggrandizing (as well as a bitch).
Opinions at Hacker News generally converge on the explanation that most women do not self-aggrandize because our female brains are not hard-wired to do so, but the demonstrated social double standard is sufficient to explain the discrepancy. Evolutionary psychology arguments are unnecessary when society punishes women more than men for self-aggrandizement. When a man accurately states his abilities, people view him more positively (more competent). When a woman accurately states her abilities, people view her more negatively (more arrogant).
I advocate women being “bitches” in male-dominated environments or fields where women are assumed to be incompetent until proven otherwise. However, culture, not speculation about women’s brains, explains why women are less likely to self-promote in male-dominated fields.
- Women Are Sort Of More Tentative Than Men, Aren’t They? (ScienceDaily) – When it comes to discussing stereotypically feminine topics, men are tentative and women are confident.
- Gender Stereotypes Contradicted When Negotiating (ScienceDaily) – In a standard employment negotiation simulation, women who behaved more assertively were judged more negatively.
- People Accept Anger In Men, But Women Who Lose Their Temper Are Seen As Less Competent, Study Shows (ScienceDaily) – People accept and even reward men who get angry but view women who lose their temper as less competent.
- Feynman was not being arrogant when he told people, “You’re wrong!” by Restructure!
- Men overestimate their intelligence in all 12 countries, research finds by Restructure!