Maybe I am Naive

What was the best part of childhood? Was it having someone to take care of you? Lavish birthday parties with lots of toys? The magic of Santa and The Easter Bunny?

For me, it was knowing that if I tried hard enough, gave everything I had to give, it would be enough. As an adult, I finally understood why they make participation trophy’s for kids.

Not being recognized sucks.

I do not identify as a feminist. I have always felt that everyone gets a fair chance, and that if they do their job good enough, they will be recognized and compensated for their successes. I did not understand that discrimination does not only affect accolades. When a woman is judged harshly for having a strong personality, or for having the audacity to question a male counterpart, it speaks volumes to the complaining parties feelings about a woman’s role in the workforce.

Despite the disparity between the number of women vs men in nursing, there seems to be a propensity for men to advance faster, and to be publicly recognized more freely. Men are often excused for abrasive behavior, as it is seen as decisive and confident; while women are seen as obstinate or bossy. There is an element of denial about the sexist nature of labeling women in this manner. Women are frequently judged by how others perceive their volume, body language, and tone of voice. These women are somehow expected to be able to anticipate how every contact views proper decorum for a female.

The differences between the sexes persist even into performance reviews. Men are frequently given constructive criticism that includes specific details for areas of improvement on their actual job performance. While women receive criticism, however, it is frequently geared towards their personality. Women are described as abrasive, bossy, aggressive, emotional, and irrational. Women also are more likely to receive feedback on their lack of these traits as well. They receive praise for being easy-going, friendly, and nurturing.

I find it disturbing that a woman can perform her job duties well, even exceed expectations and still be at risk for negative evaluations based on her personality. The issue becomes even more confounded if she is in a position where people are openly hostile or ignore her attempts to discuss opposing viewpoints. It seems that women are expected to blindly follow the lead of the men they work with, and still try to earn the respect of the rest of the team.

Men are praised and recognized as natural leaders when they speak out and offer alternative solutions to problems. This is the sign of a true leader. The alpha male. The strong provider.

This is reminiscent of the whole “be seen, not heard” mentality of the past. I am not from that generation. I grew up listening to female rockers scream about how their intricate personalities are a force to be reckoned with.

I am in trouble because I was not born with a penis. Men can throw chairs, yell at nurses, and in general throw a fit. I question the appropriateness of an intervention, and I am unprofessional. I am essentially dismissed. Is it because I am not a doctor? I don’t think so. It is because “the little girl argued with my manly plan.” Yes, there is most likely a more diplomatic way to handle things, and I was willing to admit that.

Now, I am left with a job that I am unable to perform to the best of my capability. I am being underutilized. I am not part of the team, my input is not welcome. I am their secretary, or I can hit the road. Guess what? The road looks mighty fine from here.


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