Changing the Culture of Leadership

A striking headline recently caught my eye: 

Masculine Traits are Still Linked to Leadership 

The researchers created a list of stereotypically masculine and feminine words associated with leadership – both those with positive and negative connotations (though I don’t necessarily agree with the binary assignment to categories, for example, ambitious to masculine). They found that traits associated with women were seen as luxurious – valuable, but superfluous, to leadership. Nice, but not necessary. 

Steering our priorities toward the austere, I would argue, is a masculine trait – if one must choose at all (perhaps forced choice can also be thought of as a masculine approach). And one that makes our world more bleak, divided, unnecessary tumultuous, short sighted, and wasteful. So making this choice to veer toward the masculine, regardless of our gender, reinforces these stereotypes and creates the type of world described above. Artful integration of masculine and feminine (and uncategorizable) approaches to leadership, I think, is a more interesting and helpful way to realize the world we dream of living in. 

Are Women Flowers?

To complement the posting of an Anshutz painting on Facebook, the Metropolitan Museum of Art wrote, “the likening of a beautiful woman to a flower are common themes in late-nineteenth-century American painting.” The sentiment of this statement simultaneously offended and allured me. After giving this a bit of thought, I concluded that women are beautiful flowers not to be observed as passive objects, but as active manifestations of the connection between earth and sun. We bring all kinds of beauty to the world to express and create joy and love. Fetishization of this process is irrelevant to me as it is extrinsic and oppressive; I choose to bloom in peace.