This post is not about politics.
It’s about stereotyping and gender discrimination.
In a New York Times article, Hillary Clinton’s ‘Angry’ Face, Lisa Feldman Barrett discusses how a woman making stern facial expressions must be angry or upset, but a man who does the same is focusing on an important matter.
Let’s be honest. The article might as well have been titled, Hillary Clinton’s Angry Bitch Face.
When Hillary Clinton participated in a televised forum on national security and military issues, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, tweeted that she was “angry and defensive the entire time — no smile and uncomfortable.”
Would a man be accused of not smiling when discussing national security?
On a man a serious face makes him intelligent and distinguished, but a woman is often viewed as an angry bitch. (Read: How to Overcome Resting Bitch Face.)
In studies, subjects believed that a woman’s expressions were caused by something internal. In contrast, they believed that men were concentrating on a situation. Women who violate their stereotype, meaning they seem less emotional and empathetic are viewed as less likable and less trustworthy.
We may not always be aware of our underlying beliefs. In a courtroom study it was found that “if a woman expresses grief on the witness stand, consistent with stereotypes about female emotionality, the judge is more likely to hand down a harsher sentence to the defendant. But if a woman expresses anger, violating the stereotype of a female victim as fearful, passive and helpless, the judge’s sentence tends to be lighter.”
These are serious consequences.
How do our cultural biases influence us?
I just finished reading Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. The memoir is an Oprah pick and number one on the New York Times Best Seller list.
I highly recommend it.
In discussing her experience as a woman, she writes…
“They are drawn in by my smile but repelled by my boldness.”
She goes on,
“We know what the world wants from us. We know we must decide whether to stay small, quiet, and uncomplicated or allow ourselves to grow as big, loud, and complex as we were made to be. Every girl must decide whether to be true to herself or true to the world.”