Great, But Not Good Enough

22 11 2008

Have you seen the 1980s movie, Wildcats? I just bought a copy from the garage sale that is our local Circuit City and I was watching it tonight. In one scene, Goldie Hawn has to outlast every single guy in a race in order to be good enough. While it is in fact a work of fiction, it elegantly illustrates the unreasonable standard to which women are being held twenty years later. It isn’t enough that we’re as able as any – we are asked to be better than any other.

The sexism in our culture has become subtle, but distinct nevertheless. Instead of facing outright discrimination by being told a woman “cannot” do a job, we hear that she is not qualified “enough”. The ability to perform a job is the single greatest criteria to which any applicant should be judged. It is unfair to ask that a woman not only be able to do the job, but that she needs to do it better than any man who might want it – ever.

The thing is, if employers wait long enough, eventually will they find someone even more qualified to fill a position than the person they were going to hire. On a long enough time line, if the most qualified applicant is a man, eventually a woman will come along who is even more qualified – and vice versa. If an accomplished woman applies for a job, and no other applicant can boast better qualifications, shouldn’t she get the position? The answer is yes, but an employer can simply decide to continue searching – not just for a better applicant, but for a better applicant who is a man. This is the important distinction, which should not be confused for lowering standards or not choosing the most qualified applicant. What we are seeing is that employers are finding women who could do the job well, and better than any man who has applied, but the employer actually wants to wait to find a man. It is this desire to wait for a man rather than hire the adequately qualified woman that is most concerning, and testifies to the still present sexism in our culture. Just ask Hillary Clinton.

Women do not have higher morals than men, we do not have more intelligence than men, and we do not have better ideas than men. What we do have is high standards, intelligence, and good ideas. It is time, right here, right now, to end the fairy tale standards to which women are being held.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: