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Mean Girls, Mean Women

Every adult woman understands the fierceness of female intrasexual competition, having weathered it one way or another. The unlucky ones have learned first-hand just how mean a mean girl can be. From a young age, we compete in subtle and covert ways, angling for power through a series of small but critical steps. Those steps usually involve elevating oneself at the expense of someone else. Competition among females in the social sphere is often extremely indirect, but the effects of exclusion can be brutal. 

While we’re growing up, we’re eager to be the prettiest girl at the ball, or, failing that, to be in her entourage. Sometimes the best we can hope for is that we’ll avoid being an outcast, left to our own devices without being picked on.  As we age, we remain ever vigilant, desperately wanting to avoid being “that woman” – the outsider.

These truths, rather obvious to me, are often denied by other women. We resist swallowing our own red pill about the vicious tactics we’re capable of employing under the right circumstances.

I’ve shared before how in my career, I have found women to be the most difficult bosses. The rules were unclear, the offenses were random, and the penalties inconsistent. I have found them to be the most likely to steal credit for a subordinate’s work. I have seen them play favorites with male subordinates, introducing a component of sexual tension that amounts to sexual harrassment, though it is rarely recognized as such. (The workplace is the one place where women appreciate obsequious behavior from males.) Most unfairly, I’ve seen women actively sabotage the promotions of deserving women who worked for them, apparently in the belief that their own success would be assured if they could keep the ranks of female superiors thin.

Even in my years as a stay at home mom, I found women to be unforgiving competitors. (If you’ve seen the movie Help, the dynamic among the Junior League types was not far off.) I’ve heard women (often with MBAs, JDs, or MDs) badmouth one another for contributing less-than-gourmet quality food to the annual teacher’s brunch or dry brownies to the annual bake sale. I’ve watched them secretly rejoice upon learning that someone else’s child failed to secure admission to the college of their choice. (At one Back to School Night, the Guidance Counselor advised senior parents to avoid cocktail parties at all costs.) It wasn’t the men acting mean and antisocial during the college application process – it was the moms. (Note: I was President of the Parents’ Association at my son’s school during his last two years. I’m still recovering.)

I doubt any of this will surprise female readers, though it may depress them. Selena Rezvani, author of a book about women leaders, writes in Mean Girls at Work in the Washington Post about the problem.

While workplace studies show women are routinely underestimated compared to men, we don’t give much credence to the fact that women hampering other women is also to blame.

In nearly every leadership talk I give, whether to the women’s network of a Fortune 500 company or to incoming female MBA students, I actively steer away from this topic. 

But even if I don’t bring this issue up in a women’s forum, someone will invariably—and I mean always—raise her hand and ask me the same question. “What about women who thwart other women’s success?” 

It’s time these reports from the trenches get their due. 

Rezvani offers several possible explanations for this rather “unbecoming” behavior:

1. Catty media portrayals

2. Sexism amnesia

Women get to the top and forget what it was like to be young and struggling.

3. Sink or swim sadism

“I was treated like dirt on my way up, so you should be too.”

4. Self-hatred

Rezvani states, “In their book Mean Girls, Meaner Women, coauthors Drs. Erika Holiday and Joan Rosenberg note, ‘…Self-hatred is the key link between girls’ early hurtful behavior toward each other and women who suppress other women. A woman with a strong sense of self and high self esteem is much less likely to hurt others.’ The authors explain that women are socialized from an early age to avert, rather than express anger, and to feel that any expression of anger whatsoever is wrong. Perhaps this is how the wires get crossed, making appropriate anger morph into backdoor, gossipy, passive-aggressive behavior.”

5. Bitchy mothers

Mothers are the figures who have greater influence in the transference of discriminatory behavior, and thus the opportunity to pass on more fair-minded behavior as well.

6. Having it all, doing it all

 This is Rezvani’s own theory.

If there’s one observation I make about many professional women today—particularly working moms—it’s that they’re “doing it all,” burdened with too many demands to count and moving through life at breakneck speed. Kate Sayre and Michael J. Silverstein, coauthors of the book Women Want More , found that women’s happiness, when correlated to age, is V-shaped. Meaning, women are happiest between the ages of 18 and 25 and then again after age 50 when, for many, these converging life demands are less pronounced.

Finally, she asks, “Where’s the solidarity and sisterhood?”

There isn’t any, and there actually never was. Feminism, the most prominent “sisterhood” of our age, is fractured, characterized by infighting and petty grievances, along with a hatred of “other.” Most notably, that means men, but there’s plenty of vitriol for women who question or disagree.

Recently I was asked to participate in a small group of Wharton women alums, charged with the task of rethinking the mission of the Wharton Women’s group, and exploring what kinds of programs and services might be of most interest. At one point, the moderator asked what we thought of a mentoring program, where older, successful women might meet regularly with recent graduates. I said I thought that was a great idea, since relations between women in the workplace are so often strained and unproductive. At first, no one else in the group spoke. The moderator asked if others also perceived that. One woman, the head of a profitable hedge fund, assured the group that she was incredibly generous and kind with her female employees. As she had been curt and abrupt with us, I didn’t give her report much credit.

Finally, the youngest woman present spoke. After being assured that her remarks would not be attributed to her, she confessed that women had actively derailed her success in some instances, and were very impersonal and businesslike at her current firm. She admitted that she has had two wonderful mentors, both male, and that women in each organization actively disapproved of and discouraged these relationships, although they had no interest in mentoring themselves. By the end of the meeting, everyone but the hedge fund guru had admitted to having similar experiences. 

 

I do agree with Rezvani that real life reports from the trenches need to be taken seriously. What’s more, each and every woman should acknowledge that this mode of behavior is endemic to female nature. It’s an uncomfortable truth, but only by acknowledging it can we call out offenders and reward more productive ways of competing. 

In the meantime, here’s my advice for dealing with women in the workplace:

1. Avoid direct confrontation at all costs.
2. Be unassailably good at your job, and never cut corners, e.g. taking long lunches, leaving early, etc.
3. Cultivate professional relationships with men. Be sure to avoid any hint of flirtation.
4. If you have a female boss, kiss her ass and have her back at all times. If you’re lucky, she’ll feel neutral about you.
5. Be a loyal and cooperative teammate with other women at your level. Don’t rise to competitive bait.
6. Never underestimate what alliances even the bitchiest (and sometimes the stupidest) women have in place. I’ve seen at least half a dozen terrible women get promoted repeatedly for having a sexual relationship with a senior executive.

This is an ugly truth. The most difficult people in a man’s world are the women.

 

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  • Anna

    Phew! I’m actually glad someone is this honest about it. I’m a student and I’ve only had one job in my life, which was all-female employees and a female boss. She was not a great boss whatsoever and I sincerely think it would have been better with a man.
    I’ve always preferred male over female teachers as well. Problem is, if you express these things (particularly as a young girl), people (women) will assume you are saying what you are saying because if you did have a male boss you would be able to flirt your way with him, or sometimes even given advantages without any flirtation whatsoever (simply for being attractive). Occasionally this is true (I have experienced male teachers giving me 10 points extra on a test without flirtation from my side or anything between us), but mostly it’s about being able to have a good relationship with your boss without all the female bullshit between you.
    Honestly, do you think most companies would be better off with a male boss?

  • http://stagedreality.wordpress.com/ LeapofaBeta

    Curious – Does anyone actually have some answers for how to solve the problem?

    Susan’s ideas seem to try to avoid the problem as if it doesn’t exist. Doesn’t exactly sound pleasurable for a career long strategy as I doubt that it will go away. Probably the best you could hope for is one career driven female being replaced by another that backstabbed the first to get the job.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @LeapofaBeta

      Haha, the writer of the WashPo article doesn’t have a clue either. I’m all ears if you have ideas, though.

      As I suggest in the post, the first step in solving the problem, and it is huge, is getting women to acknowledge what’s really going on. As my illustration of the Wharton meeting demonstrates, this topic feels like the third rail for professional women. I’ve been in many group discussions over the years about this topic, and have found few dissenters, though many junior women are understandably afraid to speak honestly.

      So for now I encourage women to begin to open up about this very real issue. The topic has been explored in the media among adolescent girls. Tina Fey’s movie Mean Girls is the best known example, and many books have been written about the “queen bee” syndrome among teenage girls. What’s not been discussed until now is the fact that women don’t outgrow this behavior, and often the worst offenders are the older women at senior levels.

      My suggestions do not deny or avoid the problem, which is what women have been miserable doing for a long time now. I suggest treating female superiors with kid gloves, because they have the power to destroy your reputation and advancement, and may even get you fired.

      The way that the problem will go away is if young women today resolve to behave differently as they advance in the organization. You are simply not going to get current senior women to change their ways. We’re talking about a big shift in culture, and that takes time. In the meantime, young women need a survival strategy.

  • FeralEmployee

    @Anna

    To state that companies are better off with male bosses is extreme. Whereas women interrelations might suffer from hostility, men aren’t all that either. Always need to keep an eye out for those traits that mark a bad boss (narcissism, greed, …). I’ve developed a feeling as to what a good boss is, and the traits are gender neutral.

    I believe this post simply highlight a problem more common in female groups in a professional environment than in a male environment. From my experience as a male, we tend to categorize according to aspects such as religiosity, political adherence, stances on various issues, … Which is why you’ll find us bickering about such issues.

  • PV

    I had four women bosses before I became a SAHM. Two were fair and easy to work for and two were vicious as you describe so I guess I was lucky. I’ve been wondering if this mean girl situation is just getting worse. I have a 16-year-old daughter and the stories she tells me about how the girls sabotage each other stuns me. I remember mean girls in high school but I just stayed away from them and it was not a big deal.

    I think the media has a lot to do with this. Shows like “the Bachelor” pit women against each other and encourage catfights and slutty behavior. It get worse every year.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @PV

      I think the media has a lot to do with this. Shows like “the Bachelor” pit women against each other and encourage catfights and slutty behavior. It get worse every year.

      I don’t think the effect of pop culture can be overstated. I’d bet that reality shows have done more to destroy the American character than anything since feminism.

  • http://revoltagainst.wordpress.com/ Flavia

    Hmm….I suppose that anytime you put women and potential mates in an environment together there will be competition and tension – hence why the workplace is so fraught with it.

    I have a few tips for women to avoid, that I have handed down to my younger siblings:

    1) If a woman states that she cannot stand other women, that they are “catty” and jealous of her, and that she’d rather hang out with guys than women, she is most likely a bitch. If you can’t get along with 3 billion people on the planet, it’s usually you.

    2) If a woman (especially a friend) every gives you any of the following advice, she is not a good friend: a) Cut your hair short b) Gain weight b/c you look too thin c) Confront your guy over something that is trivial

    3) If a girl starts talking the house of shit about someone right after they leave, they are doing the same thing about you

    @PV I think that bad behavior among women is easily encouraged because it is easily brought out. Women are highly competitive and in this day and age are highly delusional about their market value- which results in highly entitled attitudes (I can’t believe that girl got the guy/promotion/compliment over me when I am clearly a special snowflake that should really have been discovered by Calvin Klein by now…). Add hormones and it’s suddenly a voyeurs dream.

    The worst person I ever worked for was a woman. Now that I think about it the only work issues I have ever had (all minor) have been with women. Hmmm.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Flavia

      Great advice re red flags to watch out for with other women, thanks!

  • http://stagedreality.wordpress.com/ LeapofaBeta

    @ Susan

    Hah! Wish I did have a solution for you, cause men have to deal with these crazy women too. Sadly, I have the feeling that we’ll all have to continue dealing with these kinds of women as they seem to make up a significant portion of career girls.

    In in an arts career I run into too many of them to suite my taste.

  • http://stagedreality.wordpress.com/ LeapofaBeta

    Even in*

    Stupid typos

  • Anna

    @ Flavia
    “If a woman states that she cannot stand other women, that they are “catty” and jealous of her, and that she’d rather hang out with guys than women, she is most likely a bitch. If you can’t get along with 3 billion people on the planet, it’s usually you. ”

    There is a name for this kind of woman. The female dog whistle.
    Example on Facebook: “Sarah wants to apologise to all the wives and girlfriends for keeping their men out late last night! Naughty me :-)

    Men think she’s sweet, misunderstod and picked on. Women know she’s a manipulative, girl-hating nightmare who’d sleep with their men in a flash. If you complain about these girls to your boyfriend, he will say you and your friends are being bitchy or of course, jealous. She is calles the female dog whistle because only girls can hear her. She says she’s a “bit of a tomboy” and feels a constant need to demonstrate how sexually liberated she is. She makes herself stupid to get attention from men (*baby voice* How do I send an email on this ‘puter?). She will invite girls with their boyfriends to a pajama party. You turn up in flannel, she opens the door in a babydoll and stay-ups.
    The giveaway catchphrase is “Women don’t like me and I don’t know why”. It means “I don’t like women and I want you to think they’re jealous of me”.
    She lacks the skills and personality to become friends with other females. So pretends to be “one of the boys”, because it’s easy to get attention from men, especially when “sexually liberated”. If you ask any of her ‘male friends’, they will confirm – she is not one of the boys. She lives on male attention.
    A lot of girls are gossipy, but not everyone, and for a normally social person, it is perfectly possible to meet girls that aren’t bitches.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Anna

      I’ve never heard of the female dog whistle, but that is perfect!

      Men think she’s sweet, misunderstod and picked on. Women know she’s a manipulative, girl-hating nightmare who’d sleep with their men in a flash. If you complain about these girls to your boyfriend, he will say you and your friends are being bitchy or of course, jealous.

      Ooooohhh, this drives me crazy. This can also be very problematic when couples socialize. The husband is great, the wife is a terror. Not only does my husband fail to see how terrible she is, apparently her husband doesn’t even hear the whistle. I know a woman who is so toxic that whenever I think of her I wonder how her husband, a total sweetheart, can possibly stand it.

  • http://stagedreality.wordpress.com/ LeapofaBeta

    @ Anna
    “She is calles the female dog whistle because only girls can hear her.”

    Red pill men can hear her. Depending on their intentions they’ll either be one of the line of men she gets with for a few nights or they’ll ignore her to let her get attention, money, and favors. Mostly from beta’s who can’t resist her charms/don’t know better.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Agreed

  • Jackie

    @Susan

    Wow, thank you for an incredibly honest (if painful) article. My sympathies to all those who struggled under these types. :( I work for myself so I’m out of the loop:

    *Is it possible that this is related to a “zero sum” mentality in these women? Like, Highlander, “There can only be one” and they will destroy you to get it, instead of seeing that there is abundance for all?

    *Do you think this is worse in some fields, or “vibe”/culture of company? Big Law vs NonProfit, Govt vs Private Business, Boutique Level vs Huge Corp?

    PS: Susan, thank you for answering my question last thread. Much appreciated! :)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jackie

      *Is it possible that this is related to a “zero sum” mentality in these women? Like, Highlander, “There can only be one” and they will destroy you to get it, instead of seeing that there is abundance for all?

      I do think it comes from an attitude of scarcity rather than abundance. I wondered whether it had improved a lot since I had encountered it – women have made great strides in the intervening years. Obviously, according to Rezvani, it’s very much a problem today. In my day, I think there was a sense that only a certain number of women were going to make it to senior management, so it was important to eliminate rivals on the way up. It was probably an effective strategy, which is why it’s become so prevalent. But it does make life hell for fellow women along the way.

      I think there’s another possibility – and it’s related to narcissism, a favorite topic here recently. I think some women aren’t content with being good, or even excellent. They’re not even content with being the best of a talented pool. They need/want to be the only really good women who can make a go of it with the big boys. They want to be very, very unusual, both from an ego gratification standpoint, and because that means that again, there will be fewer female competitors for top spots.

      *Do you think this is worse in some fields, or “vibe”/culture of company? Big Law vs NonProfit, Govt vs Private Business, Boutique Level vs Huge Corp?

      That’s a really good question. I only know business. I’ve worked in large corporations and management consulting, where it was a serious problem. By the way, another area of contention is the whole mommy question. Most very senior women don’t have kids, and they can be very dismissive of women who choose to have a family. You’re toast if you take time off to care for kids. When I announced a pregnancy at my consulting firm, the responses were pretty interesting to watch. The high powered women, not one of whom was married or had a kid, offered wooden congratulations and I could feel myself vaporize before their eyes. “She’s one of those.”

      I have friends who are MDs, and the dynamic is different there, I think. Perhaps it depends on the specialty, IDK. I’m pretty sure that in law the competition among women is pretty cutthroat, I could be wrong. Maybe some women in other fields will weigh in.

  • Jackie

    @Flavia (#6)

    These descriptions remind me of Shakespeare’s Iago from “Othello.” Talk about smiling while they twist the knife! Yikes. :(

  • ExNewYorker

    @Susan,

    My wife works in the medical field as a nurse, and she’s had to deal with these types of issues from day one. Her current place isn’t as bad as her earlier jobs, but from what she decribes, it sounds like junior high all over again, complete with cliques, frenemies, and the “in-crowd”, where something as simple as a coworkers baby shower can become gossip mill grist (Why didn’t X and Y show up? Why did Z and A leave so early? etc, etc). The few males present have become feminized so completely that they’re almost as bad (though they gossip less, apparently, and aren’t as two-faced). Add to that, dealing with patients (she particularly can’t stand the helicopter mothers with their kids because they are often insufferable know it alls), and I imagine I would have strangled somebody if I were in her shoes…

    We men have our own issues, particularly in male-dominated fields (like STEM), and we can have our own dominance and conflict issues (you get a lot of personality clashes which can be quite “direct” sometimes). However, I’ve never had to deal with the level of “high school” politics that my wife has had in her professional career. We go hiking every weekend, her main motivation being to “be away from all those annoying people” :-)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @ExNewYorker

      My wife works in the medical field as a nurse, and she’s had to deal with these types of issues from day one.

      So much for my theory that health care professionals are above this!

      From everything I’ve heard here, it seems like male competition is direct and straightforward. No subtext, no covert operations. Obviously, people of either sex can betray, get aggressive politically, etc. but the underhanded nonsense seems strictly female. This never made sense to me. When I had direct reports, I was fairly nurturing, I think, to both sexes. I was bad at delegating – I tended to hover – but I think I was equally guilty of this with both men and women.

      Hiking sounds to me like an excellent way of getting away from the nonsense! Actually, I’m obviously not subjected to these issues anymore, but every weekend my husband and I take long walks in the city, and they are very restorative psychologically. We’ll talk a bit about his work, maybe a bit about HUS, but then we let it go and just patter on about other stuff. It’s good to get away, even for a couple of hours.

  • Jackie

    Susan has clearly given excellent advice. I only wanted to add one thing:

    Don’t take it personally.

    The only comparable episode I had was in grad school on my committee, for a final presentation before my degree. The ENTIRE committee was made up of these darling women (that was sarcasm ;) ).

    For me, it was pretty smart to play dumb. Once they saw that the slings and arrows were going unnoticed, the game lost much of its sport. But I remember my main advisor saying things like, You must think you’re going to be a movie star, weirdly out of nowhere. Or backhanded compliments about my looks.

    After my presentation, everyone else left the room and it was just them and me. *gulp* The woman who most resembled oatmeal in appearance (she tended to favor grey, sack-like garb), began by shaming me to the point of tears for my appearance. (I wore a knee-length skirt, high heels and a nice sleeveless top with a high neckline, as it was June and *hot*).

    I held it together until they had left the room before I started crying. I called my mentor afterwards and she told me,

    “None of this is personal. She wanted to put you in your place to demonstrate to the other women that SHE still had power. It was ‘horse wars.’ Nothing to do with you personally.”

    I think that when some women seeing their power (looks, youth, etc) wane, seeing those wax in another woman is just one more reminder and out come the claws. :(

    PS: I still remember when I gave her a “thank you” gift and card after I graduated. She was pretty shocked, I think, since by showing “no hard feelings” it meant that I didn’t let her win. :)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jackie

      I’m actually disappointed to hear this goes on in academia as well. I can’t believe you had to deal with this kind of crap while defending your thesis!

      I think that when some women seeing their power (looks, youth, etc) wane, seeing those wax in another woman is just one more reminder and out come the claws

      Yes, this does happen. Sadly, I’ve seen mothers do this with their own daughters. Fountains of Wayne had a great hit about this a few years ago – Stacy’s Mom.

      PS: I still remember when I gave her a “thank you” gift and card after I graduated. She was pretty shocked, I think, since by showing “no hard feelings” it meant that I didn’t let her win.

      Good for you. I doubt I could have pulled that off.

  • http://stagedreality.wordpress.com/ LeapofaBeta

    @ Susan
    “I think there’s another possibility – and it’s related to narcissism, a favorite topic here recently. I think some women aren’t content with being good, or even excellent. They’re not even content with being the best of a talented pool.”

    I think a lot of that is that any criticism of a woman’s work usually is treated as a criticism of the woman. So, as women get higher on a hierarchy, more and more items fall into that category. Soon nearly anything is seen as a personal attack instead of a criticism aimed at helping an individual grow and do better work.

  • http://revoltagainst.wordpress.com Flavia

    @ Anna
    “She is calles the female dog whistle because only girls can hear her.”

    That is priceless. I had never heard of that term until now.

    “Women just hate me…”bah! And the most annoying part is that men will play into her warped ego by saying just what she wants to hear. “Yeah, you’re just hot and they can’t stand it.”

    Nonsense. E If anyone saw season 1 of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills you can see what I’m talking about (Camille Grammar). Who’d have thunk so many post menopausal women would be so sexually competitive.

    BTW Susan, you’d look so cute with like, a super short pixie cut. Maybe like a super funky “Kate” do!! ;)

  • Jackie

    Sorry for being a “thread hog”– there was one more thing I wanted to add. :)

    “Feminism, the most prominent “sisterhood” of our age, is fractured, characterized by infighting and petty grievances, along with a hatred of “other.””

    This reminded me of a housemate I had. She was history doctoral candidate, emphasis on women’s studies. Her main advisor was just about the most pretentious person I have ever seen. (Her book jacket pic featured her posing against a grand piano– she doesn’t even play beyond Chopsticks!) She was also a hardcore feminist.

    One of her (male) students asked me out on a date. My housemate came up in conversation. He mentioned that the feminist prof was MUCH harder on the women, including my housemate. He said that the prof viewed it as her duty to “toughen them up” so they could go out and succeed. A kind of trial by fire or “break you down then build you up.” This is also a psychological tactic they use in combat training, I believe.

  • Anna

    Susan,
    as a Junior League member I had to watch “The Help” tonight to see what you were talking about :) Those women are horrid for sure. But it’s a real power movie, there is no better way of punishing a woman than having her eat your shit haha.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Anna

      The Junior League has done great work. I’ve never been a member, and did not mean to malign the organization. If you watched the movie you saw what I meant. “Two Slice Hilly!” Gross!

  • Odds

    On the one hand, I don’t think this problem is going to stop until bosses (male or female) have the leeway to get rid of toxic employees quickly and efficiently. Firing someone, especially a woman, is a drawn-out, difficult process that creates a risk of a lawsuit, especially from a woman. Even at-will employees can pull the Damocles act if they’re willing to play the protected-minority card. You can’t put “because she’s a bitch” on the paperwork (or any other nice euphemisms like “bad for morale”).

    On the other hand, giving some bosses (in this case vindictive womenfolk) the power to more easily fire someone could backfire spectacularly before it solves the problem, leaving a lot of decent women just as unemployed as the nasty ones. Unavoidable problem of that kind of power.

    Gripping hand, it’s a problem that easier for the powers that be to ignore than to solve, and I’m skeptical of any bottom-up solutions for this one. You have to add an awful lot of clean water to sewage before the resulting mix can be called “clean water,” and it will take the people at the top to fire the problems.

    Nice thing about going back to school is I’ve seen so much less of this. Disputes can be settled over Frisbee. But then, I’m sure it’s going on in the background as the cliques form; don’t much care, so long as I get to remain oblivious.

  • Stargirl

    Great choice of topic Susan; it’s usually thorny because there is that element of frenemy which is difficult to figure out.

    As I haven’t spent many years working yet, I can’t speak about the workplace. However, I’ve developed many close female friendships over the years and have managed to avoid, for the most part, these type of catty friendships. These are the following things I noticed:

    1. As Susan said, mean girls = mean women. Though not 100% all the time, many times people are consistent with their character. I try to avoid developing close friendships with women who exhibit cattiness from the start. If they are bad mouthing others during your acquaintance period, you can never trust what she is saying about you behind your back.

    2. I try to make friends who are not too similar as me. This might sound counterintuitive, but I’ve found it helps immensely with the competition aspect. If you are both pursuing different goals (your friends are in med school, business, engineering, and you are teaching English in a foreign country) then you can sincerely support each others’ successes instead of feeling awkward for congratulating her for getting the position/promotion/scholarship that you were ALSO trying to obtain. Oh, and this helps IMMENSELY with the boy department. If you and your friends are very different, chances are, you’ll have different tastes in guys and different guys will like each of you as you are.

    3. Be aware of gossip. Don’t be tempted to fall into it. I didn’t realize how gossipy and negative one of my friends was until I went on exchange and spent 5 months discussing OTHER things that were way more fun, productive, and interesting than gossiping about what so and so said/did. It reminded me of the quotation ‘Small minds talk about other people, average minds talk about events, great minds talk about ideas.’ Sad to say, but it was the first time that I realized that it is possible to have great conversations with great people ALL the time if you choose it.

    4. Be a good friend. Coming off the last point, I’ve found it very rewarding to KEEP your friends’ secrets to yourself. They trusted you with it. Don’t squander it. And it’s an investment in your friendship to choose the trust over some small snippet of gossip. Your friends will remember if you keep their secret and will open up to you more. They will also remember if you don’t keep your mouth shut and your friendship might never progress if she doesn’t trust you completely.

    That’s all I can think of right now. What do you guys think?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Stargirl

      That’s great advice, and you’ve introduced the question of character, which I really didn’t do in the post. By exhibiting good character and selecting others for it, you can avoid some of the worst cases of this kind of mean-spirited treatment. Unfortunately, this is often impossible in a work environment, which is why sometimes the best you can do is keep your head down and aim for a neutral, uncomplicated relationship.

  • PV

    “What’s not been discussed until now is the fact that women don’t outgrow this behavior, and often the worst offenders are the older women at senior levels.”

    A lot of these women fit your Explanation 3: Sink or Swim Sadism. They had to fight hard to get to the top and gave up a lot: usually that meant giving up having a family. They were LIVID and took it out at anyone they thought threatened their position. They also seemed sad to me.

    I think there are some differences with younger women. It seems to start at a younger age with hyper-competitiveness in education, getting boyfriends and then work. As you say, some of this leads to narcissism, and for some women I think it leads to Explanation #4: Self-loathing.

    Did anyone see this clip: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-08-16/entertainment/30040617_1_female-contestants-harrison-egg
    (Susan, please forgive me if I’m not suppose to do this, I am kind of new here.) Why would any women with self-respect subject herself to this?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @PV

      OMG, that video! You didn’t do anything wrong – it’s interesting. But it’s also just incredibly sordid. For me, the worst thing was that the woman who everyone deemed least attractive responded by singling out another woman who she claimed was “way bigger” and “not pretty.” I have no sympathy! I don’t know if these woman loathe themselves to start, but they certainly should be the end.

  • Odds

    @ PV, re: that clip

    A thought strikes me. I’m not going to subject myself to the show before that point, but if it fits the usual profile of reality shows, up until then all of the girls have likely been tearing each other apart. When they all call her beautiful at the end and try to comfort her, is it because they see someone torn down in need of compassion, or because they are now secure in their position as the more-attractive (and therefore more powerful) girls?

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    “Do you think this is worse in some fields, or “vibe”/culture of company? Big Law vs NonProfit, Govt vs Private Business, Boutique Level vs Huge Corp?”

    I think the degree of malign politicization is inversely proportional to the measurability of the job. If you have a bottom line–whether a P&L, a sales quota, or a product deliverable–playing politics isn’t likely to play as big a role in your success as it might be if you have a job with softer success criteria.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @David foster

      I think the degree of malign politicization is inversely proportional to the measurability of the job.

      That’s a keen observation, I agree. Concrete metrics don’t lie, and though politics can enable you to stick around longer than you deserve if you’re not making the grade (I’ve seen it), ultimately it’s hard to argue with results.

      As someone who’s always been “staff” in organizations, I’ve had to be very politically astute. In fact, in consulting there’s a double whammy – intrafirm politics, and the politics of the client organization.

  • Sassy6519

    I’ve ran into several female bosses who were complete terrors. Honestly, I prefer to have a male boss. They typically don’t have chips on their shoulders like they have something to prove, for the most part. My female boss right now is pretty cool though. It’s more about evaluating the individual than anything else.

    As far as the female dog whistle, it’s so true. Women can spot bad women easily because we’ve had more exposure to and experience with their underhanded tactics. Most men only find out about these women’s flaws when it is too late. I can typically suss a woman out in 5 minutes. I think most women who have ever been to high school or college have the same talent.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Sassy

      I can typically suss a woman out in 5 minutes. I think most women who have ever been to high school or college have the same talent.

      Guys here have actually said the same thing about cads – they can suss out a cad in five minutes, and are amazed when a woman tries to tell them the guy is “really nice” and “a good guy.” It just demonstrates that men and women speak different languages, and we only really understand our own kind.

  • Charm

    I could pretty much agree with everything you wrote. Though, I definitely don’t hang out with women for the exact reasons you listed above. I can’t stand that type of behavior. Im not like and I wont hang out with men or women who are like that. Because of this, I have no female friends.

    Re Sexism Amnesia

    I would never help another woman out nor do I want to be help by another woman just because we both have vaginas. Id rather play on a leveled playing field. You could even argue that the odds are stacked againist me just because I am a woman, but I’d still rather take those odds. Ive seen what happens when people give others a leg up because they are apart of team vagina or share the same ethnicity or culture. In the workplace, its a joke. Its the same as promoting someone who is a friend. I don’t respect people who do it, and I would never do it. If you can’t be objective you shouldn’t be doing the job. Also, why is a woman always depicted as being “struggling” in the workplace? Men start off in shit jobs just like women and yet they complain a lot less. Personally, I prefer the struggle and the adversity. It makes it that much sweeter when I get to where Im going.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Charm

      I would never help another woman out nor do I want to be help by another woman just because we both have vaginas. Id rather play on a leveled playing field.

      I agree, I reject any notion of “sisterhood” in business. It’s totally inappropriate. Everyone is there to produce. Cooperation among employees, and even mentoring relationships are ultimately meant to increase productivity. Women giving one another special treatment is only going to breed resentment among men. Although few women apparently do this of their own accord, a lot of organizations have special programs and perks for encouraging bonding among female employees. I think they’re mostly a waste of money.

  • Sarah

    You say that all women experience these kinds of things, but I never really have. At school and in my social life I avoid mean women and have formed many strong, supportive, loving relationships with women.

    At work I have experienced professional support and friendship from my female coworkers. Granted I am young and work in retail. It might be different elsewhere.

    So you can’t say these are universal experiences.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Sarah

      So you can’t say these are universal experiences.

      I don’t say so. The author of the WashPo article indicates that the question comes up every single time she speaks to a group of women. However, she’s talking about women in business. It may happen in lots of organizations, but I believe you’ll see a lot of this behavior among the most ambitious and career-oriented women.

      In any case, I’m glad that hasn’t been your experience.

  • Charm

    @Sassy 32

    Sussing ‘em out:

    Lol, I know right. I upon interacting with someone for a few minutes you can definitely spot if the girl is bad news. I think men are often blinded by…umm…other attributes and are willing to ignore warning signs early on. I think it would be smart for men to as a trusted female friend what she thought of a girl. Even if a girl isn’t my type, as in someone I’d hang with, I can give her credit for being a good person if she is one. I don’t like tearing someone down for being “competition”.

  • sweetsue

    Great post – can’t wait for the feminist backlash from the blue pill kool aid consuming crowd.
    Doing 2 negates 4 and 5 and guarantees a knife in the back in the future is a given – especially if you also do 3 and are respected by them. Do not expect reciprocity and be prepped to be thrown under a bus.

    Solution – network within your field at companies that may provide employment opportunities when the knife comes. Keep the resume up to date at all times. Learn to remain calm and cool under pressure and think on your feet for those moments of being stabbed in the back or called on the carpet publicly. Develop contacts within the organization so you can get things done – network vertically folks above and below you on the corporate ladder. Document your performance, problem solved, impact and revenue generated and keep copies of any letters or emails of praise- one set at home and one at work.

    Refuse to play into women who like to play “victim” i.e. “Men think she’s sweet, misunderstood and picked on.” Ignore her but do not take your eyes off her or turn your back. Trust your instincts but do not play into that game – just let her be. Just be your best self – if you don’t engage she will have to get her fix another way. It is not you – it is her. Have boundaries and when you have reached your limit or see it fast approaching – kick your network in gear and get out.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Sweetsue

      Your advice is so good I’m going to lay it out again here.

      1. Network within your field at companies that may provide employment opportunities when the knife comes.
      2. Keep the resume up to date at all times.
      3. Learn to remain calm and cool under pressure and think on your feet for those moments of being stabbed in the back or called on the carpet publicly.
      4. Develop contacts within the organization so you can get things done – network vertically folks above and below you on the corporate ladder.
      5. Document your performance, problem solved, impact and revenue generated and keep copies of any letters or emails of praise- one set at home and one at work.

      The last one is key when one has a boss who has it out for you. I haven’t experienced this, but a trail of documentation is essential in this litigious era. HR respects it.

  • Charm

    @Susan

    I’d also like to add:

    I’m only in college, but I’ve had a few different jobs in my time here, and one thing I’ve noticed about girls my age is they try to pull the “I’m a girl and stressed out” card for not being able to do things. One of the girls that I work with now at a food place near campus always needs to leave early (begging the other person to come in early) because she “had a bad day”. I’m talking working 4 hour shifts. And yet, she also wants to be the managers pet. At other jobs girls have pulled the “I don’t feel good”, or “I was up late studying” excuse to get out of work or responsibly like everyone else isn’t in college and sleep deprived as well. This is why I prefer males. They don’t complain as much and they can ride it out.

    Do you also think that guilt by association might come into play here? Like you’ve said time and time again, women herd. Men are going to make a ton of assumptions about women and look for weaknesses to count against them. If a woman is brought of board, and screws up, she and you will end up looking bad. Its like that with race too. Whenever its me and another black person in a predominantly non-black space, I hope they don’t say or do something really ignorant because I’ll end up looking like an asshole too even though we didn’t come together.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Charm

      I do think guilt by association can be powerful in organizations. I’ve seen people bring a high-level, expensive person into a company, and when that recruit turns out to be a terrible fit, their original sponsor suffers a hit to their reputation. “Why did Christine recruit that guy? Who cares if he has a PhD in physics, he doesn’t know shit about finance.” Etc.

      I would also not bestow any favors on those women looking for special treatment. Don’t tolerate their excuses, and of course, never pull those same stunts. You’ll stand out as very professional by comparison. Their tactics won’t be tolerated once they get out into the real world.

  • Charm

    @Anna #9

    Lol. I just read your post. I dont know any girls like this. If you know any, punch that bitch in the face. The ‘puter? I would lose my mind. I laughed so hard at that line.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    @Charm
    I noticed that IME men also pay more attention to how the girls treats them and don’t notice a whole lot how they treat other women unless they are their sisters, mothers and it affects them.

    I had been very lucky most of my unpleasant experience with women (and for what is worth men too) had been observations, usually my female bosses had been very nice to me and I still talk to some of them. The only issues I had at work was with a coworker (related on my queen bee post) and the wife of one of my bosses, my boss adored me and he did everything to avoid my transfer to another department when I couldn’t put on with his wife anymore but it was getting the transfer or push her out of the second floor and jail is not a nice place to write. I even started smoking to calm down because she was driving me off the rails. Funny enough this lady had a record of low employees (Secretaries, Maids, Drivers) quitting because of her (we used to bet how long a driver will last 19 drivers and the one that lasted the long did it for 3 months) so it HR helped me to get out as soon as they found an opening, she was the queen of the queen bees for real.*shrugs*

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Susan,
    Oh yay, the entire freaking reason I came to HUS!!

    I remember my first theory at HUS, which was that women are the ones who perpetuate sexism and the objectification of females as sex objects. I’ve modified that theory a bit, but I still maintain that the worst problem for women is not men… it’s other women. I have two female bosses and an all-female cohort in my small program in grad school, and I’ve had to significantly modify my behavior in order to “play nice” but not get caught up in the drama. It’s been working rather well so far!

    But for real, I’ve been trying to navigate this shit since I was 4 years old. In kindergarten a girl said I couldn’t play with her and her friend because I sucked my thumb. In 6th grade a very good friend completely ignored me at a sporting event because her entourage didn’t approve. In 7th grade a girl told me I was ugly. In high school my friend suggested I was stupid.

    And now that I’m 23? People aren’t quite as harsh or upfront. But if the way they talk about each other to me is any indication, they’re just as bad. I have no freaking clue how to solve the problem, but it’s a really big one.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Olive

      Haha, I thought you might like this post.

      But if the way they talk about each other to me is any indication, they’re just as bad. I have no freaking clue how to solve the problem, but it’s a really big one.

      Watching how someone treats others is always a great way to test for character. It’s true in all walks of life – for all kinds of relationships. If a person is unkind or catty about someone else, it’s only a matter of time before you land in their crosshairs.

      The problem really is an intractable one. In my experience, the best you can do is have a survival strategy for dealing with mean women, and behave differently yourself. If you’re good enough to rise to the top of your field, that’s one successful woman who doesn’t try to keep others down. And there are the women you nurtured on your way up who have theoretically had a positive role model. I think this is one of those situations where one person can make a small difference, and over time many individuals can shift the culture. I really don’t know if that will happen. This article is the first I’ve ever seen in the MSM about the issue.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    There was an article in Investors Business Daily several years back contrasting *legitimate ambition* with *toxic opportunism*. “If you are going to be an executive with staying power, you must value ambition, destroy opportunism and be adept at telling the diference between the two.”

    Much of the advice directed at people just starting their careers–especially advice directed at women, it appears–seems intended to develop the behavior patterns of opportunism. There’s even a book titled “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office.” I haven’t read it, but the title by itself is harmful.

    In the IBD article, Earl Graves, founder & publisher of the magazine Black Enterprise, offered some advice as to how to detect an opportunist. One clue is an excessive preoccupation with perks–company credit cards, tickets to sports events, etc–and particularly, a focus on perks during the first few days on the job. And Mike Sears, previously CFO at Boeing, advised executives to look out for the “spotlight” mentality. People with this personality trait will “be charming when the spotlight is on, but turn irritable and condescending when they think “no one of importance” is watching.”

    The you-go-girl-run-over-everybody-and-get-what’s-coming-to-you school of advice seems sure to inculcate these kinds of behaviors.

  • Glasses

    Hi Susan,

    Interesting topic. Two things.

    1) Can you explain this to the uninitiated: “At one Back to School Night, the Guidance Counselor advised senior parents to avoid cocktail parties at all costs.” What’s wrong with this?

    2) I can confirm that this happens in academia, definitely. Not all women are like this, though. I definitely know a high-powered academic woman who looks down on women who decide to get married and/or have kids. Things like “why ruin your career like this?” have been thrown around. Also met a woman who just hates being wrong, and if you happened to be right, you could be sure that she would find a way to put you down (in my case, it was insinuations about coming from an inferior culture or not speaking perfect English or some of no substance like this.) Also have a friend, who keeps everything work-related secret from me.

    Examples are plentiful. These are all results of feeling insecure about themselves, in my opinion. I think we need to teach women how to trust that the world is not out to get them, and even if some women are, it is their problem. Imagine the internal hell these women live with: the fear of judgement, of being “exposed” as “lesser than”, trying to outsmart others all the time, trying to look better than other girls, etc. etc. Whenever I encounter such behavior, I just think to myself, “She’s punishing herself already with all this mistrust, and mistrust is self-fulfilling,” so I let it go. To the friend, I said “I respect your privacy but I feel like you’re not being a good friend by hiding things from me.” She agreed but nothing has changed since that conversation. Because she’s a friend, I’m not holding it against her. I understand that she needs to overcome her inner demons to be able to trust other people fully or unconditionally.

    I also think that we should teach women who experience the sense of superiority coming from other women, to separate “their stuff” from “my stuff”, and not to swallow the bait (as in, engage in the competition, be passive-aggressive in return, try to outsmart her and prove your own worthiness to her, etc.) Be very clear about when women are rationalizing and acting out their own insecurities, and don’t take that personally. Stay Zen, in one word, but don’t judge them. On the contrary, continue to treat these women with respect. It speaks volumes about your personality to them. It sends a powerful signal to them that you’re not out to get them, and that you’re a genuine person with integrity. This will serve as a shield for all those catty arrows sent your way. Other women sense that shield, and understand intuitively that there’s nothing they can do to destroy your strong sense of self, and will leave you alone, because all their competitive strategies are not going to work on you.

    To summarize: this is not your stuff, stay Zen, and continue to develop your own personal integrity, ideally to such an extent that you don’t even notice/react to the cattiness of other women. Again, there are also women who serve as great mentors, who genuinely want to see you succeed, and who will lend a hand if you need it. Try to internalize their values as your own too. The world will be a better place, but more importantly, your own psyche will be a better place.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Glasses

      Welcome, thanks for leaving a comment.

      ) Can you explain this to the uninitiated: “At one Back to School Night, the Guidance Counselor advised senior parents to avoid cocktail parties at all costs.” What’s wrong with this?

      Nothing! I’m glad you asked this, I probably wrote this badly. The Guidance Counselor was telling us something we were all about to learn the hard way – it’s super stressful and depressing to hang out with other people who’s kids are applying to college at the same time. The women in particular are relentless about prying, comparing notes, asking your kid’s GPA, extracurriculars, etc. It’s the women who will tell you over a glass of wine that their husband’s family has gone to Dartmouth for six generations. Ugh. I shudder to recall it.

      Anyway, my point was that even the high school Guidance Counselor was warning parents about “Mean Mom” behavior.

      I like your suggestions about how to make this better – you seem to align with the “self-hatred” theory. Training “victims” how to deal with this kind of toxic treatment is actually a great idea. You could do it in organizations without even specifically mentioning women – just how to deal with difficult coworkers, or “opportunists,” as David Foster said.

  • Jackie

    @Glasses (#42)

    Awesome & epic comment. Will be saving this to my “Wisdom File” in google docs. Many thanks!
    :)

  • Hope

    Sometimes the best we can hope for is that we’ll avoid being an outcast, left to our own devices without being picked on. As we age, we remain ever vigilant, desperately wanting to avoid being “that woman” – the outsider.

    I’m cool with being the outcast and outsider. I really just don’t care.

    It also means that for the most part, I get along fine with women. I don’t get involved in the female politics, and they don’t involve me in them. I stay out of the fray.

    Work-wise, I’ve had mostly good relationships with women. I can also work with the most difficult and nastiest women that other people loathe. I really try to internalize the spirituality I’ve been learning into every aspect of my life, and it seems to help my attitude a lot.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Hope

      I can also work with the most difficult and nastiest women that other people loathe.

      Oh boy, I envy you. You are obviously a born diplomat. Interestingly, my favorite bosses have been the males that everyone else thinks are the most difficult. I’ve won the undying loyalty of some very difficult men in business, mostly by appreciating and respecting them a ton (not just for romantic relationships!) and by making them look really good whenever possible by producing great work for them and doing active PR on their behalf.

  • http://stagedreality.wordpress.com/ LeapofaBeta

    @ Charm
    “Do you also think that guilt by association might come into play here? ”

    I know that I do the guilt by association only if it think the other had any hand in the action itself or influencing the other persons thoughts/actions. Otherwise I’ll let them show themselves to be different.

    I also notice that I worry about the guilt by association as a man in all female groups I run with sometimes. Working in theatre sometimes puts me in the middle of such all female groups with no warning. If there’s another man, or if there’s someone as new to the group as I usually am, I have those same fears of guilt by association if they have bad ideas, lack creativity, or are overly critical.

  • http://stagedreality.wordpress.com/ LeapofaBeta

    In fact, I’d rather be a lone outsider with something to prove than tied down to someone else I don’t know that might guilt me by association. I know I can do my job, but if someone starts throwing their own doubts in my way that I have to prove aren’t issues…. its a really hard hurdle to overcome.

  • Jackie

    @PV (#29) &
    @Odds (#30)

    Ugh! This reminds me of chickens pecking each other. If one chicken gets wounded and shows blood (weakness), it whips the other chickens into a frenzy and they will pick the weaker chicken to death. :(

    There is no way anyone could need money that badly to have to go on reality tv to get it. :(

  • CrisisEraDynamo
  • Anna

    @ Charm
    “If you know any, punch that bitch in the face. The ‘puter? I would lose my mind. I laughed so hard at that line.”

    I hoped to avoid mentioning my sister again, but unfortunately she is a prime example. Worst part is she accuses other girls of being “dog whistles”. I invited her on a boat trip with two male friends of mine. She had a shot at taking the wheel and steer the boat, and she turns to one of the guys and goes, *babyvoice* “how do you control this THINGY?”. Then she takes her bikini top off to flaunt her D cup breasts and goes “God. I hate my body so much”.
    I am not making this up. There is nothing I find more hopeless than to watch a female law student do a baby voice in front of men.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    @Glasses

    To summarize: this is not your stuff, stay Zen, and continue to develop your own personal integrity, ideally to such an extent that you don’t even notice/react to the cattiness of other women. Again, there are also women who serve as great mentors, who genuinely want to see you succeed, and who will lend a hand if you need it. Try to internalize their values as your own too. The world will be a better place, but more importantly, your own psyche will be a better place.

    This is really great advice! I think being non-reactive is a great defense, because it does not appear weak, nor does it make you a target for such people, who thrive on reaction and drama.

    If things do get out of hand, not reacting (outwardly) is also a good idea. One advice that was given to me was “document everything.” If people mess with you, immediately or as soon as possible, write down the date, time and incident. Maybe it won’t need to be used, but if it does, you have it.

  • Tony Stark

    As an entry level financial analyst, I learned quickly to avoid female bosses like the plague. I think 3 primary factors are at play:

    Ingrained Behavioral Dynamics:

    This is the Queen Bee situation that Susan points to. Women aren’t predisposed to behaving cooperatively with other women. This is true in a variety of social settings, and probably always has been. Status jockeying is a constant in female group dynamics. Most of us intuitively know this. Imagine a woman walking into a cocktail party. Her first (subconscious) inclination will be to size up the social hierarchy, determine where she stands, and base her interactions that evening around ascending that hierarchy. A man walking into the same party will just grab a drink and start chatting about sports with the guy standing next to him. This is an ingrained sex difference, and Susan’s right to say we need to be open about acknowledging it. In this context, ignoring the elephant in the room means simply adopting the feminist frame.

    SMV and Social Capital

    Society evaluates women by their mate value. This is true for men as well, but men improve their value by cultivating career success. A man who becomes a successful doctor/lawyer/banker greatly enhances his social capital. Society admires him, and women are more attracted to him. A lot of women who climb the career ladder make the category error of assuming the same rules apply to them. It’s not until years (and much hard work) later that they realize how wrong they were. Physically attractive, feminine women earn the same social dividends that successful men do. The male CEO = the female Victoria’s Secret model. It is what it is.

    As such, the modern workplace is filled with senior women who have achieved great career success but have little to show for it. Susan mentions that many of these women are single and/or childless, something I’ve noticed as well. Imagine a bunch of childless old women, embittered over their belief that society hasn’t given them due credit for their hard work, put those women in positions of authority over a bunch of attractive, mid-20s entry-level women, and assume that the young entry-level women still receive their attractiveness dividends (from male coworkers, colleagues etc). Is it really surprise that the older women in this scenario aren’t entirely nurturing?

    Selection Bias

    It’s very difficult for anyone to climb the career ladder. It’s especially tough for women who are constantly being undermined by the women around them. The women who actually make it to the top are by definition the most ruthless, competitive women of the group. Furthermore, many women (probably the more feminine ones) don’t actually try to become the boss. Once they have kids they either leave the workforce or take a flexible schedule that trades promotion opportunities for better hours. (Again, Susan provides a good example). The women who rise to the top of their respective workplaces are the ones who value career over family and have proven themselves to be more ruthlessly Machiavellian than their competitors. These are not the best potential mentors for the up and coming employees (female or male).

    Sorry for the length of this comment, but this is a topic which merits far greater discussion than it receives. Kudos to Susan for bringing it up.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Tony Stark

      Wow, that’s the most insightful breakdown of the issue I’ve ever seen. I think you nailed it. If you’re right, then there really is no solution to the problem – the mean women will always be the ones who get to the top. In which case, young women should have a two-pronged strategy:

      1. Avoid/survive them as best you can.

      2. Decide early on whether your focus is going to be family or career. Once you do, go all in, because these are two very distinct groups of women, with little in common. You can play for one team or the other, but probably not both.

  • Jackie

    @Susan (#28)

    Thanks for the kind words. :) You want to hear something interesting? It wasn’t the end of the story, not by a long shot. I didn’t take any of it personally– *I* am the one who determines my happiness. Besides, I learned TONS from them — they were talented in their field, plus sometimes you learn more from your bad experiences than your good ones.

    Anyway, after I graduated another woman advisor on my committee, got sick (illness similar to the one my mom had). I contacted her and asked if it was okay if I sat with her during her chemo and brought a meal their family could eat, since it’s hard to cook, etc, when someone is sick.

    I’m not going to lie to you: It wasn’t easy *for either of us*. But I felt it was my karmic destiny to make the peace with this woman and to develop good character. And as the weeks got on, it got better on both sides. Somehow it felt like we were building a bridge, instead of razing each other to the ground.

    PS: I was easily her least favorite student, but I was the only one who showed up to help her.She recovered and is a much changed person. I’m sure there’s a moral in here somewhere! :)

    PPS: OMG, “Stacy’s Mom”– what a blast from the past! :D

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jackie

      I give you so much credit. I don’t think more than 1 person in 100 would have stepped up the way you did. Probably not even that many. I’ve seen other situations where crises make friends of enemies. And sometimes, unfortunately, enemies of friends. It’s amazing how thoroughly people can surprise you.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    Totally off topic.
    But one of my ex female bosses and I are celebrating in Facebook that our baseball team Escogido, won the series!!!! RUGE RUGE EL LEON so happy :D

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Anacaona

      But one of my ex female bosses and I are celebrating in Facebook that our baseball team Escogido, won the series!!!!

      That’s not off topic, that’s a wonderful tidbit that gives me hope!

  • WarmWoman

    “This is really great advice! I think being non-reactive is a great defense, because it does not appear weak, nor does it make you a target for such people, who thrive on reaction and drama.

    If things do get out of hand, not reacting (outwardly) is also a good idea.

    +1. I think walking away and remaining silent can be quite powerful.

    Some people feel that you have to fight back and prove a point, but it can cause more drama. I know that standing up to my past female bosses and letting them know that I don’t like their treatment towards me HURT me more than helped.

    What signs would reveal that a woman is jealous of you? I feel like some women are sugary sweet to your face, but are jealous internally and weave the web behind your back.

  • Charm

    @Anaconda

    See I don’t get crap like that. Your boss should have never let his wife get invloved in business like that. It blows my mind how people let their jealous spouses ruin relationships at their place of employment. I would have left too. I can’t put up with it. Personal insecurities and the workplace make for a lethal combination.

    @Leap

    Oh I too pull the “loner” status when first entering a new place. People can’t stand when they can’t get a read on you, plus I like to observe my surroundings before “jumping in” so to speak. I don’t want anyone trying to get me into their group or clique or anything like that. If there is a divide among the group for whatever reason, I’d like to choose my own side, though I’d prefer to stay the hell out of it all together.

    @Anna

    I’d go crazy. Though, I can’t see a great man marrying someone like your sister. No offense. A man with sense wants a decent woman not some child that talks in a baby voice. That shit stops being cute after 4 years old. And fishing for compliments? Ugh. I hate people like that. When men cater to shit like that or are attracted to it, it lets me know what kind of person they are. Plus, I feel like its cute only for a little while. No man wants to fuck/marry/reproduce with a woman that says “thingy” in an oh so sweet voice. He wants 2 kids, not 3.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    See I don’t get crap like that. Your boss should have never let his wife get invloved in business like that. It blows my mind how people let their jealous spouses ruin relationships at their place of employment. I would have left too. I can’t put up with it. Personal insecurities and the workplace make for a lethal combination.

    He was in a high position so he assumed he could spare a new secretary, driver or maid every few months. But there is a happy ending once he made one too many mistakes he was asked to resign and his wife, she was working on another division of the same place, was fired not even hours after the fact, HR was just waiting for the right moment to get rid of her and she hasn’t found a job with that level of power ever again and I doubt she will.

  • CrisisEraDynamo

    OT:

    Whiskey is back.

  • Charm

    @Anaconda

    Husband and Wife worked in the same place? How does that happen. Lol. They got fired back to back? I wonder how the marriage worked out.

  • Jonny

    I worked with female bosses a lot (in the technology industry) and I worked with plenty of women. I can’t say I’ve had a bad experience unless, and its a big unless, its with a largely female majority organization. Many women do well, but they have to be surrounded by other men who don’t play female games. It is true that some men do that as well (back stabbing, politics) and you learn to deal with it or leave those organizations. Nonetheless, to survive, women need to be like men, don’t trust, be professional (or attempt to fake it), don’t confide, and don’t touch the goodies.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jonny

      I worked with female bosses a lot (in the technology industry) and I worked with plenty of women. I can’t say I’ve had a bad experience

      Female bosses can be very, very good to males.

  • SayWhaat

    At other jobs girls have pulled the “I don’t feel good”, or “I was up late studying” excuse to get out of work or responsibly like everyone else isn’t in college and sleep deprived as well. This is why I prefer males. They don’t complain as much and they can ride it out.

    Lol. Bullshit. It’s a generational issue, not a gender issue. Or more likely, it’s just a feature of the community that you’re in.

    I went to a school where many women outperformed the men, be it academics, internships, what have you. And there were also men who worked intensely to succeed. Determination and drive have nothing to do with gender.

  • Rum

    I have never spent one minute regretting have been born a male-child. If you are born male, there is perfect alignment with gaining career success and gaining willing woman access. Making partner as a guy = the secretaries try to show you their ttits. If a woman makes partner she will automatically start to conspire against her now beta-ized husband and the cute secretaries will start to conspire against her … on general principals.
    Besides, guys instinctively understand how to form teams (actually, gangs) because our deep brain deeply understands what it takes to survive in a truly dangerous environment. It takes being in a tough-as-nails gang to survive. That is part genetic; partly learned on the dusty playing fields of a 1000 elementary school playgrounds.

  • SayWhaat

    In kindergarten a girl said I couldn’t play with her and her friend because I sucked my thumb. In 6th grade a very good friend completely ignored me at a sporting event because her entourage didn’t approve. In 7th grade a girl told me I was ugly. In high school my friend suggested I was stupid.

    Olive, I mean this in the kindest way possible. You need to let this shit go. This is coming from a girl who harbors grudges for YEARS, okay? I’m a year younger than all of my peers because I started school early. That means developmentally, I was the tiniest person in every class. On top of that I was the only Indian girl in the entire school up until high school, so I stuck out even worse. I have been the victim of bullying every year, even through high school, and in college when it started to happen again with another peer group I was smart enough to cut myself out.

    These experiences shape you and help you grow as a person. Are they pleasant? No. But you’re a better person for it. Learn from that and shape your friendships accordingly. For all my experiences with Mean Girls, my most solid friendships today are with girls — and I absolutely hated one of them for years. :P

  • Charm

    @SayWhaat

    I agree, but were all speaking from experience here. In my experience, at a very very very large university in the midwestern US, the girls are like that. Every place has a demographic and here women get away with pulling the bullshit “im a girl” card. Works every time. The accountability for people here in general isn’t very high. But more often than not, its been girls who complained about having to work more than boys. Dalrock and a few others have discussed this as well. Maybe it has to do with the ability to handle stress? I dont know.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive
    At other jobs girls have pulled the “I don’t feel good”, or “I was up late studying” excuse to get out of work or responsibly like everyone else isn’t in college and sleep deprived as well. This is why I prefer males. They don’t complain as much and they can ride it out.

    Lol. Bullshit. It’s a generational issue, not a gender issue. Or more likely, it’s just a feature of the community that you’re in.

    I went to a school where many women outperformed the men, be it academics, internships, what have you. And there were also men who worked intensely to succeed. Determination and drive have nothing to do with gender.

    Yeah I dunno, that kind of laziness isn’t really gender-specific. My dad is a small business owner and I’ve worked for him for 6 or 7 summers now, and I’ve witnessed both girls and boys be lazy as fuck and come in late/leave early with poor excuses. I do think it’s somewhat generational, although that isn’t the whole story. My dad has workers of various ages, not just high school/college students. Maybe it’s a United States thing, or a working/middle class thing. Or maybe it’s the nature of the people he hires. Who knows.

  • SayWhaat

    In my experience, at a very very very large university in the midwestern US

    Well there ya go. :P

  • SayWhaat

    Also, NYC/Chicago/big cities in general tend to be chock-full of motivated, ambitious people. Which is why I said it’s probably more a feature of the community you’re in. The people I knew in college were exceptional in almost every way. Think you’re a good student? Why don’t you talk to the girl sitting next to you in lecture. She taught Tibetan nuns how to use computers. What have you done with your life, hmmm?? :P

  • Hope

    Hmm. I don’t really remember any specific incidents of women being mean to me. I think one of the reasons why I don’t care about “mean girls” is because my female relatives insulted me since I was 3, and my mom was the most vicious woman in my life.

    The “mean girls” at school and work weren’t even in the same league. Passive aggressive behavior is nothing compared to your own mother screaming at you to your face when you were helpless and small. I was tough as nails already from years of emotional torment. I can look back and say it even did me some good. It taught me that I shouldn’t do it to anyone else. c_c

  • SayWhaat

    Regarding the original post:

    I have to say that I have witnessed girl-on-girl sabotage, but only in the mildest form. There are two ball-busters on my team, one of whom was placed on our team later than the other. The former ball-buster was immediately threatened and started talking about the latter behind her back. (She’s known for being a gossip though, so this wasn’t entirely unusual.) It came to a head only about a few months ago when they finally had a confrontation. Weirdly enough, today they seem like they’re really close. Female friendships kinda work like that. :P

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    SayWhaat,
    I’m glad to hear the bullying hasn’t kept you from fostering friendships with girls. I won’t say I’ve given up the more recent grudges (though I don’t exactly sit around thinking about my early days, I was just adding stories as evidence that it’s a tough world to navigate), but I’m working on it. I’m not someone who can just “get over it” in two seconds, I’ve never been that type of person, but I’m doing my best to get past it and learn from it. Someday, hopefully, I can say the same thing as you: that my closest relationships are with girls from my peer group. At the moment I find support elsewhere.

  • SayWhaat

    Passive aggressive behavior is nothing compared to your own mother screaming at you to your face when you were helpless and small. I was tough as nails already from years of emotional torment.

    Ditto. Sometimes people will apologize to me for “giving me a hard time” about something or other, and I’ll be completely unfazed. Like, what are you talking about? Oh, that? Oh. Cool, thanks.

  • http://stagedreality.wordpress.com/ LeapofaBeta

    @ SayWhaat
    “I went to a school where many women outperformed the men, be it academics, internships, what have you.”

    Or, instead of writing off their observances of women playing that ‘I’m a delicate flower’ card with “Oh, you’re in the midwest US” you could look at the studies of how men and women are doing in school. Schools are incredibly gender biased from a young age. And universities are starting to be the same. Hence its not surprising to me that in school you would see that.

    The only reason I can think the midwest would matter is if women weren’t buying into the feminist ideal as much as say, NYC or Boston. They got fed up with the dream presented to them or simply didn’t have it shoved down their throats as often.

    But, otherwise, wait till you get out into your career field. Then see how often women play the ‘I’m just a woman’ card. It’s usually low in the career field to get some sympathy from others or help from men. Where as upper levels they’ll just do what they want and skewer someone else with the blame.

  • SayWhaat

    Someday, hopefully, I can say the same thing as you: that my closest relationships are with girls from my peer group. At the moment I find support elsewhere.

    *hug* I hope so too. If I may offer some more unsolicited advice? Do a bit more introspection about how you relate to other women. I used to think that all girls were bitches and worms, too. In retrospect I can see why they acted the way they did towards me; I was kind of a prick myself. Scratch that, I was a total prick, lol. In the annoying Hermione Granger-sense. :P

    I’m not calling you a prick, I’m just saying that it might be helpful to reflect on what kind treatment you receive from attitudes you’re projecting. :)

  • Mike C

    As far as the female dog whistle, it’s so true. Women can spot bad women easily because we’ve had more exposure to and experience with their underhanded tactics. Most men only find out about these women’s flaws when it is too late. I can typically suss a woman out in 5 minutes. I think most women who have ever been to high school or college have the same talent.

    Interesting. The converse is true as well. Men can spot the jerk assholes pretty much right away that women appear to have difficulty identifying. Some type of gender blind spot must exist.

  • http://grerp.blogspot.com/ grerp

    Thanks for this piece, Susan. My experiences with girls in elementary and middle school pretty much destroyed my trust in women, and particularly in the women’s group dynamic. I just don’t trust them anymore. It’s not that I don’t believe that there are good women out there, it’s that I don’t trust myself to be able to recognize them or to be vulnerable with them again.

    I spent years wondering what was wrong with me that I’d been “broken up” with by so many girl friends. It wasn’t until I read Queen Bees and Wannabees by Rosemary Wiseman that I realized that these breaking up and hooking up patterns with girls was more or less normal girl behavior and I just wasn’t very good at it. (Or maybe lots of girls weren’t good at it, but no one talked about it.) I didn’t want to trade up girlfriends, I just wanted one or two steady girlfriends – a Bess Marvin and a George Fayne, if you will. I had girl friends all the way up, but they did stuff like read my diary and laugh at me or tell the boy I had a crush on that I liked him or edge me out of the friendship I had with another girl. Trust-breaking stuff. Later in high school I started hanging out with boys, and THEY WERE SO MUCH EASIER to get along with. It was such a relief not to have the drama.

    A few years ago I was doing volunteer work for a site that was nearly all women contributors and women readers. I’d worked for this site for years, volunteering steadily sometimes as much as 15-20 hours/week. I made one comment on one post that went against feminist boilerplate (and then refused to take it back), and the entire readership just chucked me to the winds. None of the contributors backed me up to the readers. None. I did thousands of hours of volunteer work for them. Thousands. I quit, and I do not regret it at all, but it all left a very sour taste in my mouth.

    My sister has a friends group full of women she’s known since college. They are kind, loving, and supportive. So I know this kind of thing happens. But I’ve seen so much competitive meanness and backstabbing – at work and even among moms. I just don’t know.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @grerp

      I’m so glad to see you! I recall you got some serious grief from feminist types on your blog a while back. No one does mean snark like women.

      Did you ever read Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood? It’s an excellent novel, a devastating portrayal of these kinds of dynamics.

      I have always had some close female friends, but I’ve had to “break up” with several women over the years. Didn’t you once write a post about jettisoning difficult women? In my case, there was little more than a whisper of competition in all our interactions, but enough so that lunch with one of these women felt like death by a thousand small cuts. I would come home and tell my husband some of the things that they’d say, and he’s wonder why on earth I would see them again. Say no, problem solved! Eventually I did extricate myself, but it wasn’t easy. I wish I could say that I’d been up front and told them exactly why I wanted to end the friendship. I wasn’t, I just sort of faded away until they got the picture.

      I can say that of the women I’m close to today (these friendships span 42 years!) not one has ever put me down, done something disloyal behind my back or shut me out. They have all been unconditionally loyal from day one, and I’ve done the same for them. In retrospect, these were women who I had an immediate connection, or “spark” with, and we both went all in from day one.

  • SayWhaat

    @ Leap:

    I just took issue with the statement that “all women are lazy men are better and more hard-working.” That’s simply not true; laziness is independent of gender. And some regions do foster certain attitudes above others. It’s a cultural pocket thing.

    FWIW, I observed both men and women working hard in all my internships as well. Although you are correct in that as a neophyte to the full-time working world, I still have much to experience and learn.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    SayWhaat,
    To be 100% honest, if there’s one problem I’ve had, it’s who I’ve chosen as my closest friends. It’s not how I’ve related to them, it’s the fact that I’ve chosen them as people who I think can handle my vulnerability.

    Also it isn’t mean girls who have been the hardest for me to handle… at a certain point in high school I got very good at avoiding the meanest Queen Bees. No, really, it’s been my best friends who have turned out to be… not the best. That’s where I need some more introspection: how to screen for quality. And, erm, I still kind of think quality girls are rare. :-/

  • Hope

    @SayWhaat, I think there is something to attitude projection. I tend to project a “submissive” vibe to people in general, so other women probably see me as non-competition. I am short, small, quiet, Asian, nerdy, kind of awkward, smile a lot, don’t make good eye contact and talk with a small voice. Not threatening at all.

    I also dress conservatively, don’t wear makeup, and have the exact same hairstyle day in and day out. I keep to myself a lot, I am married, and I don’t flirt with other guys. Overall, everything about me says “worker bee” not “queen bee.” It seems to keep my profile low and my drama bar empty.

    Lately I’ve been trying to project more of a loving attitude toward other people, but it’s really difficult. I do genuinely like the people I work with, but I don’t have much in common with them. I’m too…weird. Anacanoa can at least talk about Twilight and other girl-favorite topics. I’ve got Diablo 3, WoW, and work. So I mostly stick to talking about work. :P

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    Husband and Wife worked in the same place? How does that happen. Lol. They got fired back to back? I wonder how the marriage worked out.

    Well it happens in the US too. We the writers and artist are a small community in my country chances are you are going to employ husbands and wives and/or they will meet during work fall in love and marry. I was actually witness in my new boss civil ceremony with his wife that was also working in another department. Except in that case his wife is just an angel, and they are a very romantic couple and I’m not sure but is very likely that my boss is one of the very few Dominican men that doesn’t cheat. I totally ship them. :)

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Susan,
    I remember you made a comment once about how I remind you of a young Grerp. Grerp’s experiences with women and her resulting mistrust follow my life story perfectly.

    I just don’t trust them anymore. It’s not that I don’t believe that there are good women out there, it’s that I don’t trust myself to be able to recognize them or to be vulnerable with them again.

    I had girl friends all the way up, but they did stuff like read my diary and laugh at me or tell the boy I had a crush on that I liked him or edge me out of the friendship I had with another girl. Trust-breaking stuff.

    No other person has explained my own experiences so well.

  • Charm

    @SayWhaat

    Lol. The school I go to is pretty well known for quite a few things. Though its public and not an Ivy or even close though really good school. I couldn’t care to go to a more prestigious school. After I get my bachelors Im done with “higher” education. Its a waste of time and money. I think college is mostly about credentials for a lot of people. Do I think that I’m smart? Depends on the context. I think my IQ is in normal range (never tested) but my motivation to gain more knowledge is very high. I have a high awareness, high in abstract thinking, excel in verbal communication, so I’m good at soft sciences like sociology, psychology, political theory, languages, etc. I have drive and ambition. I would probably be good at business or law since Im a charismatic speaker. Though, Im not very status seeking. So I guess I don’t qualify as “exceptional”. I know my strengths, and I play to them.

  • SayWhaat

    Hmm…I had a thought just now. My mother did a lot of trust-breaking stuff with me, I wonder if that’s why I reach out to girlfriends/friends in general? I can honestly say that I’m closer to my girlfriends than I am with my own mother and sister, though my relationship with my sister has been improving exponentially these past few years.

  • Charm

    @Anacoana. Lol, I spelled it anaconda. Oops

    I think at a lot of places in the US they would be split up and put in very different areas or on different shifts. Rarely can married people work in such close quarters, though DR is pretty small and the area in which you work smaller so I get it. Though, I still think steps should be taken to split people up even if they met and fell in love at work.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    Some type of gender blind spot must exist.

    Is probably evo-bio all you need from a woman basically to fulfill your bio imperative is that she will be willing to open her legs, so I guess that is why men are better to tell women’s age to screen for fertility and probably lost or never develop the cattiness detector because in the great scheme of things it doesn’t really matter. Women on the other hand only need him to seed them, so to speak so again the same blind spot, but women seem to better at spotting an Alpha than men too.

  • SayWhaat

    Ah, sorry Charm, I wasn’t trying to imply that you or your school weren’t exceptional. I was just making a broader point that some attitudes are endemic to certain regions and have no correlation to gender. Kind of like how ’90s counter-culture is stuck in Portland. :P

    Speaking of Portlandia, I want to watch another ep now…

  • Charm

    @SayWhaat #77

    Lol. I realize now I was implying “all” women. Nah, I meant some. My bad, I just wanted to clear that up. But when a person is being lazy or giving excuses, I will say that women get away with that shit more often. If a woman is in pain, we say awwww if a man he, he is told to suck it up and go back to work. We all know it to be true. If a woman is unemployed, no biggie. If a man is, put out an all points bulletin to all women in the vicinity to stay the hell away.

  • Charm

    @Saywhaat

    Lol. Portlandia is hilarious. I especially love the first few minutes of the first episode. Its so douchy. But my school definitely isn’t bad. Its on the map. People all over the country and world have heard of it. I pretty much went here because it was instate, cheap, and on the damn map.

  • SayWhaat

    If a woman is unemployed, no biggie. If a man is, put out an all points bulletin to all women in the vicinity to stay the hell away.

    Hmm…I’m not so sure that holds today. I think there is just as much pressure for women to be employed as men. I certainly felt it a month before graduation, ha!

    If a woman is in pain, we say awwww if a man he, he is told to suck it up and go back to work.

    That’s also interesting, considering women do tolerate pain better than men. (They even proved it on Mythbusters, lol.)

  • Lotte

    This is the straight up, hard to swallow truth about the nature of female relationships. I also find this to be true in other aspects of womanly bonding. For example, I think body-image problems are learned from other woman. I not sure if this is only attributed to my own experiences, but from what I’ve seen/felt, it seems that woman are generally the cause of other woman’s insecurities. I don’t recall ever as feeling as terrible as when another woman makes an ‘off-handed, casual’ remark about my body. I didn’t learn from magazines that my body should look one way, I learned that from other women. I didn’t learn insecurity from men, but from other woman.

    Although I have to say, my last boss was a woman who was probably the best mentor at my company. She introduced me to the right people, and helped me improve my work. But she was also really confident and laid-back. However, I interview better with men than I do with women. There’s always the underlaying tension of a younger female entering “the territory”, of an older female. Sometimes it feels like they’re sizing me up. Brings up all different kinds of alpha female, animal instinct connotations for me.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Lotte

      Welcome, thanks for leaving a comment.

      Lots of new women in the thread today. I love it!

  • SayWhaat

    Blargh. For some reason the page wouldn’t let me post a “duplicate” comment so I changed it up a little so that it would post. Grawr.

  • http://grerp.blogspot.com/ grerp

    Olive – if there’s one thing that I would say to you, being older and having been through this, it’s to stop thinking that you are the dysfunctional part of the female equation. You don’t have to hang with girls. Get your social needs filled however it works best for you. I have done quite a lot of self-introspection, and, you know what? I don’t think I was the problem. Yeah, I have my quirks, and I’m not everyone’s cuppa. But I was a nice kid and a nice young woman. I never read anyone’s diary and then laughed at it to her. When someone asked me to keep a secret, I didn’t go blab it to everyone. If I said I’d be somewhere to pick up a friend at 10PM, I was there at 10 sharp. There are worse qualities to have in a friend. I’m not blaming myself anymore.

  • http://stagedreality.wordpress.com/ LeapofaBeta

    @ SayWhaat
    “That’s simply not true; laziness is independent of gender. And some regions do foster certain attitudes above others. It’s a cultural pocket thing.”

    Ah ok. Fair enough.

    And yeah, definitely understand the regional thing. I attribute it more to a latent energy of the population. Its why I ended up in Chicago over anywhere else I’ve lived

    Denver – good energy, but no theatre scene for a good career for me
    Portland – Good theatre, but as Portlandia shows, there’s not nearly enough energy there for me.
    Boston – Ugh. Mediocre theatre and I hated the combination of the cities energy and how people behaved out there. most miserable year of my life
    NYC – I don’t think I could keep up with the people there. Plus I definitely wouldn’t stand out in theatre scenes.

    Chicago – Great energy level. I don’t get dragged down by others but have an above average ambition level for the city from what I can tell. I’m able to stand out here while pursuing my dreams.

  • Charm

    These comments from Hope, Grerp, and Olive reinforce why I’ve always avoided women in general. I’ve never been stabbed in the back or screwed over by girls like this because I have a pretty strong aversion to 75% of the female population anyway. This is from a pretty early age too. I don’t even know why. I just didn’t “fit”. I gave the dream of having “girlfriends” up a while ago. I’m sure Ill meet some later in life. But right now girls suuuuccckk.

  • Butterfly Flower

    Eep! This posts scares me. I have a low self-esteem, and I was bullied in High School [my RA medicine caused weight loss - girls would call me a heroin addict].

    I have a couple of wonderful female friends, but they’re really the only women [well, women besides my mother] that I can trust.

    I’ve especially had issues with older women. I’m close with my mother, but I find it impossible to have pleasant interactions with other women her age. To be absolutely honest, I’m afraid of middle aged women [hence, why this post strikes fear into my soul].

    Many older women do this awful thing, where they intentionally seek out younger women to tear down. Like, I’ve had older women tell me I’m an awful person, for nonsensical reasons [apparently I'm a bad person, 'cause I'm against animal testing]. Or they tell me I’ve failed at life because I haven’t done exactly what they did when they were my age. Their viciousness is obviously bitterness/related to their own life’s regrets, but I’m very [physically] sick – I don’t need anyone causing additional stress in my life.

    Anyway, do businesswomen suffer from more health problems than businessmen? I mean, the “Mean Girl” office politics sounds quite stressful.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Butterfly Flower

      I’m so sorry to hear you’ve encountered such nasty women socially! It’s bad enough in the workplace, but women criticizing you for your politics? Rude.

      You raise an interesting point about the health of very aggressive and successful women. I don’t know the answer. I do think there’s something to the “doing too much” theory. I don’t think it excuses the worst behaviors, but I imagine that a lot of women are so stressed out in general that they have a short fuse at the office. In that case, though, both females and males should experience it equally. Not sure if that happens.

  • WarmWoman

    @Hope-my mom was like yours, but I became extremely hyper-sensitive. Cried easily. Had a hard time letting go of people’s comments.

    SayWhaat-I also had a hard time spotting “bitchy” or “manipulative” behavior among other females, due to a mom that broke trust repeatedly. We’re conditioned to think that our moms are the most loving creature, and I blindly accepted my mom’s behavior as normal.

  • http://chuckthisblog.wordpress.com Joe

    Timely, Susan.

    I made a bad mistake tonight. For the first time I caught an episode of “The Bachelor”. Awful (and exploitative, also).

    After reading this post many of the interactions became transparently obvious.

  • Mike C

    Grerp #93,

    +1000

  • Butterfly Flower

    I also had a hard time spotting “bitchy” or “manipulative” behavior among other females, due to a mom that broke trust repeatedly. We’re conditioned to think that our moms are the most loving creature, and I blindly accepted my mom’s behavior as normal.

    I have this problem too [although it's because I'm severely dyslexic/ditzy; it has nothing to do with my mother]. I don’t realize a women is a b!tch, until they’ve hurt me/taken advantage of me.

    I think “why did they do that!” then I connect the dots. Hindsight’s 20/20.

  • WarmWoman

    @Flavia”1) If a woman states that she cannot stand other women, that they are “catty” and jealous of her, and that she’d rather hang out with guys than women, she is most likely a bitch. If you can’t get along with 3 billion people on the planet, it’s usually you. ”

    This may very well be the case (people playing victim when they are the toxic one), but I think it’s possible that a decent woman really does have other women acting catty and jealous towards her. That then drives her away to trusting male friends instead. If a woman has to publicly advertise that she hates girls, then I would be weary.

    As for your other comment on women telling you to gain weight b/c you’re too thin, I concur. Hell, making a comment about your body in general isn’t what a supportive and respectful female friend does.

  • ExNewYorker

    @Susan ,

    “So much for my theory that health care professionals are above this!”

    With 90% of my wife’s office being female, the dynamics tend to follow your original post…

    “From everything I’ve heard here, it seems like male competition is direct and straightforward.”

    Well, male politics can be a pain in the ass as well. The politicking tends to be more at the higher levels, with guys trying to “swing the biggest cock”. But, it tends to be obvious…the hatreds and feuds aren’t hidden…which is why you’re still able to see work get done (unless it reaches a certain point, but that tends to lead to mass exodus…i.e. see all the Silicon Valley companies formed out of scattering from the original companies). The women in our fields tend to be fairly male in thinking, the few there are. Probably the only large concentration of women are in the HR, and accounting groups, but these aren’t too large in relation the larger company.

    “Hiking sounds to me like an excellent way of getting away from the nonsense! ”

    Yes. I was always outdoorsy, but it’s nice having her share that hobby with me, even if her immediate reason was to go somewhere with few people. We tend to talk a lot during these outings…this last weekend we discussed the Kate Bollick article (Doctor’s office’s tend to have lots of magazines which she’ll read if it grabs her interest). She felt sorry for some of your focus group: many hookups, few relationships.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @EXNewYorker

      She felt sorry for some of your focus group: many hookups, few relationships.

      Yes, well, I hope she’s smiling like the Cheshire Cat. She’s the model of what I’m trying to promote here, and she got her just reward in you :)

  • WarmWoman

    Butterfly Flower

    I wouldn’t say you’re ditzy at all. It’s just that some of us like to see the good in people, want to trust, or just want to make friends. We don’t always see the signs right away until it’s too late. You live and then you learn.

    With the right female friendships, they can be very nurturing and help you grow.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Hmm…I had a thought just now. My mother did a lot of trust-breaking stuff with me, I wonder if that’s why I reach out to girlfriends/friends in general? I can honestly say that I’m closer to my girlfriends than I am with my own mother and sister, though my relationship with my sister has been improving exponentially these past few years.

    That’s interesting. I think my mom has done a lot to foster a trusting relationship between us, so I make the mistake of thinking everyone is worthy of my trust. Later I find out that I went horribly wrong.

    I think it’s also somehow significant that I never had a sister. As a kid I spent a lot of time playing by myself, with my younger brother, or with my male cousin who was about my age. The women I was closest to were always much older than me: my mom, my grandma, my aunt. I’ve even found I relate better to my mom’s friends than my own. So strange.

    Grerp,
    Thank you for the response! I think I’ve spent a lot of time blaming myself, wondering how I’m different from everyone else. And then (in college) tried to change to be like everyone else. Sometimes I think I’m better off (and a much better person!) if I just hang with who I hang with, even if that’s limited to my BF, my family, and the few people I chat with in class.

    Having said that, I do wish things were different. It’s a little lonely, trying to screen for quality.

  • http://revoltagainst.wordpress.com Flavia

    “…That then drives her away to trusting male friends instead. If a woman has to publicly advertise that she hates girls, then I would be weary.”

    Yes, that is the type of girl I was driving at. I am sure there are plenty of nice girls who have bad experiences with females, especially in school- those are not the type I am talking about.

    I think the public declaration of “hating girls” is a synonym for being a certain type of girl- usually one that possesses all the traits that make females difficult to get along with in the first place.

  • http://stagedreality.wordpress.com/ LeapofaBeta

    @ Olive
    “I’ve even found I relate better to my mom’s friends than my own. So strange.”

    I’ve found this with a couple women that are my mom’s friends as well. Its weird as a male – they’re not hitting on me, but they actually are able to rationally think about what I’m talking about and have good conversations. I haven’t been able to figure out if this is simply the kind of friends my mom makes, or the age difference means they’re not looking to me as a male they can manipulate for attention, money, favors, or sex.

    Meanwhile I have a hard time relating to women my own age as anything other than a party girl, a feminist, a career contact, or the rarer intellectual. The first two tend to try and use me in some way or I simply can’t relate to on higher levels. The third is a given if I meet her in theatre. The last is the rare woman I’d actually be interested in either a friendship or relationship. But every time I try to give them more benefit of the doubt that a woman isn’t in the first two scenarios, I get burned.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    Lately I’ve been trying to project more of a loving attitude toward other people, but it’s really difficult. I do genuinely like the people I work with, but I don’t have much in common with them. I’m too…weird. Anacanoa can at least talk about Twilight and other girl-favorite topics. I’ve got Diablo 3, WoW, and work. So I mostly stick to talking about work.
    Well I love Twilight but given the nerd word of the street I didn’t read it till I found out my readers loved it. So I do a lot of pushing my own comfort zone in order to have a wider range of information, which as writer helps me, you cannot write a world with only one or two type of characters, well you can is just not rich. For example I don’t particularly like Hello Kitty but some of my friends love them so I do my best to know enough to follow her, I also don’t like the transformers franchise but I went to dark of the moon to please a friend. The good thing is that people that see that you make an effort to spent time with them make an effort to spent time with you. So maybe you could try and push yourself a little and see what they are talking about. You don’t even need to do your own research or fake it all you need to do is say “That sounds interesting, tell me more?” and I assure you that the distance among you and your peers will dissapear, even if you never actually get into their things as passionate as they do, YMMV of course.

    @Anacoana. Lol, I spelled it anaconda. Oops

    I normally don’t pay attention to the spelling so don’t feel bad about it.

    I think at a lot of places in the US they would be split up and put in very different areas or on different shifts. Rarely can married people work in such close quarters, though DR is pretty small and the area in which you work smaller so I get it. Though, I still think steps should be taken to split people up even if they met and fell in love at work.
    We dominicans are really laid back about everything so I’m sure that it might be more practical but then we want people to get marry and have children and if they are good workers you still want them on your team so we look the other way unless something ugly comes up, like public fights or abuse. But that is rare too because we also most of the time need our jobs and professional references. I used to have a coworker also living with another coworker that used to come to work with a black eye regularly, whatever happened at home at work they were acting usually as a normal loving couple, sad and bizarre but there was little we could do about it, because she didn’t wanted intervention.

  • J

    Interesting post and comments. My own personal experience is that woman are either the worst or the best. I’ve been mentored and nurtured by female co-workers, but I’ve also been bitched by some of the bitchiest. OTOH, I’ve been treated less that fairly by male bosses, including one who attempted to push me out of a job he wanted to give to an unemployed friend. My husband, in climbing the corporate ladder, has faced some really irrational and nasty behavior from both men and women. I do agree though that women have a more indirect and insidious way of being nasty.

    Someone posted this at Roissy’s a while back: “But there is another type of a girl who is more of a loner or outsider, who doesn’t deal with other bitches’ bullshit, so she has a small tight group of female friends and spends a lot of time around guys. Most women HATE HATE HATE this type of girl, because they see her as a threat and have very little social control over her, and will try socially isolate her as a slut or whatever.

    A loner girl is often confused with a tomboy because she hangs out with dudes. But there’s a big difference between the tomboy girl who wants to hang with the cool boys versus the feminine girl with a more masculine view on social relationships.”

    I am probably a loner girl. I have some really deep friendships with like-minded women, but I refuse to play the game (which I suck at anyway.) Other women will penalize you for not playing. I sometimes wish I could make myself give a damn.

  • http://stagedreality.wordpress.com/ LeapofaBeta

    “@Anacoana. Lol, I spelled it anaconda. Oops

    I normally don’t pay attention to the spelling so don’t feel bad about it.”

    HAHAHA. Slightly embarrassed to say I’ve read it as Anaconda this whole time on HUS. Wow. Go mind, always replacing things I read with what I think I’ll read instead of what’s actually there.

  • http://theelffingtonpost.blogspot.com Christina

    Maybe it’s my age (42), or maybe I’ve just been lucky, but I’ve only had one bad female boss. I’ve had bad male bosses, too, but she was the worst. On the other hand, my best bosses have been female. Now that I think about it, it might have been the corporate culture (major American bank), because women in upper management were almost uniformly encouraging of younger women and seemed very interested in taking mentoring roles. In general though, I didn’t run into any nasty managers of either sex in my eight years there, so yeah, probably the culture.

    As to other women generally being mean and catty- not in my world. I’d offloaded any and all “friends” like that by the end of college, and avoided women like that like the plague going forward. It might also be that I don’t seem to be the type that is threatening to other women. There’s never been much danger of me stealing anyone’s man.

    I have a feeling it might be worse for the younger generation, though. My nieces in grade school right now seem to have to put up with a lot more “mean girl” behavior than I ever did- and I had plenty at that age!

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Christina

      I’m glad you’ve had a good experience. It’s interesting that you say you work at a major bank – one of the women in my focus groups does too, and since she’s joined she’s been amazed and delighted how supportive the women are. Interestingly, a couple of the really senior women are hugely pregnant right now, so it may be a self-selected group that intends to balance family with work. It may be that certain organizations, or even certain industries, are ahead of the curve on this and doing a great job of rewarding positive female modeling and mentoring behavior.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    HAHAHA. Slightly embarrassed to say I’ve read it as Anaconda this whole time on HUS. Wow. Go mind, always replacing things I read with what I think I’ll read instead of what’s actually there.

    Heh everybody does it, the brain is constantly trying to save time by guessing what is reading instead of actually reading, lazy bastard. :p
    The studies about how much bias actually makes up our perception of the world are fascinating, some neuroscience believe that there is not really any objective way for the brain to see the world so we all have our colored glasses.
    For example another Dominican would had read it ANACAONA right away because she was a revered Taino princess we been hearing about since we had memory of anything, killed by Ovando *spitsonfloor* became the symbol of the extermination of our own indigenous race, but for a gringo brain the closest word is ANACONDA so the brain substitutes for it accordingly.
    To show my own bias I had no idea that anyone would confuse the two because they look nothing alike to me. I like twins, people from the family can tell one and hundred differences while strangers or mere acquaintances are confused all the time, YMMV

  • http://stagedreality.wordpress.com/ LeapofaBeta

    “Heh everybody does it, the brain is constantly trying to save time by guessing what is reading instead of actually reading, lazy bastard. :p
    The studies about how much bias actually makes up our perception of the world are fascinating, some neuroscience believe that there is not really any objective way for the brain to see the world so we all have our colored glasses.”

    Haha, so true! I actually know that its a huge problem of mine at times. I have read a large amount since early ages, so its always ironically funny to me when something I’ve been reading a whole book – or blog – is suddenly noticed to be different than what I thought it was. Usually it applies to names of things; cities, people, or items that I have no prior experience with.

    More rarely, but occasionally, it happens with situations. Usually when it happens I see a situation or event as how I want it to be rather than how it is. Then I act on it. Its led to some frustrating situations, though I definitely have a ‘do what it takes’ attitude to make things happen and find solutions. Sometimes the solutions just break a few conventions. Or require me to pull all nighters to get the project completed.

  • Butterfly Flower

    I wouldn’t say you’re ditzy at all. It’s just that some of us like to see the good in people, want to trust, or just want to make friends. We don’t always see the signs right away until it’s too late. You live and then you learn.

    With the right female friendships, they can be very nurturing and help you grow.

    You’re right, I am a wide-eyed idealist. However, I find my “sunshine, lollipops and rainbows!” disposition just makes forming nurturing female relationships significantly more difficult. Since I’m always happy, I become a target ["why is she happy? She doesn't deserve to be happy!"]; pair this with my trusting nature, I become the perfect target for miserable crazy b#tches. I live in NYC; the main base of miserable bitter middle aged businesswomen – I’m like a deer at the start of hunting season. They delight in tearing me down. I’m sensitive, so they get to me. I eventually recover and go back to my usual happy-self, but I can’t shake this feeling of being gullible. I let myself get hoodwinked. I should have known better.

    My close-female friends are similar to myself; optimistic, happy – no bitterness or chips on their shoulder. They’re also all around my age. I find even late 20′s women are bitter and awful. Gosh, I hope my friends won’t become awful as they get older :( Or even worse, myself ! I don’t like hurting other people’s feelings.

  • FeralEmployee

    Interesting mention of Wharton Business school in a recent article in Time Magazine. The title of the article is called “The upside of being an introvert”. Introverted leaders mesh best with empowered and independent employees.

    Anyone have experience concerning introverted women in leadership positions?

  • Catherine

    I haven’t read the comments yet but I am really shocked by this post. I attended a coed high school, a women’s college, a coed grad school, and in 15 years of professional life I have had an equal mix of male and female bosses, mentors, peers, and subordinates. I have never experienced anything even remotely resembling the kind of hateful, petty viciousness between women that you describe here. I value and have maintained relationships with all my former mentors and bosses, male and female, to this day. I strongly suspect that women who have problems getting along with other women ( and I have never encountered such a creature expert online) must have some sort of preconceived “mean girls” stereotype in their minds that colors their ineractions with women.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Catherine

      I’m glad this post is so foreign to your own experience. May I ask what industry you work in? Are you surprised by the Washington Post article? Or the many comments by women here for whom the post resonates? Are you aware of the Mean Girl phenomenon among adolescent girls? I’m curious to know how you’re processing this information, clearly shared by many women, in light of your own experience.

      I’m also curious to know if you have a daughter – you must be in your mid to late 30s – and if so, has she experienced this? When my daughter was in 5th grade, the girls in her class regularly played “Castle” at recess. They made up this role playing game, and it had a full hierarchy of royalty, ladies in waiting, etc. My daughter was told that she could only play if she was willing to be the slave. At first she agreed, but when they gave her a series of orders to complete unpleasant tasks, she left the group. I didn’t learn about it until one day she broke down and confessed that for a few weeks, she’d been hiding in a stall in the girls’ bathroom for all of recess.

      I marched in to the classroom the next morning and that was the end of “Castle.” But it was certainly not the end of the mean girl behavior. Thankfully, my daughter was not subjected to it again that year.

  • Stingray

    Wow, Grerp pretty much wrote my life story with the exception that, for some reason, I started making friends with the boys at a very young age. In kindergarten I realized that boys were easier to be friends with and we shared the same interests.

    Olive, I have done pretty much what you said about only hanging out with a few people. I have my husband and my mom that are very close to me. My mom lives 600 miles away and any other people we spend time with, namely one other couple lives quite far away as well. We went to college with the husband and we are close to his wife, because they are married. Not to say she is a bad person, she has a good heart but she slips often enough that I could never be truly close to her. Our kids play together and we enjoy small talk, but not much beyond that. The point is, I’m happy. I’ve always been a bit of a loner (in the sense that I never let but a few people in. I can relate to people quite well when in a group setting, but very rarely walk away with friendships) and it works very well and I am rarely lonely. I am quite a bit older than you and that likely makes it easier for me. The point is, having a few very good people around you, is often times a lot more that most people get. While it can be hard, you are very lucky to have those good people, even if it is only a few.

    Is there such a thing as WGTOW? Thats what I feel like when it comes to female relationships beyond my mom.

  • PV

    I notice on this post that a lot of the women saying they have trouble with female relationships also did not have a good relationship with their moms. Perhaps having a warm, nurturing mother makes quite a bit of difference. I have a very close relationship with my mother and sister and maybe that has given me some sort of radar to pick out good women friends and stay away from women who are trouble. I can honestly say that I’ve never been stabbed in the back by another woman and I have a few very good women friends I completely trust to have my back.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Guys here have actually said the same thing about cads – they can suss out a cad in five minutes, and are amazed when a woman tries to tell them the guy is “really nice” and “a good guy.” It just demonstrates that men and women speak different languages, and we only really understand our own kind.

    I have a very easy time figuring out women unless I’m attracted to them. I wonder if there’s something about attraction that causes other mental faculties to operate normally, you know? Maybe love really is blind.

  • Ramble

    I’d bet that reality shows have done more to destroy the American character than anything since feminism.

    Susan, who are CHOOSING to watch these reality shows (I am assuming that you are referring to things like the Kardashians and not Hard Knocks on HBO) and who are not?

    Before you answer, let me put this out there: I am guessing that few avif golf fans are watching The Bachelor or The Kardashians.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ramble

      Susan, who are CHOOSING to watch these reality shows (I am assuming that you are referring to things like the Kardashians and not Hard Knocks on HBO) and who are not

      Hell if I know. I imagine that women watch these awful dating shows and men watch stuff like Survivor.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Jesus,

    maybe love is blind

    I just had a read of this http://www.mediafire.com/?9bpbayjyb87ux7t and it mentions it

  • Ramble

    I am probably a loner girl. I have some really deep friendships with like-minded women, but I refuse to play the game (which I suck at anyway.) Other women will penalize you for not playing. I sometimes wish I could make myself give a damn.

    J, that description that you grabbed from Roissy’s site described at least one of my past girlfriends. She was sweet and demure but stayed away from almost all girls.

    She described herself as a sexist. She did, at one time, have one really close girlfriend, but then that girl started dating a guy (who wasn’t that into her) and the girl really changed.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      She did, at one time, have one really close girlfriend, but then that girl started dating a guy (who wasn’t that into her) and the girl really changed.

      Now there’s a red flag for you. When a good friend changes her behavior dramatically upon getting with a guy, get out. Especially the ones who disappear entirely, cooing all the time about how much they miss you. Of course, they’re back with a vengeance as soon as the relationship ends.

      Some women are just not designed for female friendship, and use it as a means to get to men. Avoid them like the plague.

  • Pingback: The Outsider’s Perspective « Complementarian Loners

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    so it may be a self-selected group that intends to balance family with work. It may be that certain organizations, or even certain industries, are ahead of the curve on this and doing a great job of rewarding positive female modeling and mentoring behavior.

    Fascinating. The social work field must suck at it, because I’m quickly learning social workers are some of the most hardened, judgmental people ever. My mom’s been a social worker for years, and damn, the stories she’s told me…

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      The social work field must suck at it, because I’m quickly learning social workers are some of the most hardened, judgmental people ever.

      Ironic.

  • Ramble

    Hell if I know. I imagine that women watch these awful dating shows and men watch stuff like Survivor.

    The majority of the people who choose to watch these shows, that are apparently oh so damaging to us, are girls.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      The majority of the people who choose to watch these shows, that are apparently oh so damaging to us, are girls.

      I don’t doubt it for a minute.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Social workers: I would imagine that (a)being in a position of authority over people who are basically in the position of supplicants…combined with (b)the fact that the supplicants often have demonstrated dysfunctional behavior patterns that could easily lead the authority-figure to a feeling of superiority over them, if s(he) were minded that way….can be pretty toxic to the character of the social worker, and that indeed this toxicity can be resisted only by those who have extremely strong character going in.

    My most recent post: working river or real-estate amenity?

  • Ramble

    Now there’s a red flag for you. When a good friend changes her behavior dramatically upon getting with a guy, get out. Especially the ones who disappear entirely, cooing all the time about how much they miss you. Of course, they’re back with a vengeance as soon as the relationship ends.

    They did not have a massive failing out. It was more like, “we are now both back from college for the summer, but I am going to spend all of my time with my (uninvested) boyfriend and not so much with you”. Nothing mean was said.

    But the quote that J brought up was spot on. She was not a tomboy, but spent all of her time with “the boys” even though she was not amazingly tight with any of them. An interesting side note for those young girls who lurk here, all of the guys that she hung out with wanted to see her land a quality guy.

  • Ellie

    One of my friends in high school was super flat; our local “queen bee” sent her a hand-made birthday card with a bra on the front and this message on the inside: “If you water them, maybe they will grow” – Girls can be so terribly mean.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Ellie,

      Thanks for commenting. Your story doesn’t surprise me, but it’s terrible.

      I regularly meet women who I *know* with total certainty, were the mean queen bees as teenagers. They never lose the affect.

  • Ramble

    Olive, a girl I know is a social worker and she married the ass-hattiest of “alphas” (read: poser).

    One time, at a childrens birthday party, the two of them came back out into the back yard where the husband said they had just had sex in the hosts’ (her sisters) bathroom. No one knew what to say.

  • Ramble

    I don’t doubt it for a minute.

    They also vote heavily Democratic.

  • PV

    “If you water them, maybe they will grow” – Girls can be so terribly mean.”

    This is more than mean — I think this is evil. Imagine her rising to the top of the corporate world, stepping on everyone on the way without remorse.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    That’s not off topic, that’s a wonderful tidbit that gives me hope!

    Well baseball makes and breaks friendships in my culture so is not that remarkable still…RUGE RUGE EL LEON!!! :d

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    “Imagine her rising to the top of the corporate world, stepping on everyone on the way without remorse”…the odds are that someone this vicious is going to destroy herself before reaching the top of anything. She will pick on the wrong person, or the turnover in her group will be so high that she’ll fail to achieve results, or she will at some point report to someone astute enough to figure her out. But she can make a lot of people miserable on the way to her eventual meltdown.

    As an aside, I think the organizational culture in “nonprofits” is often more toxic than that in for-profit corporations. I’ve heard several credible stories about “nonprofit” executives (male, in the cases I’ve heard about) yelling at employees, throwing things, demanding entirely inappropriate help with chores having nothing to do with the job, etc.

  • Anna

    “I regularly meet women who I *know* with total certainty, were the mean queen bees as teenagers. They never lose the affect.”

    It’s a little bit scary how our status all through school sticks with us for life. I was never a queen bee – I was often friends with the queen bee and generally well liked but also a git of a geek and not someone who stood out. And I think for the rest of my life I will be skeptical of a woman who appears to have been the queen bee at school when she was younger.
    She usually won this status by having jeans of certain labels, being overly confident with obnoxious parents to match and being “ahead of the crowd” somehow. The queen bee at school when I was a kid was the first one to wear a G-string. It was black and had gold writing in front which said “you animal”. We were 10.
    Perhaps judgmental, but the queen bee rarely becomes the queen bee for good reasons. Our queen bee appeared to be nice but spread nasty rumours and pointed out physical flaws among the girls, such as “she wears loose pants because her thighs are fat”. I might add that she kept this up until she was about 18.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Anna

      The queen bee at school when I was a kid was the first one to wear a G-string. It was black and had gold writing in front which said “you animal”. We were 10.

      Wow. I know you’re not American, but I would have thought so based on that statement. The slogan would be funny if it wasn’t so creepy for a 10 yo.

  • Anna

    Susan,
    I didn’t take your Junior League reference as an offense, it has come to my attention that some Junior League departments in the US have a certain reputation (or that the women do). A bit of googling gave some interesting results.
    I think there might be a link between these types of work, fundraising, donations etc and vicious women. I came to think of it when I hung out with an (American) friend last summer, a single 40 year old from LA. She is a doctor, a buddhist, gives money to charity and talks a lot about karma. Yet she is one of the most toxic people I know. She is insanely jealous and subtly tries to spoil any chance I have with a man, gives me a bad rep among her friends and deliberately tries to make all other women appear as sluts. One way of doing this is to “find girls” for her male friends. She’ll take the guys out, point out a girl and go “I’ll chat her up for you, I’ll bet she goes home with you tonight”. The point of this game is that the men will see her as helpful, not competitive and a contrast to all the “sluts” around. Whereas I know she is actually incredible insecure. One guy pointed this out behind her back, and I was surprised to see men recognized it.
    She is Asian, I am blonde, she had a thing for a guy who openly said he preferred blondes, and (in front of me) she said, “well let me tell you, once you’ve tried Asians, you’ll forget about blondes”. She won’t be directly rude, she’ll work it all in somehow. She’ll introduce me to men and add I’m “really shy”, she’ll tell me I’m hopeless in conversation and she’ll write off any argument I have saying I’m “so young”. And all this while preaching how you must do good to get good back in your life.
    I know a Junior League member from LA who is horrid as well. IMO, the more a woman advertises her social work or charitable donations, the worse she is. If she was genuinely kind she wouldn’t need to talk about it.
    Or maybe it’s just women from LA! I have had that suspicion too.

  • tvmunson

    @ Cheerful

    I assume you mena the movie “The Help”, and not the 1964 Beatle’s films.

    I haven’t got a lot to offer and the piece was again comprehensive. Our small community doesn’t lend itself muc to the high stakes stuff you describe. It is sad that ass kissing works so well; I’ve never said this to my son, but I’ve often thought “Son, I wish it weren’t this way, but the world belongs to the asskissers, at least ’til you’re the one it’s done to, so if you want to rise to the top, get used to the flavor.” But I just can’t to it. BTW the time honored “sleeping with the boss” is a category of ass kissing and although the object and the actor are reversed in the premises the method and ultimate goal remain the same.

    I haven’t seen the intra-office girl-on-girl (just writing that got me going) but got plenty of it in another context. The Stay at Homes versus the Moms Who Work. Women hear implied criticis in another woman’s choices, and you could clean a car engine with the acid that got generated on this one. SUBTEXT: Workers were heartless automatons who treated their chidren the way crocodiles do, and the stay at homes were lazy slatternly shiftless bon bon eating soap opera watching morons. “I’m working” meant “you are pig, “I’m staying at home” meant your children will grow up to be psychopaths.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Munson

      Love the Beatles film too, but I was indeed talking about The Help. We showed our kids Help when they were little, and my daughter, then around 4, became obsessed with Ringo for a couple of years. She remains the only “Ringo girl” I’ve ever known.

      I totally relate to the working moms vs. SAHMs competition. I experienced it often when I was a SAHM. Once, at a dinner party, I said, “All moms work, one way or another.” This really pissed off another guest (female law partner), and she proceeded to argue aggressively that a SAHM doesn’t do any work that she didn’t do at night and on the weekends. I felt sorry for the host, and just smiled and nodded until the storm passed over. Yikes.

  • Ramble

    Our queen bee appeared to be nice but spread nasty rumours and pointed out physical flaws among the girls, such as “she wears loose pants because her thighs are fat”. I might add that she kept this up until she was about 18.

    What happened after she was 18?

  • Anna

    @ Ramble
    I don’t know. I’m not saying she grew up, I just haven’t seen her since. According to photos, she hangs out with the same people.

  • Anna

    FYI, I might have a different time-perspective, as I’m 21, I think of 18 as “adult”. After all, it’s only three years ago…

  • tvmunson

    BTW not all Jr. League’s were as depicited in “The Help.” The one here had a great Thrft store; my wife worked there. The stuff was good, and the leaguers never condescended to anyone. I was there with my wife and there were people shopping there who didn’t need to which kinda’ pissed me off, but the stuff was that good. I’m not sure we even have one now; the women who used to belong to that organization are all working.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I’m not sure we even have one now; the women who used to belong to that organization are all working.

      True story. Remember when people joined the DAR and those kinds of organizations? (My people didn’t, they were Irish maids.) My mom was always very active in something called Child Guidance. I’m sure they did good work, but they also played bridge and ate shrimp salad. That was America circa 1960.

  • http://thesanctuary-spacetraveller.blogspot.com JT

    @ Anna @ 156,

    What a horrible woman you describe! I hope you are keeping your distance from her…

    @ Susan,
    4. If you have a female boss, kiss her ass and have her back at all times. If you’re lucky, she’ll feel neutral about you.

    In my humble opinion, not worth it. If they are trouble from the start, they will be trouble no matter how much you cowtow to them.

    Best to just get on with your work and keep them at an arm’s length.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @JT

      In my humble opinion, not worth it. If they are trouble from the start, they will be trouble no matter how much you cowtow to them.

      Best to just get on with your work and keep them at an arm’s length.

      You may be right. I can’t claim to have had stellar results with my approach.

  • Jackie

    @Hope (#79)

    “Lately I’ve been trying to project more of a loving attitude toward other people, but it’s really difficult. I do genuinely like the people I work with, but I don’t have much in common with them.”

    Hope, this is so admirable and inspiring. I need to take a page out of your book for the people who can be “difficult” and cultivate your attitude instead. Thanks so much :)

  • Jackie

    @Charm (#82)

    “I know my strengths, and I play to them.”

    +1
    Well said. Most people focus on “turning weakness into strength” but you can exponentially improve your results by focusing on making your strengths stand out.

  • Jackie

    @Butterfly Flower (#95)
    *hugs* to you BF

    I’m so sorry this has been your experience. It must feel scary and awful to not feel like you can trust them. :( Even your mom’s friends, or are they difficult as well?

    There are some really good people out there, they’re just rare and hard to find sometimes. I would definitely ignore the people who want to put you down and make you feel bad. Don’t give them a second of your time– just get away as fast as you can. GL!

  • tvmunson

    Re: girl on girl

    Women versus women in the workplace is probably an area not explored to some extent for reasons of political correctness. I’d posit though that, let’s face it, the work place is what it is. Corporation, law firm, bank, hospital-people trying to get ahead have a vibe. that vibe is often “I’m not just going to get ahead-I’m going to leave you behind and I want ot make sure you know it.” That hasn’t changed since humans organized into something beyond bands of hunter-gatherers. And the idea that you can “just do your job”-well, that’s a nice conceit, see how it works for you.

    I heard a song when I was 14 that had a line I didn’t appreciate at the time. It’s the psychedelic (maybe THE MOST psychedelic) song “Eight Miles High” by the The Byrds. Goes like this:
    nowhere is there warmth to be found
    among those afraid of losing their ground
    Those of you about to enter the Great American Upper Middle Class Prosperity Chase might want to spend a minute memorizing those lines. I have a very strong suspicion you will have many opportunities to revisit them through the years, as did I.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Munson

      Great, great quote there. I’ve clipped it for the HUS collection!

  • Jackie

    @Ramble (#148)

    Ugh! What about,

    “There’s the door, you can show yourselves out.”
    :(

  • Jackie

    @PV (#152)

    Ugh. That is truly despicable behavior from the mean girl! :( She should genuinely fear her karma. What goes around comes back around eventually.

    And it’s not like putting someone down is going to make her truly better, only not as “less than.” Perhaps Tina Fey put it best, “Calling someone fat is not going to make you any skinnier.”

  • Butterfly Flower

    I didn’t take your Junior League reference as an offense, it has come to my attention that some Junior League departments in the US have a certain reputation (or that the women do). A bit of googling gave some interesting results.

    I think there might be a link between these types of work, fundraising, donations etc and vicious women

    I found this out the hard way. Nearly all of my bad encounter with older women, I experienced on the NYC charity circuit. Unlike the older women, I was more of a naive do-gooder than a socialite. I wasn’t involved in charities for status, I genuinely wanted to make the world a better place. The scary thing is, I don’t think any of these women could even comprehend my intentions. Apparently I was trying to be a socialite, earn credentials for a prestigious university application, or even credentials for a beauty pageant. Wanting to help people in need? Psh, that’s preposterous.

    I’ve found a couple of decent charities and organizations; however, you’d think philanthropy would be the last place you’d encounter “Mean Girls” behavior.

  • tvmunson

    ADDENDUM RE GREAT AMERICAN UPPER MIDDLE CLASS PROSPERITY CHASE

    It’s the most overused cliche; I’m embarassed to say the word. Ok let’s get it over with. Insecurity ( mass groans; Internet recieves immediate boost as hundreds of lurkers sign off). It just so happens that 98% of all human fuckups result from it; and intraoffice politics is no exception. Secure people are not aggressive. They are not back stabbers. Nearly all nasty human behaviors trace back to this (including genocide, serial murder, and cutting in line). What propels a lot of people, drives them, IS insecurity, so it is what got them there in the first place and few have the ego strength to keep it limited solely to the task where it has utility. You read about the athlete who is so afraid to lose he trains and trains, but his insecurity doesn’t bleed out into other areas. Rare. Insecure people, those afraid of losing their ground, will give no warmth, and that is who were are describing. BTW the only male mentors of young women I’ve seen had the “daddy/Casanova” complex-couldn’t decide if the wanted to adopt them, or fuck them. The animus behind the mentoring was never enitirely pure IME.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Munson

      What propels a lot of people, drives them, IS insecurity, so it is what got them there in the first place and few have the ego strength to keep it limited solely to the task where it has utility.

      When I was reading about narcissism, I was struck how the primary non-genetic cause was “insecure childhood attachment.” I thought about that word – insecure – a lot. People who are insecure are those who are loosely tethered to fellow humans. Perhaps they grew up needing to look out for #1 to ensure their own survival. I feel some empathy, but unfortunately, it doesn’t make them any less damaging to others.

      BTW the only male mentors of young women I’ve seen had the “daddy/Casanova” complex-couldn’t decide if the wanted to adopt them, or fuck them. The animus behind the mentoring was never enitirely pure IME.

      This is often the subtext, yes. I was fortunate that my male mentors were family men of excellent character and never crossed a line. I was friendly with their wives, in fact. It helped that I was engaged or married myself.

  • Ramble

    Ugh! What about,

    “There’s the door, you can show yourselves out.”

    Well, it was not my house, nor was it my sister, so, it was not my place to say. And, personally, I did not have a problem with her being really low class. She is now giving us a better idea as to who she really is.

  • Wudang

    Great post Susan!!

    I am sure there are a multitude of factors that can increase or increase the amount and intensity of the stuff you describe but there to main causes of this that make the others insignificant by comparison.

    The first is that this is genetically hardwired female competetive strategies. Mostly used in female intrasexual competition but also against males. You can`t really change the tendency towards this type of behavior, it will always be there, you can only change the amount and intensity of it.

    THe second reason is kind of a combination of two whose effect become largely the same. The kind of behaviors you describe are very indirect and covert and this makes them difficult to see and so hard to regulate and sanction with societal norms. When this is combined with the fact that people have refuse to talk openly and thoroughly about these types of behaviors the result is that they are massively increased because it becomes a sort of moral free ground where there is little clear morality and little social pressure to abstain from doing such things. Insulting people straight to their face leads to instant payback from the other person and gets you into trouble with others and you more easily see yourself that you did something wrong than if you try to make the person look bad in the eyes of others. You will more easily get away with starting a rumor or freezing someone out than you will by stealing an object or punching someone. You will also more easily be able to rationalize your actions and motives as pure when few are talking about these kinds of actions and there are unclear moral guidelines and little social sanctions against them.

    THe result of the hidden nature of indirect (female) tactics and the lack of debate about them is that bad and immoral behavior increases massively in this area. In a sense female competetivenes is uncivilized and almost in a hobbesean state of nature because it is not clearly understood and discussed in the open and given fair norms for how to perform.

    A lot of the same can be said of female behavior in terms of dating and relationships. BEcause what they have actually been doing have been so little understood they are not regulated properly and so bad behavior reaches its maximum potential. It is only throug open discussion that leads to clear understanding which in term can lead to reasonable norms and sanctions (shaming) that behavior improves. A fair amount of the same can be said for male behavior in the sexual marketplace and relationships, especially the worst beta males as they often follow tactics that are highly dishonest when examined closely. Still female behavior in these areas has been the most hidden and indirect, have been very well rationalized by well excercised hamsters and have been the least understood and has been held above any criticism for the last 40 years so it is more the case for women that their REAL behaviors and motives have in a sense not been regulated by society. I think a lot of the unease I sense about female behavior amongst women in the manosphere comes exactly from this. There are a lot of bad stuff getting done and those who do it get away with it again and again and other women feel a bit helpless against it because they can`t so easily call upon clear rules and norms to their defence.

    Amongst other contributing factors I do think self esteem and emotional health is a big one but I think it is mostly a matter of feeling good in a female specific way (I am a likable person, a GOOD girl, I am lovable etc.) rather than just workplace competitive success self esteem (which is more male in nature). I think when women lash out in catty ways it is because their FEMALE self esteem and FEMALE sense of security is endangered. I do think it works the other way around as well so that not feeling successful in a competitive way leads to lashing out in catty ways but I don`t think the main reason lies there.

    Entirely unrelated, I came across the expression female sexual arms race today and found it funny, insightful and very relevant to this site. It was used by Rollo in reference to how women dress more slutty and do more and more slutty things to outcompete each other.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Wudang

      Great comment there, cosigned. The combination of PC norms directly resulting from feminism/AA for women and the subtextual nature of female communication has created a fairly toxic cocktail. Men can’t correct it, because much of it goes right over their heads – they don’t pick up on all the covert cues.

  • Butterfly Flower

    *hugs* to you BF

    I’m so sorry this has been your experience. It must feel scary and awful to not feel like you can trust them. :( Even your mom’s friends, or are they difficult as well?

    My mother has a group of close personal friends [many she's know since her 20's]. I don’t have any issues with her friends; however they’re a miniscule portion of middle-aged women.

    Sadly, my mother puts up with BS from other middle-aged women; certainly more than I have to deal with. She married a non-Christian Asian man. She gave up her career to have children. She let her daughter [i.e. me] drop out of an elite university [note: I should probably get around to signing back up; or perhaps transferring].

    These past few years, I’ve developed a new respect for my mother. Like myself, she’s timid & sensitive – yet she doesn’t let mean women get to her. I hope one I can be as emotionally strong as her.

    I would definitely ignore the people who want to put you down and make you feel bad. Don’t give them a second of your time– just get away as fast as you can. GL!

    Well, that’s the thing. They act nice at first. They pretend to care. They masquerade their awfulness long enough to have me fooled. Then they take advantage of me/bully me/try to sabotage me. & when I try to call these older women out on their behavior, they just act like nothing happened. Or even worse, they tell me I deserve to be treated badly. I’m a bad person for “x” reason [the reason is always nonsensical], so what they did to me was justified.

    I have a deadly illness; I just don’t have the energy to play these games. Also, emotional stress triggers my RA flares. I think, for my physical health, it’s best to keep to myself – at least when it comes to older women.

  • Jackie

    @Counsel (#170)

    Clipped and saved for the “Wisdom file” as well. :)

    My mentor told me that what separates “the cheap from the great” was how they treated others, especially those with much less power than them. She said that a truly great person (who is usually the best at what they do, and knows it) will be really nice to *everyone*. Especially the people low on the “totem pole.”

    She said that people who never-quite-made-it will fawn and simper to those “above” them, and treat those “below” like dirt, or worse. :( No matter what they do, these people will never reach the heights they seek.

    Whether this is cause or effect, I cannot say for sure.

  • Ramble

    Perhaps they grew up needing to look out for #1 to ensure their own survival.

    Or, needing some love that they tried to find from Mom (nope), Dad (nope), me (yup).

  • Butterfly Flower

    I forgot to ask:

    Does anyone else think this “Mean Girls” phenomenon is regional?

    I mean, I live in NYC – I don’t really have much of a choice, I have to interact with aggressive competitive businesswomen. Demure isn’t exactly a personality trait that thrives in this city.

    Would a middle-aged businesswoman from say, Minneapolis, be less vicious?

    Although; I know in Japan, middle-aged career women are often painted as vicious manhating shrews. So for all we know, it’s a worldwide phenomenon.

    …I think I need to move out to the suburbs & have some kids. I’ll take the PTA and bored housewife gossip, over harpy over-botoxed cosmopolitan career gals.

  • J

    Ramble,

    It’s sort of sad that your GF couldn’t find other women to bond with. Female friendships really are valuable, and loner girls usually make excellent friends for other loner girls. For popular, girly-girl types, not so much. I hate the indirect, passive-aggressive stuff that girly types put out, and I share very few interests with them.

  • J

    I think I need to move out to the suburbs & have some kids. I’ll take the PTA and bored housewife gossip, over harpy over-botoxed cosmopolitan career gals.

    I hate to disapoint you, but forewarned is forearmed. IME, some of the world’s biggest bitchs are suburban PTA presidents, La Leche League Leaders, and babysitting co-op organizers.

  • Ramble

    It’s sort of sad that your GF couldn’t find other women to bond with. Female friendships really are valuable, and loner girls usually make excellent friends for other loner girls.

    J, she may very well have met other like minded girls since we broke up. But, in general, she was quite wary (weary?) of girls’ machinations.

  • Jess

    I have been abroad so haven’t logged on here for a while- Im not often surprised by what I read on here but this latest essay really takes the biscuit.

    Is this one big joke or genuine female-sourced misogyny? I just dunno anymore.

    I have had a more varied career than most and have had many bosses and I currently line manage other ‘bosses’.

    Have I dealt with some nightmare drama queen female bosses? Yes

    Have I dealt with some nightmare male bosses? Yes

    Have I dealt with outstanding managers and leaders of both genders? Yes

    Who have been the most’ miscreant’ bosses? Males

    Does this mean males are worse bosses than women? Nope, its just that there have been more male bosses than female ones in the fields of work I have been involved with in the last decade.

    Is the article something of an embarrassment reducing the credibility of the blog? Yeah – I’d say so.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jess

      Is the article something of an embarrassment reducing the credibility of the blog? Yeah – I’d say so.

      Does this mean you may depart, never to return?

  • http://facebook tvmunson

    RE: Suburban Women

    We have a suburban nouveau area called Eagle. I think of the females there as “Zimbabwe women”. In Zimbabwe, when the women go to market the put on their finest clothes, all their jewelry, even their best china if they can make it work. Well, women in Eagle do too. We went to a 3 year old’s birthday party and here they were all decked out like a cocktail function, evening attire, diamond necklaces, plunging necklines, diamond drop earrings, everything trending to gaudy under the circumstances. We’ve seen this several times. Reminded me of Major Toht in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”-”You Americans; always over dressing for the wrong occasions.”

  • http://facebook tvmunson

    RE: EVERBODY
    My ass kissing remark was probably too cynical. I tend to turn the dial to “full green” every now and then.

  • Butterfly Flower

    I hate to disappoint you, but forewarned is forearmed. IME, some of the world’s biggest bitchs are suburban PTA presidents, La Leche League Leaders, and babysitting co-op organizers.

    Well, I live in an Upper-Middle Class, somewhat suburban area of NYC. There’s not many housewives here; they tend to live in the New Jersey/Connecticut suburbs. So besides my mother’s friends, I don’t really interact with housewives.

    Surely the television “Desperate Housewives” stereotypes aren’t true?

    & I didn’t mean for my previous comments to sound so generalized. I know there’s many kind decent middle aged women who genuinely want to mentor the younger generations [for example, Mrs. Walsh]. I just don’t encounter these women in my neighborhood. It’s like searching for a Kangaroo in Alaska.

  • Anna

    @ Butterfly Flower
    Aren’t New Jersey and Connecticut very different areas? I think of Connecticut as where Charlotte York (Sex and the City) is from and New Jersey as…something else. The only name I associate with “Jersey” is …. Jersey Shore. Obviously I haven’t been and have no clue.

  • Catherine

    Susan@140
    Thank you for your interest in my rather unsubstantive comment at 115 in which I said that I was shocked by the post because I had never experienced the horrible behavior described. You asked me some personal details so I will share that I am a partner in a 25 attorney firm in a provincial city in the northeast, and that I do not have a daughter. But I was a ten year old girl once!

    I definitely witnessed and experienced hierarchical and bullying behavior as a kid. But it never seemed especially gendered, except that the boys tended to get a little more physical.

    Upon reflection, I suspect that women who report that our sex is more inclined to petty viciousness (a) have internalized sexism and are subject to confirmation bias and/or (b) have socialized primarily in female groups, leading to the impression that certain behaviors are more particular to our sex. In fact, men can and do get into petty squabbles, engage in passive aggressive behavior, make cutting remarks, carry grudges, backstab people, spread rumors, etc. My father used to come home every night and complain about all of those things happening among his workplaces colleagues, who were all men back then. (On the positive side, while I think assholery knows no gender, most people are quite professional.)

  • SayWhaat

    I mean, I live in NYC – I don’t really have much of a choice, I have to interact with aggressive competitive businesswomen. Demure isn’t exactly a personality trait that thrives in this city.

    Would a middle-aged businesswoman from say, Minneapolis, be less vicious?

    I moved from suburban Florida to NYC. I would say that I encounter more motivated people here, but the girl-on-girl viciousness is unchanged.

  • SayWhaat

    @ Catherine:

    What area of law do you practice? If it’s family law we could really use you around here. :P

  • Jess

    Catherine,
    You are of course 100% correct- men are every bit as catty as the girls. The pettiness of some of the men in my family and previous workplaces is hilarious.

    Put these behaviours in a skirt and it makes someone a ‘bitch’.

    I really couldn’t believe the tone of the article- its the sort of thing a 70s style british low level male manager would spout…

    “them wimmin is more trouble than their worth!”

  • Catherine

    @Butterfly Flower,

    I have encountered misogynist women on-line before but I have never come across a young women who professes such strong feelings of antipathy towards other women based on age and career status. I am not one of your NYC based career women, but I am in the northeast and I travel and work in NYC often. I simply can’t imagine what could trigger such a strong reaction in you.

    What do you expect from these women that they are not delivering? Also, have you considered that you might be doing something that may triggering some hostility by them towards you? Such as making negative generalizations about women?

  • Butterfly Flower

    Aren’t New Jersey and Connecticut very different areas? I think of Connecticut as where Charlotte York (Sex and the City) is from and New Jersey as…something else. The only name I associate with “Jersey” is …. Jersey Shore. Obviously I haven’t been and have no clue.

    Actually, New Jersey has some of the wealthiest suburbs in the country. & like the Connecticut suburbs, they’re relatively close to Manhattan [a few hours away] – close enough for businessmen to commute.

  • J

    Munch–

    When my kids were little I took them on a playdate to the park. One of the moms felt the occasion called for two carat (total weight) diamond earrings. Classsaaayyyy.

  • Jess

    Catherine,
    Im sure its already occurred to you but having tracked back some of the Butterflys extreme and ugly comments there seems to be the distinct whiff of the troll.

    Its likely one of the guys here is venting their spleen whilst donning a virtual dress and high heels (or actual high heels in some cases….)

    You might not want to waste your time on them is all….

  • Catherine

    @Saywhaat,

    Sorry, I don’t do family law, thank the Lord. Couldn’t pay me enough. That there is blood sport. No, nice clean commercial disputes are more my line.

  • J

    Well, I live in an Upper-Middle Class, somewhat suburban area ..

    Me too. The women I’m speaking of are basically my neighbors, although I’ve seen the same behavior in less affluent women as well.

    Surely the television “Desperate Housewives” stereotypes aren’t true?

    IDK. I’ve been called many things in the course of my life, but “prime time soap watcher” isn’t one of them. ;-) Seriously though, I’ve never seen the show.

  • Catherine

    Jess, you know, call me an idiot for not thinking of it myself, but it wouldn’t
    Shock me if Butterfly is some dude trying to prove a point about how much women suck by adopting a female persona. Butterfly seems so over the top in her hostility. On the other hand, I believe that internalized misogyny by women exists and Butterfly could be a young woman with serious Mommy issues. It happens.

  • J

    My mom was always very active in something called Child Guidance. I’m sure they did good work, but they also played bridge and ate shrimp salad. That was America circa 1960.

    I join you in remembering those days. People in this corner of the net are so nostalgic for those days, but I actually don’t recall them as particiulary happy. Loads of women doing volunteer work, playing brigde and popping anti-depressants.

  • Anon

    I don’t have time to read everything written here but…

    What you describe about female bosses is what many men experience after several years into their relationships. Has it always been this way?

  • Butterfly Flower

    I have encountered misogynist women on-line before but I have never come across a young women who professes such strong feelings of antipathy towards other women based on age and career status. I am not one of your NYC based career women, but I am in the northeast and I travel and work in NYC often. I simply can’t imagine what could trigger such a strong reaction in you.

    I’m not a misogynist, I don’t hate other women. However, I am afraid of older women.

    & if you had read all my comments, you would have noticed that I described myself as a trusting [albeit ditzy] optimist. I assume all older women are good; but that just leads to me getting taken advantage of.

    What do you expect from these women that they are not delivering? Also, have you considered that you might be doing something that may triggering some hostility by them towards you? Such as making negative generalizations about women?

    Well, I expect these women to treat me with dignity. I don’t want to be bullied for reasons such as getting married young, or not pursuing a career.

    I think these women are hostile to me, because I have a bubbly/saccharine/ditzy personality. I’m kinda a magnet for bitter people who want to wipe the smile off my face.

    I wish I was sharp enough to notice these people, and not let them into my life…

    Im sure its already occurred to you but having tracked back some of the Butterflys extreme and ugly comments there seems to be the distinct whiff of the troll.

    I’m not a troll, and my comments weren’t ugly. I was just stating the truth for my life. I never said I hate all women. You misread my comments.

    I’m sorry, I never meant to offend anyone. I realize the women in my neighborhood aren’t like the women in the entire country.

  • J

    I’m pretty sure that Butterfly is who she says she is.

  • Jess

    Catherine,
    You may well be right (I kinda hope you are not though- otherwise I really feel for the girl- some real issues there)

    Susan,
    I would never wish to leave HUS and severe the special relationship between our countries!

    You have mentioned before your thinking I am out to ‘undermine’ you but nothing could be further from the truth. Your blog is less hostile and extreme than the Roissy/Pandagon blogs so i prefer a more neutral backdrop to discussions and some of your posters are engaging. And on the issues I agree with you on I am always quick to say so- but on this occasion you have really have produced an essay that effectively self-lampoons more than any humble comment I could ever make.

    “I have found women to be the most difficult bosses. The rules were unclear, the offenses were random, and the penalties inconsistent”

    - Yeah, she was probably on her period……

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jess

      - Yeah, she was probably on her period……

      For two years?

  • WarmWoman

    @JM”I have a very easy time figuring out women unless I’m attracted to them. I wonder if there’s something about attraction that causes other mental faculties to operate normally, you know? Maybe love really is blind.”

    I believe attraction does cloud your judgment. This is another reason why I think it’s best to wait to have sex. It’s easier to be objective before you sleep with someone, but someone can still hide their true personality for a long time.

    @Olive

    Yes, some social workers and therapists aren’t always the people they portray with their clients. I swear that my former boss at a mental health agency was a female sociopath. My ex-roommate (who is a therapist) also would tell people that they’ve gained a lot of weight to their face. I hope that she doesn’t get a client with an eating disorder. She could get in big trouble for saying comments like that.

  • Catherine

    Butterfly,

    I am not offended, just confused. I can’t imagine these women could possibly be doing to make you afraid of them. Do you think they are going to rough you up if you get engaged or something? I don’t know what you mean when you say they are bullying you. I suspect they are impatient with you and that you are alienating them by crapping on their life paths.

  • Butterfly Flower

    Jess, you know, call me an idiot for not thinking of it myself, but it wouldn’t
    Shock me if Butterfly is some dude trying to prove a point about how much women suck by adopting a female persona. Butterfly seems so over the top in her hostility. On the other hand, I believe that internalized misogyny by women exists and Butterfly could be a young woman with serious Mommy issues. It happens.

    I’m a real woman [although I look 11; stupid half-asian babyface]. I don’t have Mommy issues, I’m close with my mother. I just don’t get along with the career women in my general area. Neither does my SAHM. I don’t know what’s so horrible and troll-ish about saying career women don’t always get along with non-career women. Um, ever hear of the mommy-wars?

    I have close female friends, I know many wonderful women exist. I don’t think all women are awful. I don’t even think all career women are awful. I’m just weary of the ones who approach and try to befriend me. For some reason, that always seems to lead to no-good.

    For years, I thought Häagen-Dazs was a city in Sweden that made ice cream [my fiance recently informed me it's not]; I’m the girl ditzy enough to get fooled repeatedly.

    I think all my problems would be gone, if I was a less of a ditz :( I can’t filter good people, from bad.

    Anyway, I could send Mrs. Walsh a photo. Or maybe make my icon my photo, like Bellita, and Anna?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Butterfly Flower is not a troll. The notion of Jess discussing her as one is laughable.

      BF has become engaged at a youngish age – 21 I think? Anyway, several women of a certain age have judged her rather harshly for doing so. As if she’s holding back female progress for making a personal choice. I know one woman whose daughter married at 22, right after college. Several “well-meaning” middle-aged Cantabridgians (read: lefty feminists) asked her why she just didn’t get an abortion. (She wasn’t pregnant.)

      At a recent dinner party the subject of fertility came up, and a very smart female labor union leader suggested that men should be forced to marry women while they’re still fertile – it’s men delaying marriage that is robbing women of their fertility.

      I’ve never encountered a ruder or fuzzier thinking crowd than the lefty feminists in the Boston area. It’s alarming enough trying to decipher the ranting and raving of an Amanda Marcotte. The feminists I’ve met IRL are worse – they’re a bit less angry, but a whole lot stupider.

      Butterfly, just ignore these catty and petty comments from Mean Women. You don’t owe anyone an apology, and you’re not ditzy.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Butterfly, you had the same problem with nice-beta guys right?

  • Butterfly Flower

    I am not offended, just confused. I can’t imagine these women could possibly be doing to make you afraid of them. Do you think they are going to rough you up if you get engaged or something? I don’t know what you mean when you say they are bullying you. I suspect they are impatient with you and that you are alienating them by crapping on their life paths.

    I am engaged . They don’t rough me up, they just treat me like a pariah. “You’re too young, you’ll just falling out of love and end up getting divorced” “Why are you getting married now? Pursue a career, you’re better off getting married in your 30′s.” “Why did your boyfriend propose? You should be dating for at least 5 years…” “Just because you’re a Christian, it doesn’t mean you have to get married young…”

    I guess I don’t like how these women chastise me? They act like every choice I make is wrong, and if I don’t follow their advice exactly, I’ll fail at life.

    *sigh* I really need to leave NYC.

    Butterfly, you had the same problem with nice-beta guys right?

    When I was 17. I was kinda direct [you're cute - let's have a hot make-out session!] so I used to intimidate them. Note: I’d go for shy quiet Japanese betas/omegas; they’re a bit more fragile than their American counterparts. Or as the Japanese government describes them: asexual herbivore men.

    I also used to pursue older Beta guys. I look underage [13], so I think the threat of jail used to scare them off. They’d brush me off, confused. “I’m not sure why this teenager likes me….”

  • Hope

    Off topic, but have you seen this Susan?

    http://www.bakadesuyo.com/when-does-i-love-you-mean-the-most-to-men-and

    It totally jives with what I’ve been saying about how a girl shouldn’t have sex with a guy until after he has told her “I love you.” Everybody said I was out of my mind. Well, research now backs me up! :P

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Hope

      Fascinating! I’m going to dig that study up tomorrow. I think it’s especially interesting that it was done by a Sloan school grad.

  • WarmWoman

    Hope-

    I agree with you. You’re not out of your mind.

  • SayWhaat

    Hope,

    They also found that saying “I love you” makes the man in a couple feel most happy if the confession occurs before the couple has sex and makes women most happy if the confession happens after sex.

    I think that just means men are most happy if the woman confesses “I love you” before sex and women are most happy if the man confesses after sex.

  • Hope

    @SayWhaat, what about this?

    although people think that women are the first to confess love and feel happier when they receive such confessions, it is actually men who confess love first and feel happier.

    http://www.bakadesuyo.com/who-says-i-love-you-first-men-or-women

  • Butterfly Flower

    @Yohami:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2009/06/the_herbivores_dilemma.html

    That’s a Slate article on Japanese herbivore men.

    “I spent the night at one guy’s house, and nothing happened—we just went to sleep!” moaned one incredulous woman on a TV program devoted to herbivores.

    …would an American Beta do that? I feel like American Betas are a bit more proactive. Like, an American Beta might try to have sex with a girl, if she climbed into his bed.

    @Hope:

    Your post makes me wonder – how common is it for women to sleep with a guy, when they know he doesn’t love them? Do some women think sleeping with manwhore badboy Alphas will make the guy fall in love and commit to them?

    You see, I’m fed up with my monthly Harlequin romance novels [um, I don't subscribe to the Harlequin monthly book club?]; the past few years that’s been a common plotline. The slutty protagonist sleeps with a rebel billionaire shipping heir fighter pilot, and the act of sex alone, somehow makes the rebel billionaire shipping heir fighter pilot, fall in love with the slutty protagonist. I always viewed these plotlines as lazy writing [the author bypasses writing the "romance", by giving the heroine a magic snatch] but now I think these books might be thought-porn for sluts.

    *sigh* I love going to thrift-stores and swap meets looking for the old, 1960′s Mills and Boone. Purple prose or not, those were real romance!

  • J

    BF has become engaged at a youngish age – 21 I think? Anyway, several women of a certain age have judged her rather harshly for doing so. As if she’s holding back female progress for making a personal choice.

    I wonder if it’s that so much as a reaction to the high divorce rate for younger, less educated couples. As a woman of a certain age myself, I would have mixed feelings about my sons marrying young. On the one hand, I see the validity of the fertility argument, and selfishly I really want to be in good shape as a grandmother. OTOH, twenty-somethings seem significantly less mature than we were at that age. Most of the 21 year olds I know don’t seem ready for marriage and kids.

  • J

    Hope–You’re correct.

  • Odds

    @ Butterfly Flower

    Your post makes me wonder – how common is it for women to sleep with a guy, when they know he doesn’t love them? Do some women think sleeping with manwhore badboy Alphas will make the guy fall in love and commit to them?

    It’s very common – to the average American girl under 25, that’s what sex is. I think on some level, some of them think the guy might fall in love with them, but most girls are more realistic than that deep down in the recesses of their id where hamsters fear to tread. Most people aren’t stupid, just very good at lying to themselves. They do it because alpha-sex without love and commitment appeals to them more than beta-sex with love and commitment (I don’t think “no sex” enters into the equation, at least not in the way it does for a beta male). Whether they are correct or not depends on the girl, though I’d venture that most are wrong.

    @ Susan

    At a recent dinner party the subject of fertility came up, and a very smart female labor union leader suggested that men should be forced to marry women while they’re still fertile – it’s men delaying marriage that is robbing women of their fertility.

    Haha, heard a similar thing a while back. Back at school, the Society of Women Engineers had a social, and one of the (older, childless, female) profs apparently got a bit tipsy and told all the girls that if they pursued their PhD’s and engineering careers, they would all be infertile before they married. I wish I had the exact quote, but everything I’ve got is second- or third-hand, so I’m assuming “You really cant have it all!” came up. It appears to have scared the crap out of all of them. There is a certain dark, dark humor in realizing that SWE was founded to make women feel more welcome in the field, and to combat social barriers to female engineers.

    But getting back to your story, when it comes to forcing men to marry women young, is the speaker willing to then order these young, fertile women to reproduce? Logically speaking, forcing men to marry young women for reproductive purposes kind of won’t work without forcing the women to carry their end of the deal to term. Pretty sure we have a word for that. Is she willing to be one of these females? Or, if she’s too old, to make her daughter do it? Or is this plan just for a certain breed of woman that she finds distasteful, one who no one in academia would miss? The mind boggles.

    @ Hope, SayWhaat

    If a girl says “I love you” before sex, odds are good that sex is imminent (unless sex happens in the first, say, month or so, in which case, RUN). If a guy says “I love you” before sex, odds are good he’s about to hit the friendzone like a bird through a jet engine. Seems to me that link confirms it.

    Or else I’m overthinking it.

    As for guys saying it first, well, yeah. 80% of us menfolk are betas, who fall hard for girls before they fall for us – if they do at all (see: betas). Seems that would skew the average quite a bit towards us.

    Or, to drop the terms of art for a bit, it may also be that it’s not as common for us menfolk to feel like we have that sort of emotional outlet available. I’ve seen chicks bond in days and talk about the most private things (some backstabbings came later, on occasion, but the point stands). Most men know a handful of people we really trust that way in our entire lives. If we meet someone who we really connect with, it can be like a dam bursting. The step from “Some chick” to “wow, she’s a good catch” is a long one, but the step from there to “I friggin’ love this girl” is a much shorter one. Doubly so if you mix loneliness/sexual frustration with cynicism, as that scarcity mentality makes her seem tough to replace. I think a significantly larger portion of guys face that situation than women do.

  • J

    I definitely witnessed and experienced hierarchical and bullying behavior as a kid. But it never seemed especially gendered, except that the boys tended to get a little more physical.

    My professional observation of kids is that, male or female, they are tremendous conformists. Like a wolf pack that attacks and expels an albino wolf or one with a curly tail (This is how we got dogs, BTW.), a pack of kids will ostracize any kid that exhibits differences in an attmept to make to make that kid conform to the group norm.

    I would assume that many of HUS commenters have experienced this directly. I confess that I have–and generally because I did not pick up on or intentionally ignored social cues. IOW, even as an adult, when I don’t want to be the odd girl out, I refrain from discussing dinosaurs. My DH, who hates sports, makes it a point to keep up with football beause he knows that business socializing depends on it.

  • J

    If a guy says “I love you” before sex, odds are good he’s about to hit the friendzone like a bird through a jet engine.

    Marriage was already being discussed before I had sex with my husband. Not as a bargaining chip, but because we were both afraid of killing the love with premature sex.

  • WarmWoman

    ^J

    Same. My last partner and I fell in love before having sex. I respected him and trusted him the most than any other boyfriend.

  • J

    It’s so much better that way.

  • Hope

    @WarmWoman

    My last partner and I fell in love before having sex. I respected him and trusted him the most than any other boyfriend.

    It is so much better that way. I’ve never been with a guy who didn’t fall in love with me before even kissing or anything physical.

  • Jackie

    @J, WW & Hope

    Co-signed.

    Maybe it makes me totally lame, but I would rather hold hands with someone I loved –or even pine for each other across the room without touching– than have even one kiss where neither of us cares about the other.

  • Odds

    @ Hope, J, WarmWoman, Jackie

    Glad that’s worked out for you. I know women like that exist, and was perhaps putting more emphasis on simile than accuracy. Let me rephrase: I don’t think women like that exist in great enough numbers to justify using that strategy (falling in love, or even just saying it, before sex), even if the payoff is really good.

  • OffTheCuff

    Oh, poo on that. Makes sense for women, though. I felt loved once I had sex.

  • Hope

    @Odds

    If a guy says “I love you” before sex, odds are good he’s about to hit the friendzone like a bird through a jet engine. Seems to me that link confirms it.

    Guys don’t say that in seriousness without a LOT of show of interest from the girl. Not even the most beta of beta men would do it. No guy has said it to me until after I made it clear I felt way more than friendship toward him.

  • Sox

    I think these women are hostile to me, because I have a bubbly/saccharine/ditzy personality. I’m kinda a magnet for bitter people who want to wipe the smile off my face.

    This is common nowadays, and pretty unfortunate.

  • WarmWoman

    Odds

    Today’s woman is brainwashed into thinking that you should have sex right away or you’re weird. It’s also kind of sad when female friends pressure each other to have sex as soon as possible. This is what a former roommate told me “You mean it’s been 5 dates and you haven’t had sex yet? Who does that? This isn’t the 50′s.” Um, okay.

  • Butterfly Flower

    I know one woman whose daughter married at 22, right after college. Several “well-meaning” middle-aged Cantabridgians (read: lefty feminists) asked her why she just didn’t get an abortion. (She wasn’t pregnant.)

    I’m pretty sure a few women at my old church were trying to discourage me from getting married young, because they got married young after getting knocked up. I was waiting for them to give me contact information to a Christian adoption agency.

    To be honest, I think it’s funny “she’s pregnant” is the first assumption women make. I’ve always been a goody-two shoes “waiting until marriage” Christian. Being castigated by elders, becoming the fast-girl who got herself into trouble? Hilarious.

    I wonder if it’s that so much as a reaction to the high divorce rate for younger, less educated couples. As a woman of a certain age myself, I would have mixed feelings about my sons marrying young. On the one hand, I see the validity of the fertility argument, and selfishly I really want to be in good shape as a grandmother. OTOH, twenty-somethings seem significantly less mature than we were at that age. Most of the 21 year olds I know don’t seem ready for marriage and kids.

    My fiance is older than me [late 20's]. & I attended university for a semester and a half – then I had a severe RA complication, and nearly died. I really don’t think it’s my lack of degree. It’s the concept, that women are supposed to build up a career before they settle down and get married. Even if I did have a career – they’d probably tell me to wait until I’m more settled in my job.

    Long story short: I’m told women who get married in their early 20′s ruin their lives. I’m wasting valuable career building time. I should get married in my 30′s, after I climb the corporate ladder.

  • Lindsay

    Throughout my career, 95% of the sexual harassment, bullying, competition, gossip, and attempts at blackmail and sabotage I’ve been on the receiving end of has come from men. I’ve also been the one stuck at work late doing the overtime because the guys had to go home to their kids. Welcome to Web and software – it’s a total boy’s club.

    Despite that, I’ve been in the management end of it for five years now, and I’m a big believer in using hands-off management principles and trusting my team to deliver good results. I’ve been successful and very well-liked as a manager so far, and while learning how to manage deftly and fairly can’t be done overnight, I’ve found the following general principles to serve me well. Perhaps they will serve some of you well, too. They are as follows:

    1. Make time for your team. I spend at least 15 minutes a day meeting with each person on my team for a status update. I like to know what they’re working on, what their upcoming deadlines are, what they’ve turned in recently, and what they need help with. Spending that time with the team early in the day saves me time later, ensures the projects are done right the first time, and ensures I’m not micromanaging. Most people don’t like micromanaging because they feel suffocated, and it makes them feel you don’t trust them. Striking a balance between knowing your team’s status and giving them breathing room to do good work is pretty much management gold.

    2. Instill confidence. I had one young man convinced he couldn’t make a PowerPoint for his client. I had a young lady who was unable to get through a specific type of assignment because one man at the firm told her work was “too [racial insult]” (yes, seriously, this happens in the 21st century, folks!). I sat down with both of them and showed them how to work through what was challenging them until they could do it themselves. The result: They acquired skills they could take to any job, and they knew I had confidence in their abilities. Having confidence in your team is priceless.

    3. Create an open-door culture. I personally cultivate a policy that no question is too minor. I want my team to come to me anytime they need help, have doubts, want a hand, or need a deadline extension. I’m not out to get them – my goal is to help them work to the best of their abilities so we can all shine.

    4. No gossip, no poison. As a boss, I don’t talk behind other peoples’ backs, and when I’m witness to gossip, I change the subject. Unfortunately, some people turn to tearing each other down when they don’t have enough to do during the day, and when you’re the boss, you absolutely, positively cannot get involved.

    5. Give credit. Whenever someone on my team has personally done the work to create a successful result, I e-mail a notification of that to my client and CC my boss. If people report to you, they want to know that you have their back and are noticing and promoting their efforts.

    General thoughts: Aside from those guidelines, I would say that giving clear instructions, setting clear deadlines, and using good tracking tools or project management software helps a lot, too. Many people struggle with keeping organized to a greater or lesser degree, and while everyone’s system for keeping things straight is different, to manage effectively, you have to find a system that works for you.

    Many people who work in my field are on the Asperger’s side of the spectrum. While I don’t have Asperger’s, I am a very literal and direct person, and always have been. If a behavior or communication isn’t direct, it often goes over my head. Looking back, some people might have tried to be covertly competitive with me, but I doubt I noticed, or else I would have remembered it. My dad tells me it’s easier to be scheming and devious if you can be covert like that (he’s not good at it either). He had a boss who was very good at being scheming and underhanded (also male, not that it matters). This boss made my dad’s working experience a living nightmare for the better part of 3 decades, but the jerk eventually got found out and fired. It might feel good to scheme and plot against someone in the short term, but sooner or later, it will backfire against you. You can ask my dad’s old boss, or my dad, who got promoted to his old position. = D

  • J

    then I had a severe RA complication, and nearly died.

    I’m terribly sorry to hear that.

    I really don’t think it’s my lack of degree. ..

    Actually, I wasn’t speaking of having a degree or not. Nor was I speaking necessarily of your personal situtation. I was saying that fewer people in their early 20s today evidence the sort of emotional maturity that people of that age had thirty years ago. Women of my generation do comment about that amongst themselves; protracted adolescence is even a common theme here at HUS. I’m suggesting that when older women urge younger women to hold off a bit, go to school, work, travel, be self-supporting or just gain some sort of life experience it may be a response to the perception that people seem to be less mature than they used to. It doesn’t strike me as realistic that every older woman who tells you to take some time is intent on pushing you up the corporate ladder. They just may genuine perceive you as too young and unready for the challenges of marriage. Marriage is not the answer to the question of “What am I going to do with my life if I don’t have a career?” It’s a relationship with another person who has needs, wants, ideas,etc. that you will have to meld with yours. It is, though often worthwhile, probably one of the most difficult things most people ever do.
    And these days, half of those who try fail. Advising caution is not the same as people shooting you down for not finishing college. In fact, I would assume that past a certain point, few people outside your family care one way or the other as to whether or not you earn a degree. (That’s not a put down: I’m just being realistic. I can’t imagine that any of these older women are really losing sleep over it. Nor should you lose sleep over their opinion, for that matter.)

    Twenty-one should not necessarily be too young for marriage. I can recall a time that people thought 21 was a bit old, especially for non-college grads. Even college girls hoped to marry at the end of senior year. However, many of the 21 year olds I see are significantly less mature than 21 year olds used to be, especially pampered UMC suuburban kids.

  • Mike C

    At a recent dinner party the subject of fertility came up, and a very smart female labor union leader suggested that men should be forced to marry women while they’re still fertile – it’s men delaying marriage that is robbing women of their fertility.

    I’m assuming this was said in jest?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Mike C

      At a recent dinner party the subject of fertility came up, and a very smart female labor union leader suggested that men should be forced to marry women while they’re still fertile – it’s men delaying marriage that is robbing women of their fertility.

      I’m assuming this was said in jest?

      It wasn’t, but I assume she didn’t mean that we should round up men and force them bodily to participate in weddings. She was saying that instead of marriage being delayed because women are getting more educated, valuing career development, etc., it’s happening later because men are extending adolescence, having their fun and enjoying casual sex. She believes we should be more vocal in criticizing men for this behavior. (At this point, I introduced the apex fallacy concept to her, which silenced her temporarily.)

      I also shared the example of the advertising campaign by the American Reproductive Assoc. – (the one where ads on buses showed a baby bottle shaped like an hourglass. Women’s groups had protested until the ads were taken down.) She agreed that such ads are counterproductive, shame women, make them feel guilty, limit their options, etc.

      Her position was completely inconsistent logically. I let the matter drop, but it is just one more example of a conversation with an ardent feminist that made little to no sense.

      By the way, this woman got divorced by her husband when she had an affair. The guy dumped her after a couple of years for a younger woman, while her ex-husband has remarried a much younger woman. I believe she blames her ex for everything, including her need to seek sex outside the marriage.

  • Anna

    @ Susan
    “At a recent dinner party the subject of fertility came up, and a very smart female labor union leader suggested that men should be forced to marry women while they’re still fertile – it’s men delaying marriage that is robbing women of their fertility.”

    Is it really men’s fault, though? Most men want children at some point of their life, and they will choose a woman that is still fertile, usually younger than themselves. I don’t see how marrying earlier in their lives will make things better, it’s the same age group of women (20-30) who’s the most appealing anyway.

  • Stingray

    Butterfly Flower,

    We were engaged at 22 and married at 23 and I am so happy that we married young (relatively speaking, of course). I can’t even imagine what it would have been like otherwise. For us it was the absolute best thing and if you know that it is for the two of you then . . . it is. I am very happy for you.

  • Catherine

    Congratulations on your engagement, Butterfly.

    I have no way of knowing what interactions you have had with older women with careers. But I do have trouble taking your claims at face value for a couple of reasons. First, I am a middle aged woman with a career in the northeast, I know a ton of other women who fit that description (including women in NYC) and I know quite a few Cambridge lefty types. I find it hard to imagine women of this description being overly invested in your life choices one way or the other. Second, I got engaged right after college and no one ever said anything negative to me, not even my lefty Cambridge type w omen professors. No one gave a crap.

    Third, I suppose it is just possible that some of these women if they are in a friendship or mentoring relationship with you are concerned for your well being. They are aware of some of the down sides of marrying young and foregoing career. Granted, it’s poor etiquette to pass judgment on someone elses life choices, but I doubt that they are out to get ya.

    Fourth, I suspect that you are not just telling hese women what you plan to do. I suspect you are slipping in back handed slms at what these older women have chosen. You know what I am talking about: something like “I am not going to have a career because I don’t plant to neglect my children,” thereby implying that women who have children and careers are lousy mothers. Such women might indeed turn hostile at being slammed like that. (By the way, I don’t believe most SAHMs engage in those kind of slams. My suspicion that you might be is based on the tone of your comments in this thread.)

    Lastly, I still don’t know why expressions of disapproval by older woman, while rude, would engender fear in you. People criticize me all the time. You just tell them you disagree and move on.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Actually, much of delayed adolescence and delayed marriage is due to our society’s obsessive concern with educational credentials. While you may need to spend 20 years in school if you’re going to be doing advanced research work in semiconductor physics, for most careers the number of years of seat time that have become required have little to do with actual job requirements and a lot to do with signaling conspicuous consumption. The economic and social damage of this practice is only now beginning to become clear.

    My most recent post: working river or real-estate amenity?

  • Ramble

    I’ve never encountered a ruder or fuzzier thinking crowd than the lefty feminists in the Boston area.

    The lefties of SF, LA and DC are not any better, in my opinion…just different.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    I’ve never encountered a ruder or fuzzier thinking crowd than the lefty feminists in the Boston area.

    The lefties of SF, LA and DC are not any better, in my opinion…just different.

    Rude and fuzzy reminds me of Oscar the Grouch, who was my favorite Sesame Street character as a boy.

    I’m not a leftie (though I’m not a rightie , either…. I’d rather think of myself as ambidextrous), and yet this still strikes me as being a bit ridiculous. I know just as many frayed-brained conservatives as I do muddle-minded liberals. Most people in general aren’t clear-thinking individuals. And quite a bit are rude, but usually only to their detractors.

    Anyway, while the majority of liberals I know are only half as smart as they think they are, the most moronic people I know are conservatives. Of course, I also know highly intelligent people who would identify as one or the other. But the smartest people always seem to be ambis (like me, naturally).

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Anyway, while the majority of liberals I know are only half as smart as they think they are, the most moronic people I know are conservatives. Of course, I also know highly intelligent people who would identify as one or the other. But the smartest people always seem to be ambis (like me, naturally).

      I’m sure that’s true. It’s just that in Boston, I don’t know any conservatives, or even many centrists. I don’t slot easily into either camp, myself, but I find myself usually arguing the conservative position in discussions. Someone has to. I think part of the reason that the liberal arguments I hear are so poorly reasoned is that the people spouting them rarely encounter opposition.

  • Ramble

    I’m not a leftie (though I’m not a rightie , either…. I’d rather think of myself as ambidextrous), and yet this still strikes me as being a bit ridiculous.

    I am curious: are you implying that I am conservative?

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Ramble,

    In between which lines did you read such an implication? I have no idea which you are. Nor would it make a difference.

  • Ramble

    In between which lines did you read such an implication?

    It was a question, not a statement.

  • J

    Actually, much of delayed adolescence and delayed marriage is due to our society’s obsessive concern with educational credentials.

    True. Yet, the phenomenon has grown from there. Young adults with no big educational plans are in fact less stable and more likely to fail at marriage than college kids.

    Most kids are raised with a sense of their own “specialness” and with a “live for today” attitude that just is not consonant with reality.

    There, now the circle is complete, I sound like my mother.

  • J

    but it is just one more example of a conversation with an ardent feminist that made little to no sense. By the way, this woman got divorced by her husband when she had an affair. The guy dumped her after a couple of years for a younger woman, while her ex-husband has remarried a much younger woman. I believe she blames her ex for everything, including her need to seek sex outside the marriage.

    I have a neighbor in a similar situation who blames her husband for her cheating. She has never been any sort of feminist or even worked a day in her life. I’m not sure blindness to one’s faults is limited to any one political stance.

  • Wudang

    “I found this out the hard way. Nearly all of my bad encounter with older women, I experienced on the NYC charity circuit.”

    I have a theory on this. What we are talking about here is the female specific competition in its most unpleasant form. Female competition is more centered arround who is in or out of the group, who is “good enough” and eliminating competitors entirely (extradition from the group) as oposed to male competition which is more about objective achievment and rising and faling in rank in a hirearchy while remaining inside the group whenver you loose a “battle” with another male in the group but at a lower rank. The male competition is very direct and the female more indirect. Certain fields by its nature and through the people it attracts tends towards the male or female specific competitive model regardless of which gender is in it but is also influneced by how many of each gender is present in the. The fashion industry is one example of a field were the female form of competition dominates because of the subjective nature evaluating performance, becuase it is filled with women and gay men and because you win or loose by gaining in POPPULARITY, by being IN or OUT. Intelectual groups and academia tends to have a fair share of these dynamics as well. Ten years ago I got annoyed by the male friends of a friend of mine because they tended to put each other down and put themselves up in very female ways. These guys were intelectuals and hipsters both of which are groups that tend to compete in this way. Hipsters in a way POSE for other people all day and try to take on an attitude of superiority which is very aware of its audience. This is different from an alpha attitude which is more an attitude of being able to DO and is hardly aware of other people looking, or even excisting. Hipsters are very much parttaking in a poppularity context, working on being IN the GROUP. Alphas just want to LEAD the group or go their own way and TAKE things. This is why so many in the manospehre hate hipsters. Men in the manopshere have always had or have developed a more classic style of alpha masculinity. Men using a female form of competition gives such men a visceral repulsion not unlike womens repulsion to a highly beta man who tries to pick up her or her friend. THe reaction is increased by teh hipster not just feeling like a woman but pretending to be a high status man through womanly means which massively increase the gut reaction of contempt.

    Fundraising is a field almost entirely focused arround “female” type status competition by its nature and through the type of people who want to be in it. It is all about hwo others VIEW you not about what objective result you can get in making the physical world conform to your plan or by knocking out oponents or becoming the leader of other men through deserved authority. So fundraising has always and will always be one of the places with highest degree of “female” competition and because very wealthy people often have large egos and very wealthy people that want to be SEEN doing fundraising have egos the size of tank ships the field is forever doomed to be dominated by HARSH “female” style competition.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Wudang

      That’s a fascinating analysis of hipster culture. I wonder how hipsters attract so much female attention (cause lots of tingles) when they’re displaying female-like qualities. Women totally dig those punk pop guys singing about their emotions.

  • Wudang

    I think one way to solve these problems for women in terms of their won friends is by “divide and rule” meaning by having several female friends that are not friends with each other instead of having a choesive group of friends. My closest female friend has always done this and I suspect, although don`t know, that this is a big part of why she has done this. The individual freindships tend to work better if there are no possiblities of shifting aliances within the girl group.

  • Anna

    I just found the COMPLETE article on the “Female Dog Whistle”.

    “”My husband and some mates went to a gig last month that my friends and I didn’t fancy. The next day, a girl we know who’d gone with them left this Facebook status update: “Sarah wants to apologise to all the wives and girlfriends for keeping their men out late last night! Naughty me :-)
    The month before, we’d all been sitting in a beer garden and she’d started a game of “I have never” purely so she could reveal – again – that she’d once had a threesome on holiday, fully understands the offside rule, and finds stockings and suspenders just soo comfortable
    My husband didn’t get it. “You girls are so bitchy”, he said, “She just came to the gig and had a laugh…”. Neither he nor the other lads get why Sarah makes us bristle. That’s why she’s called a Dog Whistle: only women can hear her.
    Men think she’s sweet, misunderstod and picked on. Women know she’s a manipulative, girl-hating nightmare who carves cheap male attention. If you complain about these girls to your boyfriend, he will say you and your friends are being bitchy or of course, jealous. This is not about jealousy or looks, and certainly not about whether our men would stray – we wouldn’t be with them if we feared that.

    The DW hangs out in all mainly male groups, describes hersel as a “bit of a tomboy” and spends hours in front of the mirror before a game of pool with the lads. When we want to go dancing, she suggests a strip club – and not because Dita von Teese is her style icon, but because she constantly feels the need to demonstrate how sexually liberated she is and how she finds other women difficult and “uptight”.
    “She makes herself stupid to get attention from men (*baby voice* How do I send an email on this ‘puter?). She will invite girls with their boyfriends to a pajama party. You turn up in flannel, she opens the door in a babydoll and stay-ups.
    The giveaway catchphrase is “Women don’t like me and I don’t know why”. It means “I don’t like women and I want you to think they’re jealous of me”.
    She lacks the skills and personality to become friends with other females. So pretends to be “one of the boys”, because it’s easy to get attention from men as woman (especially when “sexually liberated”). If you ask any of her ‘male friends’, they will confirm – she is not one of the boys. She lives on male attention.
    For a normally social person, it is perfectly possible to meet girls that aren’t bitches.
    To tame the DW it doesn’t help to highlight her faults to men – they will feel sorry for her and think less of you. The best policy is to smile, remember she has the self-confidence of a chrysalis and refuse to play her game. Because for every Dog Whistle, there are 20 women who’ve got your back”.

    Worst part is, I showed this to a girl who has all male friends, and she said “Christ though, that sounds like a load of insecure women bitching about those confident enough to break conventions and do what makes them happy”.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Susan,

    Her position was completely inconsistent logically. I let the matter drop, but it is just one more example of a conversation with an ardent feminist that made little to no sense.

    By the way, this woman got divorced by her husband when she had an affair. The guy dumped her after a couple of years for a younger woman, while her ex-husband has remarried a much younger woman. I believe she blames her ex for everything, including her need to seek sex outside the marriage.

    The whole thing is incredible!

    There´s consistency, but everything else is missing.

  • Ramble

    So Anna, if you sent that comment to your boyfriend, what would he say?

    On another note,

    … started a game of “I have never” …

    That game is always annoying. I have never known a guy to want to play it (unless he is going to find out that some girl is a complete whore).

  • Anna

    @ Ramble
    I don’t have a boyfriend :(

  • Ted D

    “Anyway, while the majority of liberals I know are only half as smart as they think they are, the most moronic people I know are conservatives. Of course, I also know highly intelligent people who would identify as one or the other. But the smartest people always seem to be ambis (like me, naturally).”

    Well I identify as a conservative, but not necessarily a Republican (although our current system forces them together). I would say I have some serious libertarian tenancies on specific issues, but generally I would like smaller government and less change for the sake of making changes. Oh and for all that is holy, less laws!

    And could someone PLEASE trash our current tax code and make something simple and fair?

    Sorry for the political rant, but I feel like I’ve been slacking since I don’t have a dog in this particular fight. :P

  • Mike C

    Wudang #252

    Very insightful comment.

  • Ysabelle

    I usually lurk on this blog but had to say something in defense.
    My first job was at a bank, in my department I had around 6 senior women. And no I was not at some fluffy job that was a female ghetto, I was in a highly competitive “you eat what you kill” department. All these women were nothing but kind to me, my direct supervisor was a woman and my mentor..in fact we had such a close relationship she’s coming to my wedding this fall. The only misery I suffered from a female colleague was from one closer to my ranking, and a male colleague participated in the bullying too, so it was not gender based.

    My second job my direct supervisor is also a woman. She’s been nothing but supportive. This article just seems based on stereotypes, and is nothing I have experienced. There are good and bad bosses both female and male, unfortunately the work place is competitive and political.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ysabelle

      I don’t begin to claim that every professional woman has encountered this, or behaves this way, obviously. Rezvani says she is asked about this every single time she speaks, but not by every woman in the room. A woman who has a supportive female boss is fortunate and has no need of advice.

      I started working in 1978, and have had many different kinds of interaction with both genders. All things being equal, I’d rather work for a man every single time. I’ve personally witnessed women behaving badly in professional settings a lot. I could document dozens of examples. I have also seen men behave badly, and I could document a handful of examples.

      I’m glad you de-lurked, and it’s great that you’ve had good experiences, but if this is a stereotype, it’s a valid one. The post offers several relevant examples from different women. Their experiences have been negative, and they’re just as valid as your experiences, no?

  • alexamenos

    @Susan,

    Your site remains my favorite for stirring up ruminations on the many problems of managing non-male employees. :)

    We’ve had almost zero turnover amongst our female staff in the last few years, our clients are praising the work they’re doing, they are even occasionally innovative in the approach to their jobs, and we haven’t given anything other than token raises or bonuses in several years.

    Obviously I wonder, ‘what the heck is it we’re doing right?’ It’s not at all like us to manage competently, so it’s a real anomaly to see a group with that much cohesiveness, perseverance, dedication, etc…

    After reading your article, I’m wondering if maybe women work best together when they’re united in bitching about the men? Our office metaphorically is one part living room and one part kitchen, and you can guess who is where. From what I can gather the women spend a great deal more time venting frustrations about the men who don’t do any work than about each other.

    There may very well be other components to our accidental success, but a little de facto segregation may very well play apart.

    cheers

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @alexamenos

      I’m wondering if maybe women work best together when they’re united in bitching about the men?

      Interesting – while I was writing the article I was thinking about when women do work well together, and it’s clear that it happens when they’re united against a common foe. This happens on sports teams, debating team, even girl gangs. Even Mean Girl groups follow this dynamic, as they close ranks to bully some poor victim. The Women’s Movement is probably the best example of women succeeding in this way. Lysistrata comes to mind!

      So yes, I think there’s something to that. I don’t know what the opportunity cost of such a strategy is in a company setting, but it sounds like you’ve found a winning formula.

  • Ramble

    Wudang and Butterflow Flower,
    If you want to get a better idea as to how the Charity Circuit work, all you need to do is watch one scene from “Friends with Money”.

    The Jennifer Aniston character (who is, basically, poor, but has rich friends) is at a Charity Dinner with some of her rich friends. Realizing that a fair amount of money had to be spent on the food, tables, waiters, chefs, Dining Hall, lighting, valets, gowns (worn by the female attendees), etc. asks her friend (played by Joan Cusack) why do they not simply cancel all of the dinner stuff and simply give the money to the charity? To which the Joan Cusack character responds, with annoyance, “Because that is not how it is done!”.

    And, for anyone who may feel that this might be a solely female thing, I will point you to all of the (celebrity) golf tournaments done by men.

  • Jonny

    “Anyway, while the majority of liberals I know are only half as smart as they think they are, the most moronic people I know are conservatives. Of course, I also know highly intelligent people who would identify as one or the other. But the smartest people always seem to be ambis (like me, naturally).”

    Okay, I’ll bite. So you don’t think the liberals are moronic just because they think they are smart. The conservative position is usually argued intelligently, while the liberal position is demogogued.

  • Mike C

    That’s a fascinating analysis of hipster culture. *I wonder how hipsters attract so much female attention (cause lots of tingles) when they’re displaying female-like qualities.* Women totally dig those punk pop guys singing about their emotions.

    Just theorizing, but my best guess is the hipster/emo guys have a very narrow segment of women who have a strong attraction to them, and that these women do NOT find other traditional markers of masculinity attractive (such as highly developed muscularity). Just goes to show that there is truth that womens’ preferences vary and it is up to guys to kind of identify the right target market to try and sell themselves to. I could be overreaching here, but I also suspect women attracted to these men are more masculine and you end up with a more androgynous pair instead of more distant opposites.

  • Ramble

    That’s a fascinating analysis of hipster culture. I wonder how hipsters attract so much female attention (cause lots of tingles) when they’re displaying female-like qualities.

    Susan, I never read The Game from Neil (Style) Strauss, but it was my understanding that when all of those PUAs got into one house, they could not live with one another because they were all a bunch of primadonnas.

    Think of some of the things that PUAs focus on:
    – Wear Nice Shoes
    – Be (somewhat) erratic with your emotions (i.e. keep her guessing)
    – Be indirect
    – Peacocking
    – Display Status
    – When shit tested: agree and amplify (i.e. treat them like a child), or do not take them seriously, or ignore, or whatever

    These are all very feminine things.

    Could you imagine some traditional male coming from some farm in North Dakota acting this way?

    My point is, Hipsters are using feminine techniques to attract certain kinds of females. This is, basically, normal.

    Traditional, masculine, hard working, modest, soft spoken men do not get the best blowjobs from the hottest chicks.

    Dark Triads, Douchebags, and wanna-be rockstars do.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    There, now the circle is complete, I sound like my mother.

    Kids get off my lawn! :)

    About BF and mean elder ladies.
    I will say that I happen to think that BF might be really innocent in this interaction, My boss wife first comment ever to me was that she didn’t got how I was so happy when I was single at 24, never married or kids (being single is worst than being a single mother) and used to talk with other high female executives that I was either lesbian or sleeping with a married man. All that because I smiled too much for not having regular sex according to her. The other older ladies kind of let it go after a few months of getting to know me, but I could see this going on forever under different circumstances and she never let it go, till I got married and won my first literary award. After that she kind of wanted to be pals with me, I guess she though I was on my way to reaching her status and that changed her interaction with me. Thanks but no thanks.

  • Ysabelle

    Yes, the experiences of the other people may be valid. But I truly believe that things have changed. I’ve met so many great women mentors that had taken time out to help me in my career (business networks etc), that articles like this claiming that to be wary of women bosses paints them with an unfair brush. A young girl reading this article may become more suspicious of the intents of her female boss, laying a foundation for a not so pleasant relationship. Throughout my career, I’ve tried reaching out to senior women from all walks of life, and without their help I don’t think I would have the insight that I have today.

    The truth is, the work place is political. I’ve been privy to male colleagues gossiping just as well as female colleagues. Its up to the individual to sound out who the good and “bad” people and avoid the vicious competitive people. People will be jealous of you for some reason or another, its up to you to avoid them.

    With regards to marrying early, if my future daughter informed me that she was going to be marrying at 21, I’ll probably advice her to be cautious. and that’s not because I’m jealous of her. Young people both female and male are asked to establish themselves before marriage, and that takes time. One of my colleagues got married at 20, it was a he and people were giving him questioning looks too.

    You don’t have to wait till your 30s, but experience life a little so you can make better decision as to who you will marry and enjoy life a little bit. I had so much fun in my early 20s trying out new jobs and going to new countries. Its also true that there is a marriage gap in the US – people with more education and higher socio-economic status are staying married longer, these are the people that had time to establish themselves. (Though I’m sure young mature people have great success at marriage, but the truth is that most aren’t. I’m a much different person today at 29 than when I was at 21).

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    @Ysabelle
    The thing with being wary of marry young is supposedly to avoid divorce. But one of the pilars of modern PC culture was to take the shame out of divorce anyway. Women can divorce because they are bored and society rewards them with book deals and symphaty, if we were in the past were a divorced woman was treated like a pariah and blamed for the failure of her marriage it will make sense to be weary. But we are not. So what is the point? If there is no shame of being a divorcee regardless of reasons why a young woman should wait if she feels she is ready to get married?

  • Ysabelle

    To Anaconda, refer to this article.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/fashion/how-divorce-lost-its-cachet.html?pagewanted=all

    In my circles, if someone were to get divorced I’m sure there will be loads of gossip. In our eyes, success and status is still related to a (1) high flying job and (2) a rich husband and (3) a bunch of smart kids that eventually go to ivy league collages.

    To say that divorce is so common that society sanctions it, so a young woman might as well take her chances and marry anyway even though the probability of divorce increases is a round about argument. Divorce is never desirable, it takes a toll on both parties, affects the children and impacts both economically. Divorce has been described as one of the most horrible things a person can go through. In fact, in one of those PUA books, they advice men to marry only after the age of 25.

    Why won’t anyone try to prepare herself or himself for marriage and improve chances for marriage success by maturing a little and marrying a little later instead of having a starter marriage? When the consequences are quite terrible despite society allowing it? I’m not about to tell my daughter “go ahead, get married. you can get divorced if it does not work out.” I’m not about to pay 30,000 to 40,000 for a wedding if there’s a high chance its going to break apart anyway.

  • Emily

    IME, pretty much all girls are awful from age 12-14, and then by the end of college most girls have outgrown their “Mean Girl” tendencies. Of course, some girls are Bitches for Life.

    I *hated* Middle School, but from high school onwards I’ve had some really good female friends. I think it helps that I’m a Myers-Briggs Introvert. Although I come across as friendly and outgoing, I actually need very little social interaction. (That makes me sounds so lame haha.) So whenever any girl tries to involve me in their playground politics, I have no problem packing up my toys and playing somewhere else. :P

    I’ve actually loved all my female bosses. I had some really nasty co-workers while I was working as a lifeguard though. They were like Evil Malibu Barbies, but of course they were all sweetness and smiles whenever the male lifeguards were around. Anna’s “Female Dog Whistle” analogy is spot-on here.

  • Butterfly Flower

    I suspect you are slipping in back handed slms at what these older women have chosen. You know what I am talking about: something like “I am not going to have a career because I don’t plant to neglect my children,” thereby implying that women who have children and careers are lousy mothers. Such women might indeed turn hostile at being slammed like that. (By the way, I don’t believe most SAHMs engage in those kind of slams. My suspicion that you might be is based on the tone of your comments in this thread.)

    I’d appreciate if you stopped making negative assumptions about me. I’m not sure what I wrote that would make you think such a thing. Wait, was it because I described myself as a Christian? I’m only sorta-Christian; I’m half Shinto-Buddhist [my father's Japanese]. I’m not the judgey-preachy “women belong in the kitchen, argh!” type.

    Anyway, I never said any of those things to a career woman. I don’t care how other people choose to live their lives. I’m economically literate enough to realize it’s impossible for most families to raise their children on a single income. I don’t even blame women for putting their nursing infants into daycare, when maternity leave isn’t even a federal mandate. & I certainly don’t blame women for wanting to go back to work after having children. When I was recovering from my illness, I spent a lot of time at home. I finished doing laundry and vacuuming by 11 am. I can see why women with children in school would want to go back to work. Daytime television is terrible!

    Anyway, all I basically say is “I’m engaged!” to trigger criticism. Or rumors that I’m knocked up.

    Lastly, I still don’t know why expressions of disapproval by older woman, while rude, would engender fear in you. People criticize me all the time. You just tell them you disagree and move on.

    I’m part Japanese, we’re approval seeking people. Displeasing my elders is a matter of grave concern. I don’t want to bring shame to my family!

    Hm. I guess by “afraid” I meant these women make me feel ashamed. I don’t like feeling ashamed.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    To say that divorce is so common that society sanctions it, so a young woman might as well take her chances and marry anyway even though the probability of divorce increases is a round about argument.

    Well that is how Jezebel, feministing, and many media, tv shows and so on…preachs it, they even say that a marriage that last more than 10 years shouldn’t be considered a failure. I do personally consider divorce a tragedy, but I’m the only one so far in my circle of friends here in USA. So I will say maybe you live in a social group that does thinks that divorce is bad but is not the way American paints it anymore, again look at the success of eat pray and love, and similar works of fiction, people is embracing divorce so again there is no point on shaming people that want to give it a try young in general terms,YMMV.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Butterfly Flower,

    You don’t have to defend yourself. Only 2 people here have any kind of problem with you whatsoever, and the one we know about is a coarse and muddle-minded feminist. Some feminists will see you as a threat because you don’t fall in with their herd.

    The rest of us think you’re great.

  • Lindsay

    Butterfly, it really sucks that people judge you for your choices. I’m sure everyone has been negatively judged for their choices at some point, and the only thing you can do is be the bigger person. While it’s not quite the same, I got picked on by teachers in high school because I failed to act the part of the model student. Also, I – along with every other employee in the company! – got picked on by my crazy boss in my first job in my field. That dude never met a rumor he didn’t like and his favorite game was pitting employees against one another. Joke’s on him. I still get along with people I worked with there, and his company’s still the sad revolving door it was when he founded it. The stupid old fool has taken to writing fake-”good” Google reviews for himself now! = D

    People will be judgmental, misinformed, and interrogative at some point in your life, and all you can do is rise above it. You will be secure in your choice, and they will just be angry and judgmental.

    (I got serious with my husband at 24, so I don’t think settling down young is a Big Deal ™. Best of luck!)

  • Ysabelle

    Well..I’m not talking about shaming anyone young who’s getting married. If you feel you’re ready for it go ahead.

    I want my family and friends to have the best chance at success at marriage. I want my family and friends to have the best chance at having an enriching life.
    The highest probability of doing so is to marry a little later and open yourself to more experiences in your youth so you’re better prepared for marriage later. So I would advice my daughter to think twice before early marriage. If I had married the first guy I loved I was 21..I think I’ll be totally unhappy now.

    I really don’t see divorce as being viewed as cool and totally accepted. I don’t think anyone really rejoices and says you go girl when someone gets divorced, unless he was abusing her or something.

    Maybe we’re from different demographics, eat pray love is not cool to my women friends at all. Its kinda of like..middle aged women who made wrong choices in their lives trying to get a second chance. Also, when hanging round like blogs like this and reading PUA blogs, and reading Jezebel, its easy to believe that many people embrace divorce. In the real world, the Jezebel readers are a small subset. People are concerned about their daily lives, not Jezebel and feminilisting. Most girls DON’T go to Jezebel or whatever site that promotes divorce. They read cosmopolitan..unfortunately.

    Women in my demographic (mid 20s to late 20s), are concerned about finding fulfilling careers and boyfriends and eventually husbands. We’re envious of the person that has it all (the handsome husband that works at a hedge fund, the Vice President Job, and the one kid and the summer in the Hamptons). And the ones who have that have higher status than the ones who don’t. A divorced chick may hear “I’m so sorry” and consoling stuff, but noone wants to be her.

    Anyway, men in our demographic and socio-economic strata aren’t usually interested in marrying 21 yr olds out of college. I can’t imagine my fiance ( a surgeon) picking off some college girl, he won’t be able to have a conversation with her. They want a trophy wife who can also have a good time with him. Trophy as in good looking, well educated, and fun to be with.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Sue,

    I’m sure that’s true. It’s just that in Boston, I don’t know any conservatives, or even many centrists. I don’t slot easily into either camp, myself, but I find myself usually arguing the conservative position in discussions. Someone has to. I think part of the reason that the liberal arguments I hear are so poorly reasoned is that the people spouting them rarely encounter opposition.

    I didn’t think you were trying to bash liberals, but it sounded a bit like that after Ramble’s comment. I find myself in the same position as you. I mean, when I’m with liberals, I argue the conservative pov, and when I’m with conservatives, I argue the liberal pov. Though, with my friends, it’s more likely to be postmodernists and post-colonialists, or even realists and magical realists, than liberals and conservatives.

  • Lindsay

    D’oh I almost forgot, and this is for anyone: My dad give me this great book when I was younger called The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense. Check that one out too if you find yourself in difficult situations with difficult people. It’s still in print, and pretty cheap on Amazon.com. I’ve gotten quite good at Computer Mode over the years. People hate Mr. or Mrs. Reasonable – s/he’s no fun to argue with.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Lindsay

      I will definitely check out that book. As I’ve said before, you’ve got one of the best “blogside” manners of anyone I’ve encountered – if that book was instrumental, I want to read it.

  • Ramble

    Butterfly Flower,

    You don’t have to defend yourself. Only 2 people here have any kind of problem with you whatsoever, and the one we know about is a coarse and muddle-minded feminist. Some feminists will see you as a threat because you don’t fall in with their herd.

    The rest of us think you’re great.

    Also, considering the subject of the original post from Susan, the reaction you got from those two commenters seems oddly appropriate/enlightening. (I can’t think of a better word than “appropriate”, even though I know that is not right.)

  • Ramble

    I didn’t think you were trying to bash liberals, but it sounded a bit like that after Ramble’s comment.

    Regardless of whether she meant to “bash” them or not, well, she basically called them a bunch of Kool Aid drinkers…which they are. And the types from SF, LA, DC and Portland are also a bunch of Kool Aid drinkers, except that the flavor of Kool Aid is just a little different.

    And, these are the same people who mock Ruch Limbaugh listeners (for which, I do not blame them) for being (self described) Ditto Heads.

    Personally, I find it easier to deal with your average conservative “red neck” than these self-important, pompous, pretentious, self-righteous, superior Leftists. I find the red necks to be a little more honest, if sometimes dim witted.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Lindsay definitely is very nice. So is Ozy, too, btw. Makes me think that every gal should experiment with poly love.

    Not really. But Lindsay’s smart, nice, and a fan of Fantomas, so she’s all good in the hood as far as I’m concerned.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Ramble,

    Average people in general are easier to deal with–whether their necks are red, black, yellow, or white.

  • Ramble

    Average people in general are easier to deal with–whether their necks are red, black, yellow, or white.

    That statement is completely lost on me.

    Easier than whom?

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Easier than non-average people, of course.

  • Ramble

    Ah, astute observation.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    No, it wasn’t. But it wasn’t meant to be. You said that you’d rather deal with an average red neck than a self-important, pompous, pretentious, self-righteous, superior Leftist.

    So I was simply pointing out that all average people are easier to deal with and that average red necks and self-important, pompous, pretentious, self-righteous, superior Leftists was a poor comparison.

  • Anna

    @ Butterfly
    Sorry I forgot, how old are you?

    This attitude that women are “failing” the rest of the female population by getting married, has become normal :( In Norway, especially in the cities (I’m from the capital), women marry late and you are not supposed to even think about it before 25. Some women feel like they are being looked down upon if they are pregnant in their early twenties. A friend of mine had her first child at 24, when she arrived at the hospital, the first thing the nurse said, was “so I’m guessing this wasn’t planned?”. (She was married, and yes it was a planned pregnancy). There is a strong political correctness of what one is supposed to do, and it is so heavily dictated in the media that barely anyone dare do otherwise. As a woman, you must do an MBA, you must wait until 35 with children, you must go back to work 6 months after birth, you must have all your children in kindergarden. As a man, you must do your full 12 weeks of paternity leave. I think it was the G20 conference where Norway had no politicians present because they were all on paternity leave. Equality is great, but there has to be boundaries. If you choose to stay home for more than a year, and if you have a wealthy husband on top of it, you’ll be victim of public hatred. I’m planning to do just that and smudge it in everybody’s faces.

  • Wudang

    @Wudang

    That’s a fascinating analysis of hipster culture. I wonder how hipsters attract so much female attention (cause lots of tingles) when they’re displaying female-like qualities. Women totally dig those punk pop guys singing about their emotions.

    Not quite sure but, as I forgot to mention, I think the same style of social competitiveness is present in aristocratic circles. Aristocrats as hipsters and women compete by in group and outgroup dynamics and through what they “just are” in the same way womens beuty and femininity just IS as oposed to alphas who compete in a world of DO and achieve and externally dependent achievement in some sense. Both aristocrats and hipsters try to be something as fixed as a womans beuaty. I guess even though this is feminine competition it is still about social status and social hierarchy and so hypergamy stimulating.

  • Ramble

    Right, but red necks are not average. I was trying to compare apples to apples. Or, (Left) wingers to (Right) wingers.

    Personally, I find the one group to be completely insufferable.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Right, but red necks are not average.

    Sure they are.

  • Ramble

    …if you have a wealthy husband on top of it, you’ll be victim of public hatred. I’m planning to do just that and smudge it in everybody’s faces.

    You plan on finding and marrying a wealthy guy?

    Do you tell the guys this?

  • Ramble
    Right, but red necks are not average.

    Sure they are.

    OK

  • Tara

    Thank you, Susan Walsh for telling it like it is. I have long maintained that women would be much further along in this world if only we would stop keeping one another down. Both in and out of the workplace, the viciousness women display towards one another has caused me to avoid my own gender as much as I can when choosing both personal and working relationships. As a woman in my forties, I wish I could say to young women that this ugly behavior gets better, but in my experience, it really does not.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Tara

      Welcome, and thanks so much for leaving a comment!

  • Anna

    @ Ramble
    I won’t go cash-hunting, but I expect him to have the same cash reserve as me or better, so we go in on a place together. I’m not going to provide for a man after all.

  • Charm

    Re bubbly women

    I’ll admit it. I can’t stand bubbly women. To reference Susans female archetype post, a woman I would consider “bubbly” would consist of the waif, spunky kid, and free-spirit. To me, a bubbly woman is very child-like in need of protection and is ultimately weak or frail. I think a lot of men like this type of woman because she is playful, and embodies a ton of traditional feminine qualities,but its not my cup of tea. Im more of a boss, crusader mix with a little of the free spirit spunky kid added in.

    Bubbly people are too emotionally expressive for me. Interacting with people like this drain me emotionally so I just stay away from them. We’re separate sides of a coin and I like to keep it that way. Im more stoic and Im attracted to others who also have an inner strength. I’m definitely a emotionally neutral person most days, but interacting with a uber-positive person pisses me off and makes me want to wipe that smile off their face.

  • Ceer

    Speaking from someone who was once put in the role of a leader…

    Quality leadership has a lot to do with 2 key positive traits: applied ethics, and situational competence.

    Ethical analysis is very important for any leader in order to obtain the trust of those who would follow. Someone who can’t lead by setting clearly understood (either explicit or implicit) ground rules isn’t someone who can hold a frame. Remember the frame is part of your reality that helps guides people’s actions.

    Number 2 is why you have some game theorists have a sub-category of alpha: situational alpha. A situational alpha is someone with the qualities of an alpha in a certain context, that may or may not be alpha in another context. For instance, a restaurant owner would be a situational alpha when he’s giving orders in his own place, even if he’s a complete beta at home.

    The skill of leadership is developing the situational alpha for the needs of your particular position.

    My issue with leadership, is that people don’t REALLY study it. Being a leader and working for a leader require a specific mindset (frame, in game terminology). If that isn’t maintained, then personality conflict can easily cause problems. Both managers and people who work for them really should study the proper technique for their particular roles.

    I’ve worked for several bosses, and I very much prefer working for a boss who’s more beta, less micromanaging, and highly ethical.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ceer

      That’s a great comment about the importance of frame. I think women can use that too.

      Re situational alpha – this is something that might apply to women as well, in a certain way. There are women who are definitely alpha females at work, and they usually take this persona out and about with them. They go from the office to a drink after work, and they’re still aggressive and no-nonsense. It can be problematic for women to be very feminine in the office, but they need to learn to shed that tough demeanor as they leave, because it will not carry over well into a social life. One woman wrote an article saying she always goes home after work and changes her clothes. She needs to do that to get into a different mindset – she’s found that going on a date straight from work is disastrous.

      This is very hard for women – it can be a sort of Jekyll and Hyde act. The same skills that make you successful on a trading floor will alienate most guys. I think women need to cultivate “alpha” at the office, “beta” at home.

  • Ramble

    I won’t go cash-hunting, but I expect him to have the same cash reserve as me or better, so we go in on a place together. I’m not going to provide for a man after all.

    And if you were making, say, 30% more than him, what would you do?

  • Ceer

    @ Ysabelle post 273

    In my experience, after puberty, maturity has less to do with age and more to do with life experience. This includes the inns and outs of the job, social interaction, and living arrangements.

    More experience does NOT lead people to be more mature. For instance, an alpha who gets laid by random sluts every week is likely to come to the conclusion that EVERYONE gets laid every week. The people who do this sort of thing for years while actively preventing childbearing certainly are having experiences, but I’d say probably LESS mature than they were before they started.

  • Anna

    I don’t see myself in that situation. I hope to work part time or freelance when I have children and not having to send them off to kindergarden. I hope to have a man who is more traditional and prefer the same system and I am sure there are some out there. I don’t see it in the sense that anyone would ‘lose’ from that situation, if I was a man I’d like a wife who spent some time in the job environment but was around the children during their childhood.
    I am way too young to be in that kind of relationship, but as for the men I’ve dated I’ve never really inquired about their financial situation. I think they have all been quite well off though, these things happen naturally and I’m already in a private business school which is one of those most pricey in the country, so you know, these things work out that way. I can say most of the men who approach me or have interest in me are these type of preppy/bourgeois guys, I don’t know why that is really. I actually rarely get asked out by someone working in the local grocery shop. If I was, who am I to say I couldn’t fall for him, perhaps I’d fall in love and nothing else would matter anymore :)

  • Jess

    “Lindsay: Throughout my career, 95% of the sexual harassment, bullying, competition, gossip, and attempts at blackmail and sabotage I’ve been on the receiving end of has come from men. ”
    =======
    No Lindsay, that cannot possibly be true!!- did you not read Susan’s essay?

  • Jess

    Catherine at 241

    Spot on observation.

  • PV

    Lindsay:

    I’ve really enjoyed your posts… if only every boss were like you. The book sounds really helpful.

    In the meantime, I’ve taken to quoting Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham for whenever I’m dealing with someone difficult. Great way to keep my blood pressure down.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @PV

      There’s a site tracking all the great lines from the Dowager Countess. I adore her. Maggie Smith steals the show every single week!

  • Jess

    David foster at 242

    I totally agree. Our opposition government leader wants 60% to have university degrees.

    thats 60% of 18 yos to do expensive and wasteful 3-4 year degrees.

    you would think therefore that 60% of our jobs require a degree yes?

    well you would think wrong.

    no wonder we are in a recession!

  • Jess

    “Ysabelle: I usually lurk on this blog but had to say something in defense.
    My first job was at a bank, in my department I had around 6 senior women. And no I was not at some fluffy job that was a female ghetto, I was in a highly competitive “you eat what you kill” department. All these women were nothing but kind to me, my direct supervisor was a woman and my mentor..in fact we had such a close relationship she’s coming to my wedding this fall. The only misery I suffered from a female colleague was from one closer to my ranking, and a male colleague participated in the bullying too, so it was not gender based.

    My second job my direct supervisor is also a woman. She’s been nothing but supportive. This article just seems based on stereotypes, and is nothing I have experienced. There are good and bad bosses both female and male, unfortunately the work place is competitive and political.”
    ===========
    Come now my dear, you must be mistaken- if you read Susan’s opening essay you will discover that all women make nasty bitch-like bosses. You must have dreamt your experiences perhaps?

  • Ysabelle

    I would have made someone a horrible wife when I was 21. I was a know-it-all, I liked to party and really I did not know much about the world. I thought I was great because I was from an ivy league. I was also rushing around doing a gazillion extracurricular activities. And I’m actually a pretty level headed person.

    I agree that life experience makes a person mature, not the length of the experience. But the truth is, the probability is that MOST people right out of college have experiences that have not made them mature. They’ve spent their time in fraternities and sororities. what do they know of the world? How would one know how to relate to someone, be a good wife, and to teach children to navigate society? Maybe you did a work study program or worked to fund yourself through college. Even so, a “real-world” cubicle job is very different.

    I’m talking about kids in a demographic who had parents hover over them, send them to prep schools, and then packed them off to college. Seriously, how many of them have the maturity to get married? They’ll grow up eventually and be contributors to society, but looking back I can say I definitely knew nothing when I was green behind the ears.

    By traveling, I realized my ‘first world problems” were nothing compared to the Tibetan girl exiled in India from her family looking to get a minimum wage job in the US. By working, I learned how to avoid manipulative people, find people to mentor me and to advance in work place and the pride in a job well done. By dating men, I learned what type of men to avoid (avoid ugly Frenchmen stringing 3 women along) and what would fit with my personality and increase a chance of a successful marriage. I learned what made men happy and how to compromise. You learn you can’t have it all, that there are tradeoffs between family and career, something I would have not grasped at 21.

    People such as those Alphas who don’t mature probably did not have the right guidance or framework in the first place. They would have exploded spectacularly if they got married in their 20s vs. their 30s vs. their 40s. They’re somehow broken. However, it is interesting to note that even Tucker Max is tiring of his lifestyle and “looking for the right one to experience love with”.

    I’m so happy with my life. I’m in love with an amazing fiance, we just connect. When you have a partner like that, everything feels so right, something I never felt with the other men and I’ve been dating since I was 16. Materially, he has a lucrative job as a surgeon. I have my own career as a management consultant. I understand there will be trade offs down the line, but we will negotiate the ups and downs. I would never have understood this when I was 21.

    To all those 20 something women who crowd round Susan’s table bemoaning the lack of men..be optimistic. There are STILL women out there getting married. They’re not getting married your age, they’re getting married mid 20s to late 20s when the men are ready. You yourself have to be receptive to the idea of marriage and protect yourself from the “alphas”.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ysabelle

      I’m so happy with my life. I’m in love with an amazing fiance, we just connect. When you have a partner like that, everything feels so right, something I never felt with the other men and I’ve been dating since I was 16. Materially, he has a lucrative job as a surgeon. I have my own career as a management consultant. I understand there will be trade offs down the line, but we will negotiate the ups and downs. I would never have understood this when I was 21.

      To all those 20 something women who crowd round Susan’s table bemoaning the lack of men..be optimistic. There are STILL women out there getting married. They’re not getting married your age, they’re getting married mid 20s to late 20s when the men are ready. You yourself have to be receptive to the idea of marriage and protect yourself from the “alphas”.

      Thank you so much for sharing this encouragement with young readers. I’m so happy to hear a success story – and I think you give excellent advice.
      I certainly wasn’t ready to marry until my late 20s, but then I didn’t meet the right person till I was 25 (and he didn’t know it till I was 26 :P )

  • Butterfly Flower

    In my circles, if someone were to get divorced I’m sure there will be loads of gossip. In our eyes, success and status is still related to a (1) high flying job and (2) a rich husband and (3) a bunch of smart kids that eventually go to ivy league colleges.

    Now I see where I messed up! I dropped out of a prestigious college, and have no intention of taking advantage of my successful businessman father’s connections. Not only that, I got engaged to a moderately wealthy man. I should have aimed for one of my father’s Elite buddies.

    Goodness gracious, I’ve let down womankind! *rolls eyes*

    Anyway, men in our demographic and socio-economic strata aren’t usually interested in marrying 21 yr olds out of college. I can’t imagine my fiance ( a surgeon) picking off some college girl, he won’t be able to have a conversation with her. They want a trophy wife who can also have a good time with him. Trophy as in good looking, well educated, and fun to be with

    I appreciate you assuming I’m an ugly, poor, uneducated dolt. I’m eloquent enough to hold my own among my father’s contemporaries.

    & just because you weren’t emotionally mature at age 21, it doesn’t all young women are.

    Sorry I forgot, how old are you?

    Nearly 21.

  • Ysabelle

    Butterfly,

    Apologies if you think this was an attack against you. It really isn’t. In fact, its not directed to you at all. In general, its better to marry a little later. But it is up to each person’s pace to decide when they’re ready. Congratulations on your engagement.

  • Anna

    @ Ysabelle
    Isn’t it so that in most colleges in the US you live on a campus close to school? Or is that just Ivy League?
    It’s funny, because from your perspective, that phase through college is not very educational and doesn’t give a broad perspective on life. My mother have always nagged me about it and said I must seek to a campus to move in with other students. I moved out when I was 19 and have been studying abroad (2 different countries) since then. I have always lived alone in my own apartment. I will definitely favour a man who’s been studying abroad and traveled over one who hasn’t when I (hopefully) meet my future husband. I also want him to get those experiences done and not want to “see the world” when he’s 40.
    You have to tackle everyday issues all on your own, I see how many things my mother had to take care of in our own house and doing everything from a broken washing machine to dealing with bills in foreign languages. Sometimes you’ll be lonely, bored, scared or despaired. But that’s just part of it. I definitely consider living in other countries the best education (not just a semester abroad, but really moving out. And NOT with someone you know).
    Sounds as if you have encountered some flaky French men :) The approach to dating is definitely different in Europe to the US, and also different in France to other European countries. Personally I’m used to it and know them so well I know why they are this way. But I think an American girl can sometimes learn to appreciate American guys more once she’s seen what they’re like in the Mediterranean.

  • J

    Ana,

    I resent your assuming that I yell, “Kids get off my lawn!” I’ll have you know that harassing neighborhood kids is my husband’s job. ;-)

    About BF and mean elder ladies…After that she kind of wanted to be pals with me, I guess she though I was on my way to reaching her status and that changed her interaction with me. Thanks but no thanks.

    That’s actually the converse of BF’s experience. You got harassed for being an “independent career gal;” BF’s saying they harass her for being dependent on a guy. My own experience mirrored yours–loads of older women asking, “J, why aren’t you married? J, why don’t you have kids? J, you aren’t getting any younger!” I don’t think that there is a feminist vs non-feminist dimension in this. It’s just that older people like to tell younger people what to do. Even my sons get unsolicited “advice” from older guys. The key to not being on the receiving end of that stuff is to ignore it.

  • J

    @Ramble #269

    You nailed it.

  • lovelost

    @Ceer #302
    For instance, an alpha who gets laid by random sluts every week is likely to come to the conclusion that EVERYONE gets laid every week.

    The alpha who gets laid, consider himself lucky that he gets poon everyday and draws the conclusion how dumb women are these days.

    Do you know Roissy?

  • Lindsay

    Hi folks,

    I’ve been thinking hard about what really gets me down re: dealing with society and various groups of people, and I think it’s pressure, competition, and scarcity. We’re basically animals who can reason. Many of us wake up, put on clothes, and head out in the world to perform an elaborate bartering game – otherwise known as a “career!” – to acquire food, shelter, and other basic necessities. Currently, we are all toiling (or, if we’re a primary child/eldercare provider, or student, or minor, or some other category of human I’m missing, rely on someone who is toiling) for necessities. Any money we or our family-humans earn over and above what pays for those necessities is gravy. We live in one of the wealthiest nations on Earth. And yet…

    When we read the news or turn on the TV, we hear more bad news. Company A is laying off 4,000 more people. City B is hemorrhaging population and jobs, and the crime rate is going up. We hear stories of people who were once like us – who traded labor or skills of some kind for food and shelter – who now live in homeless shelters themselves, or are one foreclosure away from moving in with relatives, or who have to resort to using Porta-Potties to relieve themselves. And it’s scary.

    When we wake up every day, we’re worried (some of us more than others) about being accepted into society because at the root of our fears, society has the power to turn off our ability to trade skills or labor for cash – and therefore, our access to food, shelter, and other basic necessities – like *that.* (Obviously, if you’re dependent on someone else’s wage, the transaction is a bit more complex, but the same general principle applies.) Some decades, like the 90s, have been better than others, like the 70s or this current one, in terms of us feeling secure about the ability to trade skills or labor for necessities. But in the back of everyone’s mind, to a greater or lesser degree, we know there’s a chance our access to that always-mandatory money will be turned off or will end. Whether we’re the greenest 16-year-old stock clerk working our first retail job or a powerful CEO of a Forbes 100 company, that fear is there at some point, even if it’s unconscious. And it’s terrifying.

    That’s the conclusion I came to today when I was thinking about why people fight and argue – Democrats vs. Republicans, rich vs. poor, cityfolk vs. rural folk, men vs. women, Gen X vs. Boomers, and I could go on. In the end, we’re all fighting for the same thing: acceptance into society, and thus, access to necessities. Access to life. And it’s really frightening. Most humans, to a greater or lesser degree, operate by a scarcity mentality, albeit perhaps an unconscious one. We realize there isn’t enough “stuff” in the world to go around – jobs that pay a living wage, good spouses, good friends, whatever. We’re all scared of losing our place, and falling to the bottom of the abyss – that’s at the very heart of the human condition. (Maybe very few people can “afford” not to worry about it – the billionaires of the world, or kings, or politicians, or heirs and heiresses, but they’re in the vast minority, and many of us aspire to be them.)

    And since there’s so many of us, we can’t decide on the best way to prevent the greatest number of people from reaching that abyss. So we compete, and put pressure on ourselves, on each other, and on various segments of society – and we feel that pressure push right back on us. And it sucks. But we do it, because despite millennia of evolution, breakthroughs in science and philosophy and medicine and economics, and all manner of technological gadgets intended to improve our lives, there’s no way for us to get around trading some part of ourselves to survive.

    It’s crazy when you stop to think about it all, isn’t it?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Lindsay

      It’s funny, I’ve been thinking a lot about humans as a species too. If we can survive on this planet (Stephen Hawking says the next 200 years will be critical) then I think we’ve got a lot more evolving to do. I feel like we’re still quite primitive in our drives.

      I think most of us are ruled by a scarcity mentality. Shifting my own thinking about that is a resolution of mine.

  • lovelost

    @Anna #298
    I won’t go cash-hunting, but I expect him to have the same cash reserve as me or better, so we go in on a place together. I’m not going to provide for a man after all.

    So, if your husband/man loses his job, he is out the door?

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    @Lindsay, eloquently stated. I think it is because of knowing this that I try to not hate on other people, and just try to stay out of their way.

  • Butterfly Flower

    In general, its better to marry a little later. But it is up to each person’s pace to decide when they’re ready.

    “A little later” is different from saying men only consider 30 year old women with successful careers mature and interesting. & I think it’s harmful to imply that establishing a career will render a woman mature. There’s a lot of established career women running around behaving like drunk sorority girls.

  • Anna

    @ lovelost
    No, but I would want a guy with a higher education and the type of men I would be interested in are also well-connected. That helps a LOT to stay in the market. Also, the financial environment where I’m from is way different from the US – less than 3% unemployment. And I would want a guy with a useful job – not some media fluff or a salesman.

  • SayWhaat

    Just theorizing, but my best guess is the hipster/emo guys have a very narrow segment of women who have a strong attraction to them, and that these women do NOT find other traditional markers of masculinity attractive (such as highly developed muscularity).

    Hmm, yeah, I can agree with that. I think muscle-y beefy guys are gross.

    I could be overreaching here, but I also suspect women attracted to these men are more masculine and you end up with a more androgynous pair instead of more distant opposites.

    !!!

    Shut up take that back I am not masculine!! >:O

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @SayWhaat

      I could be overreaching here, but I also suspect women attracted to these men are more masculine and you end up with a more androgynous pair instead of more distant opposites.

      !!!

      Shut up take that back I am not masculine!! >:O

      Haha, I didn’t say it because I knew you would :)

      IDK, I think hipster girls are generally pretty feminine. They tend to be waif-like and very emo as well.

      He’s not a hipster, obvs, but Tim Curry as Frank N. Furter in Rocky Horror made many women wet. There’s something about gender-bending that turns some women on.

  • SayWhaat

    @ Charm:

    I’ll admit it. I can’t stand bubbly women. To reference Susans female archetype post, a woman I would consider “bubbly” would consist of the waif, spunky kid, and free-spirit. To me, a bubbly woman is very child-like in need of protection and is ultimately weak or frail.

    Haha, ouch. I get quite bubbly when I’m excited and I think those archetypes you listed are really applicable to me. However, I don’t think I seem child-like “in need of protection” (guys have told me that they didn’t want to date me anymore because they didn’t want to “hurt” me, but I highly doubt that was coming from a desire to protect, lol). And I dunno…I’ve been through a ton of shit growing up, I’d hardly consider myself a weak or frail person.

    So yeah I wouldn’t characterize all bubbly people as weak or frail. :P

  • SayWhaat

    This post makes me think of one of my favorite songs by Kate Nash. That girl just gets my soul.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKAPazO2k_s

    Do Wah Doo

    Everybody thinks that girl’s so fine,
    Everybody’s like “I’ll make her mine!”
    Everyone thinks she’s a bit of all right but I think that she’s not so nice!
    Every guy’s lookin’ in her eyes,
    Every guy’s checkin’ out her thighs
    Everyone thinks that girls a lady – but I don’t.
    I think that girl’s shady.

    Well I’ll just read a book instead.
    I don’t care if we’re just friends.
    I can hang out with myself
    I’m old enough now to pretend.
    Well I’ll just read a book instead.
    I know that you think she’s best
    I don’t even think she cares,
    I don’t know what you see…
    There’s nothing there.

    Bam ba dum Ba dum Ba dum Ba dum (x 11)

    But I think she’s a –.

    Well I’ll just read a book instead.
    I don’t care if we’re just friends.
    I can hang out with myself
    I’m old enough now to pretend.
    Well I’ll just read a book instead.
    And I know that you think she’s best
    Well I don’t even think she cares,
    I don’t know what you see…
    There’s nothing there.

    Bam ba dum Ba dum Ba dum Ba dum (x 11)

    But I think she’s a bitch.

  • lovelost

    @Anna #320
    No, but I would want a guy with a higher education and the type of men I would be interested in are also well-connected.

    I am guessing that you’re quite pretty, i.e. high SMV.

  • Butterfly Flower

    I don’t think that there is a feminist vs non-feminist dimension in this. It’s just that older people like to tell younger people what to do. Even my sons get unsolicited “advice” from older guys. The key to not being on the receiving end of that stuff is to ignore it

    There’s more to it than that. I mean, this whole post is about women sabotaging their female coworkers success. Why do some women intentionally dish out misleading advice? Do they feel threatened by the concept of a protégé?

  • jack

    Perhaps feminism was nothing more than an attempt at a socio-sexual trade union for women. It attempted to unify women by identifying men as the hated “other”, rather than other women, as is the natural tendency.

    Clearly it has failed, since if feminism is a union, nearly all its members have turned out to be scab labor.

  • Sox

    Come now my dear, you must be mistaken- if you read Susan’s opening essay you will discover that all women make nasty bitch-like bosses. You must have dreamt your experiences perhaps?

    Where did Susan say that AWALT, or that no men are like that?

  • Jesus Mahoney

    I could be overreaching here, but I also suspect women attracted to these men are more masculine and you end up with a more androgynous pair instead of more distant opposites.

    I don’t know that I’d consider myself hipster or emo, but I’m certainly closer to that to the meaty-muscled macho type. And I would consider the women I’ve been with to all be very feminine. I’m not at all attracted to masculine women. My current girlfriend is a kindergarten teacher and a yoga instructor/enthusiast and she’s so nurturing and graceful that I just want to have loads of sex with her. Very feminine.

  • SayWhaat

    “My current girlfriend”.

    The way that’s phrased makes it sound like you’ve got one foot out the door. I know that’s not the case, but… :/

  • Jesus Mahoney

    lol. No, I’ve got both feet firmly planted inside the door. I said “current” because in the previous sentence I was talking about the women I’ve been with in general.

  • SayWhaat

    Okay good. :)

  • Butterfly Flower

    @SayWhaat: Thanks for asking that. No offense to Jesus, but I thought he broke up with his girlfriend after the fight he mentioned on the previous thread, and then immediately found himself another girl.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    but I’m certainly closer to that to the meaty-muscled macho type

    That made no sense. I meant, “but I’m certainly closer to that [the hipster/emo type] THAN to the meaty-muscled macho type. Just in case that wasn’t clear.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    And no offense taken, Butterfly Flower. But I don’t think I could swap girlfriends that quickly.

  • J

    @BF

    There’s more to it than that. I mean, this whole post is about women sabotaging their female coworkers success. Why do some women intentionally dish out misleading advice? Do they feel threatened by the concept of a protégé?

    In a business or other competitive setting, people undercut each other for personal gain ot to remove threats to their authority or position. But, in your circumstance, I really think that the older women who have advised you to put off marriage are giving you what they believe to be good advice–based on their own experiences, their own disappointments, and their own values. If you don’t feel the advice works for you, nod your head, smile pleasantly and ignore it. If it’s not relevant to your situation, then it should go in one ear and out the other. Remember that a distinct pleasure of being older and accumulating life experience is sharing it–whether the people you are sharing it like it or not. That is probably what is motivating these older women rather than a desire to undercut you personally.

  • Butterfly Flower

    @J:

    Oh, no. I meant that in the context of business. I don’t think people would personally try to sabotage my relationship. My life isn’t a Soap Opera, fortunately.

    I’ve just noticed that when men advise me, their intentions seem more genuine. For example, I always felt like my male professors were more enthusiastic about teaching their students, than my female professors.

  • J

    I think it depends on the prof. I’ve know some bitches. But I’ve had a couple of female profs take me under their wings, while a couple of male ones try to get into my pants…though I’m sure they were genuine about that. ;-) I also had a male boss who was a wonderful mentor to me for years (and then went and fell in love with me–but genuinely, of course.)

    It’s complicated. I do think that men can be very interested us, but there is almost always a sexual/romantic dimension that exists and motivates some factors that won’t operate in your relationships with women.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    I resent your assuming that I yell, “Kids get off my lawn!” I’ll have you know that harassing neighborhood kids is my husband’s job.

    Heh that is going to be my husband’s job when he gets old. I’m going to be the sweet old lady baking cookies for the neigbors kids while he will be yelling at them like like George and Martha in Denis the menace comics :D

    I don’t think that there is a feminist vs non-feminist dimension in this. It’s just that older people like to tell younger people what to do. Even my sons get unsolicited “advice” from older guys. The key to not being on the receiving end of that stuff is to ignore it.
    I actually think there is, in my country marry young and have children young gives status, in here is the other way around older people push to conform, older women push the status, YMMV.

    @Ysabelle
    My husband never had been into a frat house, he never got allong with fratguys I’m sure he didn’t needed that experience. Unlike you if I had meet my husband at 17 I would had been ready to be his wife, if he wanted me to. I had changed a little since that age mostly learned to look more attractive, but the rest was already in. The truth is that some people mature before than others and assuming that age = maturity has been a huge mistake for many other people. So if BF think she is ready our job as society is support her after all marriage age is legal since 18, so we obviously think that some people are ready before they reach 20, or else it would be illegal.

    I think most of us are ruled by a scarcity mentality. Shifting my own thinking about that is a resolution of mine.

    I actually think is a duality of abundance/scarcity, depending on many variants, as usual a theme for a future post for my blog. ;)

  • J

    older people push to conform, older women push the status, YMMV.

    That’s an interesting observation because I do think that conformity and attainment of status is what underlies both positions. At heart, it’s well meaning. They want you to be a success, and they think that’s how you do it.

  • J

    Unlike you if I had meet my husband at 17 I would had been ready to be his wife, if he wanted me to

    I wasn’t ready to wipe my own butt at 17. (My folks were helicopter parents before the term was invented.) I’d have been such a burden, not a partner.

  • Owen

    I’ve seen a lot of the scenarios that you have presented in the places where I have worked. The problem is that such events happen in almost any field.

    I wonder how can this problem be solved?

  • http://markymarksthoughts.blogspot.com/ MarkyMark

    Women don’t team up unless it’s to go AGAINST MEN in some way. The only thing women hate more than each other is men…

  • Catherine

    Butterfly,
    I have no way of knowing what is going on with these harridans you apparently meet on a regular basis. I am just curious because your description is so over the top and doesn’t make much sense. Something is off here but I can’t tell the specifics obviously since I don’t know you and I don’t know the particulars of your interactions with these women.

    You have added the detail that you have dropped out of college. That detail adds credence to my theory that these women are criticizing your choices because they are concerned for your well being. This may be particularly likely if you are in fact presenting yourself as a bubbly, ditzy personality ( your words), a wide eyed innocent. Besides as the commenter at 313 said, older people weigh in and tell younger people what to do all the time. This is not a gendered behavior, nor does it conform to a particular ideology.

  • Catherine

    I found the first few comments to the post ironic. I too have certainly met girls and women who have insisted that they other girls and women are terrible and they would MUCH rather hang out with the guys, who are more straightforward, sensible and fun allegedly. But surely Susan’s post is in fact an example of this very phenomenon? An insistence that women as coworkers and bosses are something of a nightmare compared to men? Aren’t Susan and the women who support this post not engaging in the exact behavior mocked in the first few comments of loudly proclaiming their preference for men?

    While I adamantly disagree, I understand where they are coming from. As women, we all have to come to terms growing up in a society in which we are steeped from birth in views of extremely negative views of women as irrational, vicious, overly emotional, petty, incompetent and generally inferior to men in every possible way. We all have to have some cognitive strategy for dealing with these messages while preserving some sense of self worth. I think basically there are three ways to do it:

    1) You can accept your own abject inferiority and spend your life doing obeisance to men. Such women often belong to or join very conservative religious groups and view their role to be a submissive wife. They preserve their ego in the midst of all this by believing themselves to be the “good” or “godly” women, not like those “bad” women who compete with men or insist on autonomy and equality.

    2). You can accept the predominant cultural message of women’s horrid ness but preserve your own ego by casting yourself as a special or exceptional woman. Such women, who are a dime a dozen by the way, are often the loudest to proclaim how incompetent or terrible women are generally. In doing so, they hope men will recognize them as exceptional women, clear eyed and rational, brave enough to face hard truths about heir own sex that other women rationalize away. Susan and many of her female commenters fall into this category. This post is an example of the phenomenon I am. As a teenager and a young woman, I almost went down this road myself.

    3) Or you can look around and realize that, while you yourself are more competent and rational than the stereotype of your sex would suggest, you really aren’t better than the other women around you. You then realize that a lot of popular ideas about the nature of women are pure bullshit. With the availability of equal educational opportunities, we are just as capable , and rational, as the men. You view yourself and others as individuals . You rid yourself of confirmation bias whereby you say in response to a terrible female boss, “wow, women are terrible bosses” and in response to a terrible male boss, “Wow, Harry is a terrible boss.”

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Catherine

      Aren’t Susan and the women who support this post not engaging in the exact behavior mocked in the first few comments of loudly proclaiming their preference for men?

      I’m warning women about a very particular type of dynamic often found with ambitious, driven women. It’s analogous to my warning women about how to deal with a narcissist in a relationship, or how to avoid one while dating. Difficult women in the workplace can’t easily be avoided, as their Machiavellianism is often what catapults them to success in the first place, and a young professional of either sex is likely to find themselves working for one.

      As women, we all have to come to terms growing up in a society in which we are steeped from birth in views of extremely negative views of women as irrational, vicious, overly emotional, petty, incompetent and generally inferior to men in every possible way.

      I disagree completely. From birth we experience women directly, first at the breast, then with family, then girls in the larger community. We learn how to compete intrasexually for influence, friends, opportunities in school, etc. We compete in a very different style than males do, and this is well documented in the literature. Our conflicts are more covert, and we’re much more likely to use social sanctions, or shaming, than men are. Surely you’re aware of all the books exploring and documenting meanness among adolescent girls – the queen bee phenomenon that has been referenced here.

      In addition, the schools have been actively promoting female supremacy since at least 1990. The work of Carol Gilligan and others like her ushered in a set of standards for learning and behavior that reward typically female styles and penalize male ways of relating and learning. The thoroughly misguided “self-esteem” movement, with trophies for every participant, effectively shamed males by making competition unacceptable. During the 90s many “gifted and talented” programs disappeared, tracking became a bad word, and Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory was used to downplay cognitive ability. This hurt males more than females.

      This has dramatically increased the number of female narcissists, which has grown from 25% of the narcissist population, to 50%, and increasing (Twenge).

      It’s ludicrous to dismiss the concrete examples in the post. I sat in a room of Wharton MBAs, including one incredibly bitchy and unpleasant woman, and half a dozen women who have experienced this kind of female tyranny in the workplace. All of them were successful, none had sour grapes, and all were disappointed with their female professional relationships.

      Rezvani wrote the article because she is deluged with questions from women about other women thwarting their success.

      On what basis do you dismiss this real data? Are you claiming that women are lying because they’ve been socially conditioned to do so?

  • Catherine

    Re Susan at 327 on situational alphas.

    You say that alpha women who are tough, aggressive and no nonsense at work have a hard time when they have to switch gears to go on a date and go home to a family.

    Personally, I don’t think it is a good idea for a professional of either sex to have a constantly or even mostly tough, aggressive and no nonsense persona at work. There is plenty of room for warmth and humor in any professional job. Relationships matter in the professional world too so it is actually a good idea to act like a human being at work whether you are a man or a woman. A constantly aggressive persona is likely to alienate people both at work and at home whether you are a man or a woman. Personally, I have never felt the need to shift my persona when I am at home.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Catherine

      Personally, I don’t think it is a good idea for a professional of either sex to have a constantly or even mostly tough, aggressive and no nonsense persona at work. There is plenty of room for warmth and humor in any professional job. Relationships matter in the professional world too so it is actually a good idea to act like a human being at work whether you are a man or a woman. A constantly aggressive persona is likely to alienate people both at work and at home whether you are a man or a woman.

      I agree, and I believe that the most successful men and women are more likely to exhibit these traits. What makes these women more unpleasant than men with these behaviors is the indirect nature of the way we compete and communicate. In my experience, women are much more likely to display jealousy toward other women, feel threatened by other women, “campaign” against other women, and hold grudges. I have found this to be true in every gig I’ve had since 1978. I know that many other women feel the same way, but we’re ashamed to speak out about it. We don’t want to criticize our own sex, and we worry about what this says about feminism.

      Rezvani deserves credit for bringing this out into the light of day, and I hope women will become more open about their experiences. Only when we stop rewarding this kind of behavior will we see it erode. It never will completely – a woman who’s contributing significantly to the bottom line will be rewarded professionally no matter how difficult she is, just as a man will.

  • OffTheCuff

    349 is boilerplate feminism. Have you read any of the rest of this site? Women are steeped in inferiority in relation to men? Yes, they feel inferior to the tiny fraction of a tiny slice men (apex fallacy) while the rest of the men don’t exist in their eyes.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Catherine…”Personally, I don’t think it is a good idea for a professional of either sex to have a constantly or even mostly tough, aggressive and no nonsense persona at work.”

    This is correct as far as it goes; there is no need for anyone, whatever his/her level, to act like a robot or a order-barking tyrant. Still, anyone in a position of authority needs to carry themselves with that authority, but also needs to realize that that same authority is not applicable outside the work environment.

    Tom Watson Jr, longtime head of IBM and one of the greatest executives of the 20th century, said in his excellent autobiography that he had done harm to his relationship with his wife and children by not always making this switch.

  • Catherine

    David Foster, I agree! But carrying yourself with authority’s doesn’t necessarily correlate with the adjectives Susan was using, and it needn’t be a Jekyll and Hyde shift in personalities between work and harm. After all, we all shift our behaviors to some degree depending on context.

  • Catherine

    Susan,

    This is all just outside my experience. I have certainly experienced negative behaviors in the schoolyard and the workplace, but they have seemed particularly gendered, except that boys were more likely to get physical. I can’t help but note that Machiavelli was a man who wrote about politics among men. Boys may be more physical when they are younger but they learn more subtlety once they get to the workplace.

    I think that when hostility is expressed among women, it does tend to be covert, whereas men use both covert and overt techniques. Covert techniques are favored by those who are socially weaker. If you don’t think that people are going to back you up if you confront issues and people head on, then you are more likely to get what you want by backstabbing and passive aggressive behavior. Women are more likely to lack social back up when they become confrontational, but plenty of men are in the same boat too. That’s why I have trouble seeing this as a gendered behavior. I see too much petty squabbling and baCk biting among the men I work with every day. Perhaps it is only a select group of men who have traditionally had the social respect necessary to rise above the fray, but with feminist changes in society, I think you aRe more likely to see women who aRe able to act more directly.

    Gotta run to work now.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Catherine

      I think what you’re missing is the importance of competition. The post is not really about how people deal with hostility. It’s about women thwarting other women’s success, to use Rezvani’s term. It’s a lack of support and bonding between senior and junior women, apparently born of a perceived threat, or perhaps a belief that women should pay their dues. The reasons are not entirely clear, but the behavior is.

  • Catherine

    Oh, I see where your emphasis is now. I have heard of the problem of women who are fighting each other for what they perceive as the woman’s slot, but my sense has always been that this problem has largely dissipated now that women are no longer just tokens in most fields.. Certainly, in law, this does not seem to be an issue. If anything, older women have gone out of their way to help me and other young women (though I don’t particularly approve of that kind of sex favoritism).

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      my sense has always been that this problem has largely dissipated now that women are no longer just tokens in most fields..

      I’d always assumed this to be the case too, as women have made professional inroads. It was the WashPo article and my recent task force experience that made me realize that if anything, the problem has grown as the number of female senior execs has grown.

      It is possible that this is not prevalent in law, I don’t know. My experience, and Rezvani’s audiences, are in the MBA realm.

  • Ted D

    ““A little later” is different from saying men only consider 30 year old women with successful careers mature and interesting. & I think it’s harmful to imply that establishing a career will render a woman mature. There’s a lot of established career women running around behaving like drunk sorority girls.”

    Yep. And as has been stated before, men usually don’t care in the least about a woman’s career. So, a great career does not = mature, and does not = sexually attractive to men.

    So ladies, if you aren’t working yourself sick for your OWN satisfaction, then stop putting in so much effort at work and branch out into life a little.

  • Ysabelle

    A few points:

    @ Anaconda: People like your husbands are outliers. I think back to college, everyone from the frats to the pretentious literary club I was in that drank wine at midnight under candlelight to the business clubs. Sure we were smart kids..but really none of us were probably ready to get married. They were very young adults. so IN GENERAL most people right out of college aren’t ready to get married. Same when I visited other colleges. Let’s keep the mature working ones out of the equation. There’s a reason why college is portrayed as a drunken crowd in the movie stereotypes, not a bastion of hardworking citizens. Yeah..drinking jungle juice in a frat and then hooking up with soriority girls really lead for great husbands, especially when they have absolutely no idea what they will do in the world yet.

    @butterfly: I don’t think you need a successful career to be married. I don’t even think you have to be 30. That was not what I was saying. What I meant to say is most people think very differently when they are a few years out. Give yourself some time before rushing into things. However, as before, if you know what you want and you’re certain of yourself, then marry.

    @ the guy who said men don’t care about successful careers: Nope they don’t you are right. However, they care about the “breeding” of their wife, whether they will make good mothers and instruct little Johnny properly. Quite different, the women you f**k and the women they marry. Usually that comes with at least some kind of education. Check out the New York Times weddings section and look at the occupation of their brides. They may not be CEOs, but they usually come from what is considered a “good” background. Most of my male friends I know who were considered eligible bachelors did not marry panhandlers off the street. Like marries like.

    @ Susan: I agree with what Catherine said. Women aren’t tokens in the office anymore. Competitiveness is experienced by both men and women. When you worked in an office setting, it was maybe 18 years ago? (I conjecture that because you stopped working when you had kids and now they’re done or overdone with college). I read the sexual harassment stuff you wrote about and thought, wow..in these days they’ll be dragged up for HR to rebuke. We actually have sexual harassment training when you come in through the door. I think the dynamic has changed a little in large office environments. With the resources available for women, I’ve had the pleasure to work in many women networks. As before and as Catherine has experienced, I’ve had the joy of having many female mentors. Its better to say, this lady in particular is a bad boss than “all women” are bad bosses. And I’ve definitely seen guys act in catty ways gossiping about guys. Its not gender related.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ysabelle

      Pls. see my remark to Catherine about the Rezvani article – I’m not just making this stuff up, lol.

      With the resources available for women, I’ve had the pleasure to work in many women networks.

      Ah, networking is completely different. I too have enjoyed them. In fact, I’m very active in a Women’s Group of Harvard MBAs, and they’re all delightful, we’re very close. In fact, we’re about to go off on a yoga retreat together. :)

      Do I think they’re different in the office? Oh yeah. I know they are, I hear their work stories. Several of them are total ball busters, but they’re even bigger ovary busters. :P

  • Ramble

    Check out the New York Times weddings section and look at the occupation of their brides. They may not be CEOs, but they usually come from what is considered a “good” background. Most of my male friends I know who were considered eligible bachelors did not marry panhandlers off the street. Like marries like.

    Her education does not matter, but proximity does.

    The NYT wedding section is an outlier. What happens in that section of that paper in New York has little reflection on what is happening in York, Pennsylvania.

    Her education (with a few exceptions, like Nursing) will have little impact on what kind of wife and mother she is going to be. However, if she is interested in bagging a Yale grad, well, it does not hurt to go to Yale.

    It’s true that most of the men on the Fortune 500 marry women who worked high up in similar fields, but
    1.) Again, proximity is huge, and
    2.) IME experience, most girls are not that interested in Fortune 500 types. Their money, Yes, but not necessarily the guys.

    And mentioning that the college educated bachelors did not marry panhandlers is a false dichotomy.

    Had those guys been surrounded by beautiful girls that were sweet, loyal and caring, but did not get a complete 4 year college education,do you think they would have cared all that much? (Let’s say that college was not available to these girls for financial reasons.)

  • Ysabelle

    yeah they do. They don’t care what you do with your background, but they care bout your background. Maybe the guys you hang round with don’t. But the guys I hang round with do.

    E.g. I know a guy who is in the south, forced there for his career for awhile. Very good looking, very well educated. Only available women there are single mothers he says..I’m sure they’re really nice and sweet all. Doing a variety of jobs. He has sex with them, but he’s waiting to go back to a cosmopolitan city to find a (beautiful well educated girl) to have a wife..and his standards are pretty high. At least that what he tells my fiance. All those women he’s dating are being strung along pretty much.

    My own fiance’s ex was unemployed, but he was impressed that she was from Harvard. He takes pride in me from being from a good school. He wants me to be a good mother and not be some kind of career women that never sees her kids, but he brags about me. Same with our neighbors..MBA dating the woman in finance with a very privileged background. You should see him bragging about her upscale childhood and the amazing things she has done from high school till now.

    Thing is, these guys don’t need you to have a great high flying career s a CEO. You can be a teacher, a pharmaceutical rep, a social worker in a non-profit. BUT you have to show class and good breeding. One of my relatives who is a doctor dated his wife who is a SAHM. However, she had musical training..and the same religious background as him. Now adays, that’s what the younger men go for. You need someone with the social graces to flatter your boss and your boss’ wife..and to mingle at the christmas parties where you’re harshly judged on your spouse. I’m trying very hard to think of a couple I know where they were mismatched, and I can only think of one couple. A finance guy dating an admin assistant.

    That’s just what I see when I go to weddings and my circle of friends. For those 20 something women with Susan again, when you hit 25-26, you’ll start going to ALOT of weddings,
    Past weddings: Management consultant to professor
    Doctor to Doctor
    Non-profit worker to Hedge fund manager
    Finance girl to Finance guy
    Management at a high fashion company (and an heiress)
    to private equity
    Another heiress to a finance guy
    International aid consultant to hedge fund manager
    PhD student in international affairs to Businessman

    This is only if you want to marry a well educated (not necessarily Fortune 500) bachelor (doctor, lawyer, banker..you know the type your mom goes into joy over if you bring him home). Last time I checked, they were the most eligable bachelors around.

    I think the sweet loyal strikingly girl without 4 years of education still stands a chance. She just needs to stand out in some other way. (being a 10 in looks, or some kind of special loving skill). Other than that, IN GENERAL, as always, like marries like.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    For a lot of men, the wife’s socioeconomic background is important. My husband would likely not have married a girl who didn’t have a 4-year degree, not because of the degree itself, but because of what it implies about the girl’s “class” as well as earning potential. I had a “soft” degree but work in the tech field and have desirable skills.

    He was starting graduate school when we met (25), and I had a good career and could help support us, provide us with healthcare, and not have to worry about money. I also had saved up a nest egg from a few years of working (21 until 25), and while he was in grad school we continued to save. So as soon as he graduated and found a job, we were able to afford down payment on a house and be seriously ready for having kids.

    He could have waited until he was in his late-20s to be “established” and working, then find a younger girl around 20 or so who will be a stay-at-home mom. But that is a much riskier proposition for the man with respect to divorce/alimony (even at the 20% rate for educated couples), and a lot of men no longer want to do this nowadays. My husband wanted to know that I was capable of taking care of myself and be able to contribute to family finances, especially in this rough economy and uncertain world.

    If a man only wants the youngest, hottest and most fertile woman and doesn’t care about anything else, he can have at them. I don’t care what other people do, but I think my ability to bring in a significant chunk of income for us does have value, at least to the man I love.

  • Ted D

    “Now adays, that’s what the younger men go for. You need someone with the social graces to flatter your boss and your boss’ wife..and to mingle at the christmas parties where you’re harshly judged on your spouse.”

    All I can say here is, I’m VERY glad I come from just above poor white trash. I have enough problems in life without having to worry about an SO to “flatter my boss and his wife”. And what the hell kind of “harshly judging” on a person’s spouse goes on?!

    Good Lord I really, truly, utterly HATE office politic bullshit.

    Ya know what? Anyone that doesn’t like my wife’s lack of degree, class, or social standing can kiss my ass. I have NO interest in even interacting with people like this, which is probably why I’m not climbing the managerial ladder in my “career” very well. I won’t kiss ass. I wont adjust how I “appear” (at least not to get ahead. I have a whole “professional persona” going on, but that is to protect me and my co-workers, LOL)

    I’m not trying to be critical of anyone, but I feel bad for people in social circles like this. I have NEVER based my opinion of someone on where they went to school, what they do to make money, or how important/educated/beautiful-handsome someone’s spouse is. This is exactly the kind of behavior I consider shallow. A degree doesn’t make you a good person. It proves you can memorize and recite info, and either got great grades for scholarships, are in debt up to your eyeballs, or that you come from money. None of those things makes a good marriage partner.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Ted,
    With all due respect, you say this:

    I have NEVER based my opinion of someone on where they went to school, what they do to make money, or how important/educated/beautiful-handsome someone’s spouse is.

    and then this:

    A degree doesn’t make you a good person. It proves you can memorize and recite info, and either got great grades for scholarships, are in debt up to your eyeballs, or that you come from money. None of those things makes a good marriage partner.

    It’s a little frustrating to me only because I do think this is what I’m up against with my BF’s family these days. They share some of your opinions about degrees and their potential pitfalls (debt, etc.), and as a result they haven’t been very helpful in cosigning my BF’s loans. Now he’s in tons of debt AND he can’t finish school because they won’t help him, and it pisses me off. I suspect they’re trying to make a point about him going into debt, but all it’s doing is forcing him to work 2 really shitty service jobs and keeping him from finishing his degree (and he has 1 freaking semester left). The whole situation is crappy, and it’s keeping him from starting the kind of life he could already have. He belongs in college, he’s one of the smartest people I know, but he can’t get into a field where he belongs unless he gets the degree.

    The economy is changing, and I think we need to recognize that in the United States, as a young person, you either work a service job, or you go to college and get a degree. Or be Bill Gates/Mark Zuckerberg (but let’s be honest, people like them aren’t exactly a dime a dozen). And unfortunately, if you go to college, you rack up debt. Welcome to reality. I don’t like it either, but if I want to get anywhere, I have to play the game.

    By the way, my BF’s mom works the rare factory job, and she’s about to get laid off (she just told me this herself). The vast majority of the well-paying jobs for which you don’t need a degree are being outsourced.

    (Sorry for the rant. I’m just really annoyed at my BF’s family’s attitude about degrees at the moment.)

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    My husband and I hung out with the “rich” folks when we were growing up, since we both had private schooling, but we don’t aspire to be of their social circle. Certainly we have had opportunities, but it’s not our thing.

    We both value financial stability. Both of our mothers worked full-time, were very frugal, bought second-hand goods and are now able to retire comfortably. They were also both very intelligent, hard-working and capable, and those values do transfer to the next generation.

    My husband values my visual, coding and technical skills, and it’s also nice that we have money left over for savings and charity giving. He didn’t want a girl who wasn’t at least nearly as capable as him, intellectually and otherwise. We’re not extremely ambitious nor do we care for high social status, but my work ethic prior to marriage did help us get to where we are. Money and finances are a huge source of stress for many couples, and we do not need to worry about it nearly as much.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Hope,
    Your money situation is exactly what I aspire to. I have no desire to be wealthy, but I want to live comfortably. I don’t want to live from paycheck to paycheck, constantly worried about being laid off or whether or not I can get welfare benefits.

    That is how my BF’s mom has always lived, and no hard feelings towards her, but I really think it’s because she didn’t value education. She worked as a service manager from the time she was a teenager, had three kids and 2 divorces (so she spent tons of money on legal fees), and she’s never made much money at all. The other day she was going on and on about how she doesn’t think degrees are necessary, and I really think she’s seriously misinformed. She finally went to get an associate’s degree when her children were young, which gets her tech jobs in factories, but she’s been laid off twice and she’s about to get laid off again.

    She’s frugal and smart about the money she does have, but I don’t think she’s made the kind of investments that would help her get ahead. And now she’s trying to run her son’s life by telling him he should make the same kinds of decisions she has. Luckily he’s stepping out, and he actually shares my opinions about how money should be handled (which is good for us), but it’s a constant fight against his mom and her family’s attitude (there are some aunts who drive me bonkers).

  • Jackie

    @In regards to “class” and “breeding”

    Maybe I was raised incredibly old school, but I learned that “class” was so much bigger than where you went to school or how high on the social ladder you go.

    In fact, I would almost say the opposite. Don’t people believe in noblesse oblige anymore? :(

    We have the moral obligation to treat *everyone* with honor, kindliness and generosity. A truly great lady will treat the cleaning lady with the same dignity that she has for royalty. She makes *everyone* feel included, valued and worthy. A very great lady will elevate the discourse around here by her presence; her focus is on bringing out the best in people, regardless of income, age or station in life.

    It is about recognizing value as a member of the human race. Not the ostentation of nouveau riche. Those kind can only see the glister and not the gold. We can be so much better than that!

    **Daughter of a charm school graduate, sister of a Rhodes Scholar

  • Ted D

    Hope – “It’s a little frustrating to me only because I do think this is what I’m up against with my BF’s family these days. ”

    Sorry to frustrate you, again. :P

    I’m going to be completely honest here, and sorry for the off topic once again Susan.

    I am VERY unsure of how I want to steer my children at this point. I have a 17YO daughter that is seriously considering nursing, which I think would be a good idea for her. My 12YO son at the moment is very interested in geology, and as a science I am happy to see it. In addition my SO has a 13YO son and an 11YO daughter.

    I’m truly considering pushing the boys towards trade work. I know, it goes against every single thing I was told growing up about how it is so much better to get a degree and work in an office. But, as someone who has been in IT since ’94, I’ve come to realize that office work is just not reliable enough. With computers and technology, most office jobs can be done from anywhere in the world, and the IT industry has proven with outsourcing that there are millions of people in the world that can do exactly what I do for WAY cheaper than I can afford to live.

    So, things that my family pushed me away from like plumbing, carpentry, electrical, HVAC, are all looking pretty good. Why? Well, you can’t outsource plumbing to India for $2 a day. You can’t build an office building from China, and you can’t wire that building from Taiwan. And, schooling for these types of jobs is WAY, WAY cheaper than a four year degree, with a much better prospect for finding work.

    I hate that this is where I am, but it is what it is. I highly value intellect, but to be frank it just doesn’t pay to be smart in the U.S. right now. What pays is to know a trade that can’t be outsourced. So although my son likes geology, I dread the idea of him actually wanting to get a degree in it. If he doesn’t get a job with an oil company, or a government job, I believe he will spend most of his life trying to make a living and paying off the huge debt he incurred in school.

    And yes, I intend to help all I can. But I don’t have the kind of money it would take to completely finance that kind of degree. I intend to help the same way my family did for me, by providing a place to live and food to eat. I’ll also do my best to contribute to their education when possible, but I’m telling them now (and have been for years) that they need to think about what they want to do, and how they are going to do it, because they won’t be riding the gravy train through college.

    So construction type trades = good
    College degree type “careers” = questionable at best.

  • OffTheCuff

    Olive, if you wanna learn to spend properly, check out Dave Ramsey’s FPU. Not just his show, the actual 12 week class. Best $100 I’ve spent in a long time, and I learned a lot, despite having a decent net worth and little debt (1 house) for most of my life.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    @Olive, sorry to hear about those issues. As I said to before I had some of those same issues with an ex, although not quite the same, because the ex didn’t have a degree nor did he want one. It is possible to get well-paying jobs without a college degree if you have technical skills and smarts. But the college degree is almost “taken for granted” nowadays for many jobs, and it takes an exceptional candidate with a lot of proven experience and professional certifications (Microsoft, programming, etc.) to overcome the degree difference.

    I do hope your boyfriend gets the degree. The early to mid 20s is a very important time for early career development, and he should try as much as he can to work/intern/gain experience at his chosen field instead of minimum wage or service industry jobs. It may be helpful for him to talk to his mother as an adult and establish his credentials, show her the research/articles, and talk about the pros and cons of the different paths. She’s probably scared of losing her son to a girl, and tensions between the mother-in-law and the wife are stereotypical. It takes a self-aware person to rise above that, and maybe some awareness ought to be taught here.

  • Ramble

    E.g. I know a guy who is in the south, forced there for his career for awhile. Very good looking, very well educated. Only available women there are single mothers he says..I’m sure they’re really nice and sweet all.

    Again, this is apples and oranges. My example did not involve single mothers. It is completely understandable why someone would avoid that.

    Also, just from reading your examples, you are obviously hanging around with the Yale-or-Jail crowd.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    Maybe I was raised incredibly old school, but I learned that “class” was so much bigger than where you went to school or how high on the social ladder you go.

    Cosign that. Class is in the way people behave more than the school they went to or the degree. Old school class rules! :)

  • Ted D

    “It is possible to get well-paying jobs without a college degree if you have technical skills and smarts. But the college degree is almost “taken for granted” nowadays for many jobs, and it takes an exceptional candidate with a lot of proven experience and professional certifications (Microsoft, programming, etc.) to overcome the degree difference.”

    And this actually adds fuel to my point. Everyone has a college degree now, and they are about as useful as a High School diploma was when I graduated in ’88.

    And I fully maintain that it is EASY to get a decent job without a degree, if you know a trade, build a reputation for good work, and put in the time. And the best part? You don’t end up thousands in debt working for the next decade + to pay back your loans. Plus, those types of trades will work anywhere. If the economy truly tanks here, other countries will need someone to build, wire, heat and cool buildings.

    I wish I knew people in this line of work now, so I could pick their brains and possibly in a few years, send the boys to for some part-time summer work.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    @Ted D, I know where you’re coming from, and by the way I think you meant to respond to Olive, who’s frustrated.

    The problems with construction, plumbing, electrical and other field work are as follows:

    1) Poorer working conditions. My father-in-law works for a large corporation, and he does repair work on medical electronics for hospitals. It is very specialized and technical work, but he has to work with his hands a lot, and it is also very physically demanding. He is getting older and arthritic, and he feels pressure from the company to replace him. If he were a manager type, he would be more valued with age, not less.

    2) Lack of benefits. It is one thing if you can manage to work for an employer that can provide health care, paid time off, holidays and retirement benefits. It is a different matter if you have to freelance or do contract work. My female coworker’s husband has these issues, and she is the sole source of benefits for her family. If America had an European-style healthcare system, then that would be different. But it’s simply politically impossible.

    3) Future replacement and pay. Yes, at this time, these jobs can be somewhat well-paying especially for entry-level, but future growth is often limited. What happened to construction (large influx of cheap manual labor) can easily happen to field electrical or repair work. The construction guy has had a very hard time in the economic downturn due to the burst of housing bubble. The pay may also go down as they are not considered “skilled” labor, although I agree with you that they require a lot of skill and hard work. But the perception becomes reality. My father-in-law does not receive the same kind of compensation as a high-ranking manager, no matter his skills.

    Because of these, I would be very hesitant to tell young people to bank on skilled trade and labor.

  • Jackie

    *high fives Anacaona Cullen*
    :D

  • Jackie

    @Ted
    Hey Ted!

    I just wrote you a long comment– then it got eaten somehow. :( Just wanted to say that I think it is *fantastic* that your daughter is interested in nursing!

    I had a friend who did really well as a nurse. He (yep, he was a guy nurse and he as GREAT at his profession) was compensated really well for his kind of nursing, which as ER and trauma-based, I believe.

    He picked shifts and contracts that increased his overtime and started a side business with his skills. It was in-home nursing stuff, mostly for elderly people. So your daughter will definitely have a lot of options if she chooses that path!

    As for your younger child, there is still lots of time before he has to make a big decision. Is there anything he likes to do– hands-on stuff– during summers? I knew a guy who does very, VERY well as an auto mechanic. Really loves his work and is psyched to get up each morning.

    Good luck! It’s awesome that you are a concerned dad. :)

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    Going to college is not a bad deal if it’s cheap. Between public universities, financial aid, work-study programs, working part-time during college years, and being financially savvy, my husband and I have zero schooling debt. I understand that it’s a bad idea to go into 5, 6-figure debt for a degree. My debt was 4-figures, and I paid it off before I met my husband at 25. I have same-age peers who are still deep in student loans, which is unfortunate.

    In many parts of the country, tech workers are hard to find, and there are recruiters knocking all the time for programming positions (I get offers from lots of different states, IL, MN, CA, etc.). Many companies (including ones I’ve worked for) know the true cost of outsourcing tech work, which includes language issues as well as quality issues. They often do it because they have no choice.

  • Ted D

    Hope – sweet I didn’t frustrate you twice!

    OK now on to your points.

    1. Yep, I realize that this kind of work is physically demanding. So? I got lazy and complacent working in an office environment for several decades, and am now working hard to get back in shape. If they never stop working hard, they will never have to get “back” into shape. Hard work is good for the soul my grandfather used to say…

    2. This is a biggie, but we’ll see how things pan out. If Obamacare kicks in and stays, they may be able to get coverage for cheap or on the Governments dime. I hate the idea of the fed providing for the people like that, but if it comes out of my tax dollars, it would be great if my children benefited a little. If not? Either find an employer with coverage, or roll your own. I would think that after putting in the time to learn the trade, they would be smart to start their own business, make more, and be able to afford care however they see fit.

    3. Well, the idea is not for them to do the actual work their entire lives. Again, I would hope they would either start their own business, or work up to being either the manager or primary contractor, which means less hard work and more money. And like I said before, if the U.S. economy really tanks that badly, you pretty much build the same everywhere in the world. And as I understand it, the building business is booming in some of the up and coming 3rd world countries.

    I’m not suggesting they should build houses their entire lives. I’m suggesting they find a career that doesn’t involve a 5 to 6 digit education investment, and then find ways to progress from there. And, in general, I think they would live much less stressful lives. That kind of work may be highly skilled, but it isn’t nearly as stressful as many office type careers. Other than meeting deadlines and keeping costs down, you show up, do what you do, get paid, and leave.

    I’m still not convinced there is a future in a college degree. Like you said, this is becoming a service economy, and construction type jobs fall into service category.

    Bottom line: if you don’t have to physically be there to do the job, don’t count on it being there forever.

  • Ted D

    Jackie – “I just wrote you a long comment– then it got eaten somehow. Just wanted to say that I think it is *fantastic* that your daughter is interested in nursing!”

    In Pittsburgh medical is HUGE, since we are home to UPMC. They have programs here for nursing that allow you to get your certification FREE, if you agree to sign on and work for them for only two years! Two years and she can walk away as an RN!!!!. The catch is for those 2 years, you basically work to pay off the education.

    I am SO hoping she goes for this. We can support her from home for that long easily, and if she needs some extra spending $ she can get something part time on the side.

    And I know the rest of our children have a way to go. I’m not worried over this yet, but I’ve been giving it thought since the first time I was ‘displaced’ because my IT job was outsourced. I was lucky/skilled enough to keep a job with each transition, but I watched many, many fine people walking out the door never to be seen again.

  • Ted D

    Hope – “Going to college is not a bad deal if it’s cheap. Between public universities, financial aid, work-study programs, working part-time during college years, and being financially savvy, my husband and I have zero schooling debt.”

    But here is the problem. With so many people having college degrees, getting one from a public school is almost pointless. If you are competing with candidates from “named” schools and you have a degree from community college, who do you think is more likely to get the job? (all other qualifications being equal.) Yep, the guy with a fancy name on his expensive piece of paper.

  • Jackie

    @Olive

    I just read about what your BF is going through. So sorry to hear it’s been difficult. :( But he will feel SO much better when he finishes that degree!

    Maybe (and this is just speculation) people like your BF’s mom are cautious in the extreme because they have such a thin “margin of error” compared to most. Many take a kind of “utilitarian” mindset, judging things by their immediate usefulness. A lot of education looks useless to these folks because many effects are long-term and don’t manifest immediately. Critical thinking is an example that comes to mind.

    (Also, from my research, people are MUCH more invested in keeping what they have instead of reaching out to try for more.)

    FWIW (For What It’s Worth), I think you are absolutely on the right path, Olive. Good luck to you and your BF! I hope the semester goes fast and easily. :)

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    @Ted D, that’s an incorrect assumption. My husband has a degree from a public university and does well. My degree is from a more “fancy name” university, but prospective employers are far more interested in my work experience, skills and actual accomplishments.

    Also, lots of “physically there” jobs have disappeared. Manufacturing, textile, etc. To put it in a more modern context, phone operators, machine operators, etc. Computers, automation and cheap global labor have replaced a lot of jobs that used to seem very stable and economically fruitful.

    Plumbing might always be there, but we don’t need a whole nation of plumbers. Car mechanics now basically replace whole parts that are mini-computers and can literally never be fixed. Construction workers that I know aren’t too happy, although car mechanics might be. Most mechanics work for companies though, rather than for themselves.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    I think you’ll also find that the “value” of a college degree is global. Even though here in the US, we think of a college degree as useless, keep in mind we’re still something around the top 10% in the world. It is like saying having a house is not a big deal because so many people have one here — as the rest of the world looks on in envy.

    Just putting that out there, because if the economy IS becoming international, holding a degree from an American university can take you to higher status in the BRIC nations as well as for example Eastern Europe.

    Thinking about the future, a degree is also about cultural continuity. Education and academic excellence are highly prized in China (where I grew up), and these have implications well into one’s later professional life.

  • Ted D

    Hope – you have a valid point regarding an American education being valuable outside of the U.S.

    And I did say “all other qualifications being equal” in regards to the value of a degree. Surely a degree from a community college will carry more weight than a degree from a named university if the former has more work experience, or even a better GPA. But again, I’m talking about investment now versus life long payoff. I’m not trying to say being educated is useless. In fact, I said I highly value intelligence as a character trait. But you can be very smart and still dig ditches for a living.

    If I spend 10K to learn how to install and repair HVAC equipment, and you spend 50K to get a four year degree, and we both end up with jobs, who is better off? I won’t have nearly the debt you do now, but you have better long term earning potential. But, just like professional athletes often do, if you make your money early and invest wisely, you don’t have to work hard your entire life to live well. Put in 10 to 20 years working hard and banking money, and then if you can’t move up in your trade, switch careers. If done correctly, I could take a much less profitable job right now, with much less stress, and live at the same comfort level.

    Financial planning is no longer something to save for retirement. I’m of the mind that the best way to go is find something you can do fast and cheap for a few decades to build a nice savings, and then when you get older you have more options. In my example, it may take you 15 years to start making good money and paying off all your loans. By then I could have possibly saved a good chunk, invested, and be less stressed and have more flexibility.

    And I wanted to say thanks for jumping in. I’m really not trying to be argumentative on this subject, and am actually looking for the exact kind of discussion we are having. I’m not at all decided on this yet, but as you can see I am currently in favor of less $ spent actually finding work.

    I really wish I knew someone that found a way to make money (enough to live comfortably) doing something they love. Ideally that is the way to go, so that you never feel like you are a slave to your job. But the only things I was interested in as a young man was music and computers. (that had any earning potential I could live on.) Music was a long shot, so I went with what I thought was a secure deal. Little did I know I’d be competing with people who thought $5 was a fortune for my job.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    @Ted D, let me put it this way: you can’t have 100% security and stability. If that is what you’re after, you might as well lay down now. Or try to go back to 15th-century subsistence farming and live off the grid with some like-minded folks, but possibly suffer weather issues, famine and disease.

    Things change, and we adapt. That’s the essence of a smart person’s modus operandi. And we know that education makes us think, makes us smarter, and makes us use parts of our brains for coming up with creative solutions — at least, a good education does that. My husband and I were blessed with good teachers who encouraged originality and creativity, and we would seek to give the same to our children if/when we have them.

    No one can predict the future. It is quite possible that our current computers will become completely obsolete. Those who learn only the “trade” are replaceable. Those who learn how to learn anything throughout their life can adapt to ever-changing situations. A good education does not have to be expensive. If you’re smart, you can self-teach a lot these days. You can even forgo the degree and forge your own path.

    Getting that degree just makes the road a little bit easier for those of us who aren’t quite creme of the crop, but still can contribute a lot. It’s a piece of paper that says you jumped through some hoops, but people want to see that. Even people who look for team members in video games have various pre-requisites! We all look for “signs” of capability, and like it or not, in today’s society, that piece of paper is a sign.

  • Ted D

    Hope – ” A good education does not have to be expensive. If you’re smart, you can self-teach a lot these days. You can even forgo the degree and forge your own path.”

    I agree 100%. But in terms of job value, a self made education is worth squat. And again, I think you are confusing being smart with getting a degree. I fully believe that having a college degree does not in any way signal you are smart. It signals exactly what you stated: that you can jump through hoops. Some of the most intelligent people I know don’t have college degrees. And working in IT I have met MANY “paper tigers”. That is the term we used for people that have a degree or certifications, but don’t know a damn thing about actually working in IT.

    I’m not in any way suggesting that being educated is a bad thing. Knowledge is power. What I’m saying is paying so much for that knowledge just doesn’t seem like the deal it used to be. And of course no one can know the future. But I have to ask, who is more stuck?

    Me having a career based on a degree in a specific field?
    Or the guy that knows how to build houses, fix plumbing, or keep a refrigeration unit running?

    If my work dries up, I’ve wasted tons of money on my now useless degree, and I have few skills to take to another career.

    If for some reason people stop needing refrigeration? Well, at least that guy didn’t spend thousands on a useless piece of paper.

    And really? People want degree’s to join a clan these days?! I am SO glad I quit gaming years ago. I used to think it was ridiculous when guilds/clans required a specific amount of time a week from each member. I can’t imagine anyone asking for specific criteria. It is a freaking game!!!! I’m a serious person, but even by my standards that is over the top. :P

  • Ted D

    Hope – sorry for the double, but I wanted to comment specifically on this:
    “Those who learn only the “trade” are replaceable. Those who learn how to learn anything throughout their life can adapt to ever-changing situations.”

    I think we are on the same page here, with one difference. I’m saying that to an extent, planning a life long “career” in this day and age is pointless. Most people go to college to get a degree to do something specific. If that something makes money, then great. If not, what do you do? You adapt.

    What I’m saying is, if a degree only slightly increases your chances of a life long income, why bother? Learn to build houses, and while you are building houses, plan for the future. Save money. Learn other skills. If you have to change “jobs” in 10 years because no one builds houses anymore, you made money for 10 years and didn’t waste 50K on a degree.

    If everyone faces the possibility of changing “jobs” every decade or so, what value does a degree add? It isn’t that education is bad, it is that formal education costs more than it’s worth right now. Hell, I went back to school and finished my degree years after I started working. I got an associates, started working, and just didn’t get back to finish until I go a job with an employer that paid for my education. I got it, not because it made me more money, but because it was a free degree. I would have never bothered if I had to pay out of pocket.

  • Jackie

    @Ted

    D’oh! I just tried to write you again and it got eaten by the blogmonster. :( Argh! Here was the gist of it….

    I completely understand what you are saying. We live in very unsettling times and the only thing we can be certain of is change. For people who thrive on certainty, this is highly stressful.

    For me, I am one of those people who “followed their dream” by pursuing one of the arts. (Would prefer not to give specifics, as I enjoy the anonymity of the ‘net!)

    My dad and even my mentor — who was HIGHLY successful at this– were quite concerned that by following my path I would end up poor and possibly embittered. BUT, my mentor also said, You’ve got a free ride [in this discipline], you’re 18. You can always quit and work at Kmart! But you can’t come back from Kmart when you’re 60 and do this.

    So, knowing all this, I embarked on my path. It WAS difficult and tons of work and extremely competitive. And I thrived on it. I knew that no one was forcing me to do this and I could walk out the door anytime.

    Currently, I work for myself using my [artform]. My primary business and my secondary business use the form in different fashions. I started a 3rd side business, just for fun, in a completely different field. My focus in all these endeavors is to use my skills to give eminent satisfaction to my clients. My businesses provide me with more than enough income, my dowry, support my sister in Africa and whatever my father needs.

    I would like to see our culture focus more on developing our skills and gifts to be used to benefit others. The more you are benefiting others and providing high value, the more value you can receive. I think our culture focuses more on the self than being of service to others, but may be mistaken. My 3 cents! :)

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Jackie 371—

    “We have the moral obligation to treat *everyone* with honor, kindliness and generosity. A truly great lady will treat the cleaning lady with the same dignity that she has for royalty.”

    See the story here.

  • Jackie

    @ david foster (#393)

    Exactly! :D

    Thank you, Mr. David Foster!

  • Jesus Mahoney

    david foster,

    I love that story you linked to for Jackie. That and Jackie’s paralyzed bride story have been clipped. The two just came together and formed a gigantic cumulonimbus-like story in the sky of my mind.

    Thanks.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Ted,

    I think I fundamentally disagree with you in the same way Hope does. I’d be very hesitant to suggest trade work to young people, especially if they love science or math (those are high-earning fields! …if you have the degree). My boyfriend is a math major, so he could have a nice starting salary once he finishes his degree. If your kid wants to be an English major and doesn’t have any tech skills or anything? Then it’s a different story. But math or science (or geology!)? I’d say go for it. A geologist could get a great job as an environmental analyst, or as a professor. Those are not outsource-able jobs.

    Physical work is also high-risk work. My BF’s mom’s boyfriend is an electrician. He recently had a back injury and was out of work for two months. My BF’s mom works in a factory… repetitive motions over many years gave her a bone fracture in her neck. She recently had surgery and is on 40% disability leave (really not enough to even survive. Good thing her BF lives with her).

    In other words, you NEED to care for your health if you’re going to do physical trade work. And if you don’t have adequate healthcare access (as some trade workers don’t), you’re fucked. And Ted, your suggestion to buy your own health insurance is preposterous. My family bought our own insurance this year, and my mom just got done telling me we paid $22,o0o, and it would’ve been higher had she been diagnosed with cancer before we signed the new policy. Insurance costs are through the freaking roof. If you make $40,o0o, $22,000 is more than half of your salary. If you make $50,000, it’s almost half.

    No, I don’t think it’s a good idea to forego a degree and manage a business instead. I feel very strongly about this the more I think about it. My dad has a degree but didn’t use it; instead, he has his own business. It’s something he will always regret; he’s smart enough to have a high-paying job in artificial intelligence, and that would’ve been his ideal. But he gave it all up to start a business with his brother. And now he’s 63 and can’t stop talking about how terrible of a decision it was. He feels like he sold himself short.

  • Ted D

    Jackie – “For me, I am one of those people who “followed their dream” by pursuing one of the arts”

    I envy you a little to be honest.

    I’ll see how things look as they get older. It will come down to what they want from life. If they want to marry and have a family, it makes sense to take the safest route. (what I did.) If family isn’t high on their list, then why not take a chance and follow your dreams? My issue was making that decision based on lots of false information, so perhaps the decision will be easier/better for them.

    And I agree wholeheartedly about your comments regarding our society valuing the wrong skills. Unfortunately money drives everything for most modern societies. And the skills that are good for people in general are not always the ones that make the most money. Of course money isn’t everything in life. But as the joke goes: “Money can’t buy you happiness, but at least you can afford any kind of misery you want.”

    And this is part of why I struggle with all of this. I want my children to be happy. (what good parent doesn’t?) But I can’t determine what will make them happy, and even though I’m pretty rock solid in my beliefs, I’m not so sure my outlook on life is impartial enough to be useful. I bought into a bill of goods early on that clearly didn’t have real value based on what I was told would make me happy, not what I thought would make me happy.

    So I find myself teetering between pushing them in a “safe” direction, and allowing them to follow their desires. The serious side of me sees the latter as a waste of time and possibly a life ruining experience. But the part of me that had a dream to follow winces at the thought of denying them the support to follow theirs. Do I go with being responsible, or do I go with freedom?

    And I used to think the hard part about parenting was keeping my children out of trouble and doing well in school. :P

  • Ted D

    Olive – “especially if they love science or math (those are high-earning fields! …if you have the degree)”

    Honestly I have to look into geology. Math I agree can earn big bucks, especially since in the U.S. we seem to have a lack of people with real math skills (myself included). But geology? I don’t know. I can see making some money finding oil or natural resources for energy. I don’t know much about Environmental analysts, but that sounds along the lines I was thinking working for oil companies. professors make big dollars, but how many of those jobs are really open? I suspect once someone lands one, they stay until death or retirement, which means a lot of people waiting in line.

    “And Ted, your suggestion to buy your own health insurance is preposterous. My family bought our own insurance this year, and my mom just got done telling me we paid $22,o0o, and it would’ve been higher had she been diagnosed with cancer before we signed the new policy.”

    Oh I’m not suggesting they even THINK about starting a family. If you are single, finding half-decent medical coverage isn’t too bad. Yes, it still costs way more than employer sponsored coverage, but it can be managed. Hell, I went through a large chunk of my 20′s with no coverage at all. Was it a gamble? yep, but it paid off for me. Spending 50k on a degree would have been a gamble as well.

    “My dad has a degree but didn’t use it; instead, he has his own business. It’s something he will always regret; he’s smart enough to have a high-paying job in artificial intelligence, and that would’ve been his ideal. But he gave it all up to start a business with his brother. And now he’s 63 and can’t stop talking about how terrible of a decision it was. He feels like he sold himself short.”

    I don’t know how well his business is doing, but if it has given him an income that allows a good standard of living, what difference does it make? In short, he wasted the money he spent on a degree. And besides, he may have found that job in artificial intelligence was very stressful and although he found the work compelling, it may have ultimately detracted from his overall happiness. We all sell ourselves short every time we get a pay check. As a human, I’m worth WAY more than my employer pays me. But, I’m only worth what I get paid to my employer, and despite how I feel about myself, it is the market that dictates my monetary value.

    What I’m saying is: maybe it doesn’t matter at all what you do for a living, as long as you are getting paid enough to live as you want. Look for something you can do with little investment that pays off in the short term, and never stop looking. I don’t know that looking ahead when you are 18 years old and planning a life long “career” has any real value anymore. Unless you want to define yourself by what you do, in which case it may be the most important decision of your life. For me? My job is simply a means to an end. A way for me to make money so I can do what I want. I’ve never wanted to put any more importance on what I do than that: I get paid.

    If what I did was important, I wouldn’t have quit making music. In the end, it was the desire to live at a specific comfort level that really influenced my decision.

    I don’t know. Its a tough call for me at this point. Good thing there is time left for all of this. And speaking of time, its time to make like a tree and leave. :P

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    I’ll see how things look as they get older. It will come down to what they want from life. If they want to marry and have a family, it makes sense to take the safest route. (what I did.)

    But this is my point. Your safest route is not the safest route anymore. The times have changed. It’s not smart to get into trade work anymore, because frankly it’s not a good investment. It’s physically demanding (and I mean that in the sense that you can seriously hurt yourself doing construction, and then REALLY be fucked), and it’s not very profitable. Life is more expensive than it was in 1980, but the wages for trade work haven’t really changed.

    In my opinion, a good education is never a waste. Once you get your foot in the door, you have a chance to move up, you can achieve your dreams. My friends who just graduated had a hell of a time finding jobs at first, but now they’re starting to succeed. My old roomie, who was an English major (and had just an ok GPA) is now working at a publishing company. One of my good friends got a fantastic paid internship with the World Wildlife Fund, and she’ll be going places the minute she gets a real job. But without an education, none of them would be going anywhere. They’d likely be working in fast food joints, or maybe at OfficeMax or Best Buy. Making shitty hourly wages and working outrageous hours.

    My boyfriend currently works the night shift at a gas station. He’s making ok wages, and he’s able to make car/insurance payments and loan payments, but he can’t move out of his mom’s house. Ask him if he likes it.

    He has to get out of that cycle. And he will. The moment his family stops being idiotic and decides to help cosign his damn loans.

  • Sox

    It all depends on what you aspire to…there’s plenty of ways to get a decent degree on the cheap.

    What I’d advise young people against doing is making the mistake that I did- spending 38k+ a year on a liberal arts degree for a niche field. It’s much easier for a specialist to market themselves as a generalist when needed than for a generalist to do the opposite.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    @Ted D, what I meant about the video game example is that people demand to see a certain “gear score” or “boss kill achievements” in order to let you into their group… not a degree. Although sometimes guilds have minimum age requirements.

    Anyway, as I said, I come from a culture that deeply respects and values education, especially higher education. Thinking back to the lessons I learned in school in my childhood (in China), they were not economically productive. I learned history, literature, poetry, math, writing, music, art, and did some physical exercises. My mother worked very hard to ensure that I would get into the best possible schools, and she would have paid if she had to for my college education.

    So this may be a big cultural difference. In Asia, nerds are revered for academic achievements. Their favorite quotation is that genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. You will find kids spending thousands upon thousands of hours practicing, and they can and do apply this diligence to new topics. The material itself may be worthless, because nobody cares that I l earned ancient Chinese poetry, but the exercises gave me great discipline.

    I respect self-taught skills and tangible real life skills, and I think it’s awesome that my husband knows how to shoot a gun accurately. He could be the most amazing construction builder ever! He loves going to hardware stores and has tons of power tools. He builds his own little projects and is the fixer around the house. But there are plenty of others with those same skills.

    His real “selling” point is his advanced mathematics knowledge and programmatic analysis using matlab, and he works for a great bioengineering/biomedical company that produces machines that can for example detect sepsis much earlier. Without educated and skilled workers who have specialized and advanced training like his, these tools would not be built in the first place. And it IS a passion of his, and he loves his work, dreams about code, analysis, variables, algorithms, working with medical and biological researchers, and all the while helping to bring on various machines with important medical usage. That’s just awesome in my opinion.

    He couldn’t do it without the education. Me? I’m just a code monkey. He’s a code artist. There are many brilliant minds that when put through dedication and education, could make the world a better place. For these fields, it’s not enough just to have the basics anymore. These computers we type on, sure, the hardware is manufactured in a developing country, the tech support outsourced to somewhere cheap, but the people who design them and make them work are all bright and educated. Bill Gates didn’t build the Microsoft empire by himself. It happened after a lot of knowledge transfer and teams of smart people put together the first computers. It wouldn’t have happened a few hundred years ago. And it certainly wouldn’t have happened without a lot of higher education.

  • Lindsay

    @Ted:

    I really wish I knew someone that found a way to make money (enough to live comfortably) doing something they love. Ideally that is the way to go, so that you never feel like you are a slave to your job. But the only things I was interested in as a young man was music and computers. (that had any earning potential I could live on.) Music was a long shot, so I went with what I thought was a secure deal. Little did I know I’d be competing with people who thought $5 was a fortune for my job.

    I totally sympathize with where you’re coming from. While I didn’t get turned on to design and computer technology until my junior year of high school, I knew ever since then that I wanted a career in that field. I guess I was fortunate in a way, because I got into UI design/engineering when it was still a relatively new and unheard-of field with a lot of untapped potential. Sadly, now the field is beginning to “catch on,” and I’m seeing a few too many “diploma mills” selling 2-year, 4-year, and master’s degree programs in a discipline I’ve learned through a combination of a tech/design/liberal arts-focused bachelor’s degree, various and sundry post-college training courses, self-study, freelance assignments/self-employment, and of course, hard work at my full-time jobs every single day.

    These diploma mills really lower the value of both my craft and my bachelor’s degree from an accredited, Top-25 university. Worse, they’re ruthless in their recruiting tactics, and though I’m too old and jaded to fall for them, they’re hoodwinking teenagers into lifelong debt to attend their shady, shoddy programs. I called one of them, not realizing it was a diploma mill (it was very slick, and looked like a legitimate university – but then I read their one-star ratings and reviews, and found out otherwise!), and ever since, they’ve been e-mailing me, snail-mailing me, and calling me at least twice a week to goad me into enrolling. The tuition is also beyond absurd. It costs 35K a year to attend this program, which is over five times what I paid per YEAR when I graduated uni. over a decade ago. I have no debt from college, nor any other training I’ve taken on since (some of it was employer-financed). My brother, cousin, and other members of the Millennial generation, graduate with 50K+ in debt.

    One issue with our economy is that America doesn’t make anything anymore. The other issue with it is that employers expect everyone to have a degree, including for jobs that don’t require any more than an eighth-grade education, like food service and retail. I was mentoring a young man who works as a doorman in a building downtown, and no joke, where he works is now requiring a bachelor’s at minimum to make 10 bucks an hour working as a doorman. This is not sustainable. He’s frightened because he sees no way out of his predicament, and at age 25, feels he’ll never be able to afford kids or own a home. It’s really sad.

    There are still some blue-collar trade jobs, but not a lot. My husband had to return to school at age 30 because his trade got sent to Taiwan, and with a bachelor’s only half-completed, no one would hire him. And the trades are very hard on your body as well, as was mentioned upthread – they’re not ideal to work at long-term. His right knee and left shoulder are totally ground down from all the lifting, crouching, and contorting he did.

  • Lindsay

    Also, just a general observation for anyone who reads or lurks at HUS and is college-age: I’ve done hiring at 3 jobs now (assisted with it at one, was a decision-maker at the other 2), and while it matters at some companies, I care more about what skills you have and what you can bring to the table, if hired, than I do about your major. A well-rounded applicant with a liberal arts degree and self-taught technical skills is sometimes preferable to a computer engineering major who can’t compose a brief e-mail free of grammatical and syntactical errors, let alone write documentation for a project. I’ve worked with many excellent engineers and designers who did not major in the field they now work in, and their well-rounded educations made them very valuable and versatile hires.

    That said, I don’t want to speak for all employers, and I don’t want to lead people astray. If you’re still in school, call around, schedule some informational interviews, and generally try to find out what’s expected of you in your targeted field of employment. It varies so much from city to city, major to major, discipline to discipline, and company to company that it’s impossible to generalize. If there’s anything I could go back and do over again in my youth it would have been to research the job market better before graduation and schedule some informational interviews.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Honestly I have to look into geology. Math I agree can earn big bucks, especially since in the U.S. we seem to have a lack of people with real math skills (myself included). But geology? I don’t know. I can see making some money finding oil or natural resources for energy. I don’t know much about Environmental analysts, but that sounds along the lines I was thinking working for oil companies.

    Nah. Environmentalists are the ones who aren’t in favor of drilling for oil/natural gas. Oh God please tell me you didn’t vote for Corbett, Mr. Natural Gas. I’ve had enough of that man, he makes my internship extremely difficult. And wouldn’t you know, about 88,000 children in PA have lost their medical benefits since October, when he and his administration started doing something funny with county assistance offices. CHILDREN! Who qualify for benefits! WHAT. THE. FUCK. Anyway, I digress.

    The point is, geologists study Earth formations… rocks, minerals, all that fun stuff. Actually if he likes geology you should tell your son to check out meteorology. He could be a weather man! As for profs, it depends on the field and the time at which someone is applying for jobs, I’d imagine. PhDs aren’t easy to get, and as a result, probably aren’t that common.

    Hell, I went through a large chunk of my 20′s with no coverage at all. Was it a gamble? yep, but it paid off for me.

    That. Was. A. Terrible. Idea. Maybe not so much in the ’80s, I dunno what healthcare costs were like, but now? That’s like building a death trap for yourself. Seriously. Don’t ever let your kids do that. People without insurance are fucked. I work with them daily, and I hear some really fucked up situations. Think about it. Let’s say you have an earache but no insurance. You wait til it gets so bad, you end up at the ER. Then you have hospital bills you can’t pay. Only option is to apply for emergency medical assistance, at which point you’re asking the hated government to help pay for your healthcare. Better to just have insurance.

    But wait. Your job doesn’t provide insurance? Better go to college. So you can get a good job, with good benefits.

    And someone in trade work without insurance? Damn. He’s royally screwed.

    What I’m saying is: maybe it doesn’t matter at all what you do for a living, as long as you are getting paid enough to live as you want.

    No, it definitely matters. My BF’s mom (sorry to keep referring to her) told me she was always good at math. So instead of getting a degree in math, she worked low-paying jobs her whole life. She is completely miserable. My dad, who didn’t do what he wanted to do, is also miserable. His business is fine, but it’s not what he wanted to do. I can’t tell you how much he obsesses over it. Maybe it doesn’t matter to you, but it matters to someone who’s in a field in which they have zero interest. Like my boyfriend, who works at a gas station and a fast food joint.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    @Lindsay, I come from a similar background, although I may be slightly younger (28). I also graduated with a BA and self-taught various technical skills. Those diploma mills sound absolutely awful. Unfortunately I think the up-and-coming generation is going to have a much harder time. I am sorry to hear about your husband’s situation, too. That is basically why I advise the degree route while minimizing debt from schooling.

  • J

    During the 90s many “gifted and talented” programs disappeared, tracking became a bad word, and Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory was used to downplay cognitive ability. This hurt males more than females.

    I have to respectfully question this statement, Susan. While I strongly favor GT programs and tracking, IME girls and boys have been fairly equally represented in those programs for the last 45 years. While boys tend to excel in math and science over girls and the gap widens as kids grow into teenagers, girls tend to excel boys in language related tasks. Elementary school classrooms tend to be fairly balanced. Secondary school classrooms may breakdown a bit more with more boys in physics and trig and more girls in Honors French, but elimination of GT programs
    hurts the genders equally.

    Gardener OTOH is probably more inclusive of boys who were formerly excluded because it allows athletes and musicians to be considered gifted while still considering math/spatial ability as a gift.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @J

      The reason that the elimination of tracking hurts males more than females is because it’s a way of banning outright competition. It’s often replaced by cooperative or group learning, which favors female learning styles. While it’s true that the sexes excel in different subjects, math and science tests are generally objective in nature, while much grading of language skills is subjective in nature. In a culture that values girl behaviors and “ways of being,” this confers an advantage to those who excel in the more subjectively assessed subjects, since it gives educators an opportunity to reward qualities other than straight academic talent.

      Re Gardner, I would consider a musical gift on a par with math and science, and they are in fact related. Athletics? Not so much. However, I witnessed many mediocre female students at my kids’ high schools sail into the Ivies or even Division 1 great schools based on their athletic abilities alone, due to Title IX recruiting. One friend’s daughter was a fencing bassoonist, and had her pick. It is much more difficult for males to secure admissions to prestigious schools based on athletics alone, though of course it does happen.

  • J

    My husband would likely not have married a girl who didn’t have a 4-year degree, not because of the degree itself, but because of what it implies about the girl’s “class” as well as earning potential.

    Nor would mine–and not soley because of earning potential. We have a fairly companionable marriage (and no guys, that does NOT mean we no longer have sex). There is a friendship dimension in our marriage that depends to a degree on a common level of sophistication and cultural awareness. Likewise, my husband was looking for someone who knew her way around in the larger world to mother his kids. And I personally think (although there is a cranberry-orange bread in the oven right now) that my ability to comment intelligently on a term paper or correct the self-test in the geometry book is a bigger asset to my sons than the ability to bake cookies. A woman’s education not only serves her, it serves her family.

  • Tara

    Ted D, I love your comments about hating office politics and social standing bullshit and I totally agree!

    Regarding the trades, just about everyone I know who has chosen trades as their career path is struggling so badly right now, and the outlook for the future is dismal. There’s a surplus of vacant homes right now, nobody seems to know when new ones will be built. When they are, the brutal beating that the housing market has taken in the past few years is certainly going to effect things, and not likely to the advantage of tradesmen. Unions are what kept the trades a viable career option, and they are being rendered obsolete by the cut throat competition for fewer resources that the housing arena has become. Not to mention, there are illegal immigrants all of the place, and they will do the same job a skilled union worker will do for a fraction of the cost. So basically, these jobs ARE being outsourced in a way, it’s just that the people from other countries are actually coming here to take them, rather than staying put and having the jobs come to them, as with IT work.

    I’m not sure what the definitive answer is, or if there even is one, but I don’t think trades are really a viable career at this point in time.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Lindsay…”One issue with our economy is that America doesn’t make anything anymore”

    This really isn’t correct. America’s manufacturing output, measured by value-added, is equal to that of China, or slightly larger than China, depending on which set of numbers you believe. One main reason why people have the perception that we don’t make anything anymore is that so much of the stuff we *do* make is sold to businesses rather than consumers…locomotives (GE), railcars (Greenbrier), airliners (Boeing), etc are not something one picks up on the typical shopping trip.

    There are some companies (including consumer products companies) that had chosen to offshore their production which are now returning production to the US—still a minority of those who’ve moved, but an interesting trend.

    We should be doing a *lot* more manufacturing in the US than we are, and there are significant cultural as well as public-policy factors that have mitigated against this industry, but US manufacturing is far from dead.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Getting way off-topic, but here’s an interesting article on a start-up which is bravely making apparel in the United States.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    Had someone noticed that the education conversation is very gendered? With more girls pro it and more guys anti or at the very least wary of it, just an observation.

  • Lindsay

    @David:

    Sure, I agree that our manufacturing output is still robust, and it’s great to see some manufacturing coming back, but my concern is an overarching one about what’s driving the economy, whether it’s sustainable in the long run, and whether most Americans can find sustainable work, most of the time. For the past 3+ decades, our growth has been driven by speculative bubbles. In the 80s, it was stocks and bonds, in the 90s, it was dot-coms, in the 00s, it was real estate, and now, it’s a combination of hedge funds and high-tech micro-niches, like social media apps and SaaS. The economy currently is a primarily service-based one, and most of the fastest-growing industries right now as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ studies – such as retail, customer service, dining, tourism, and medical/nursing assistance – pay poorly and don’t require much, if any, advanced education.

    My own industry, apps/SaaS is in the middle of an immense bubble right now, and while I have felt I’ve “made” many things, so to speak – for example, I developed the prototype and interface for a major corporation’s first-ever mobile app – the things I invent, help create, or direct the production of are only indirectly creating wealth. Aside from micro-transaction apps like Amazon’s, most apps don’t directly generate much revenue (especially not if they’re free!). The revenue is generated indirectly for the tech company who provides consulting hours to the corporation, and then indirectly for the corporation when the app acts as a portable, at-the-customer’s-fingertips platform for its brand. At the end of the day, these apps are a means of advertising a brand for many companies, and not much more – but mobile, social, and SaaS are great bets for hedge fund managers, and at the end of the day, many companies have primarily Wall Street to answer to.

    The “new economy” has been great for people in my industry, awful for people in my husband’s former industry, and so-so for many others. And since conditions fluctuate dramatically from year to year, let alone decade to decade, it’s very difficult for many young people to count on or even plan a career path currently.

  • Mike C

    Random thoughts:

    I spend alot of time every day reading, studying, thinking about the economy and long-term trends (because if you can figure it out you can make alot of money).

    Truth. No one really knows what the best route is. It is tough these days. There are people graduating with degrees who are going to work at retail jobs. At least right now, a college degree isn’t the golden ticket it was 20 years ago. Thats not to say getting a college degree is a negative. It is still probably the best option.

    Trades. There are pros and cons here. Anything related to new housing construction is dead for a long time. But construction is picking up elsewhere, and the job can’t be outsourced. I’ve got a MBA in finance and one particular skilled trade job for the company I work for outearns me considerably. Guys working on oil rigs make 6 figures+ but it is dangerous work. You want to go to Canada and work in the oil sands and you’ll make 150,000 in skilled trades.

    Small business owner. Read the Millionaire Next Door. Most really rich people in the U.S. own their own small business. That’s not to say all make big bucks. I”m sure a good number would be better off taking a white collar job in corporate Amercia, but owning your own business if you have the entrepreneurial spirit is still the best best for really making it big.

    Ted D, my advice would be don’t try to force your kids into some box. Let them find something suited to their talents and at least partially to their interests.

    We are living through times of great economic uncertainty. It will probably be that way for awhile. That’s actually a selling point for marriage as you can pool 2 incomes. The KEY is to live on 1 income, save the other, don’t raise your living standard to eat up both incomes.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Not to mention, there are illegal immigrants all of the place, and they will do the same job a skilled union worker will do for a fraction of the cost. So basically, these jobs ARE being outsourced in a way, it’s just that the people from other countries are actually coming here to take them, rather than staying put and having the jobs come to them, as with IT work.

    Yeah this attitude kind of annoys me. Don’t get me started on illegal immigration as a topic, because I could rant for days. But suffice it to say that many undocumented immigrants are taking agriculture jobs that American citizens don’t want. I say that having worked on a farm over the summer. It was fucking hard work, I don’t know any of my peers who would be willing to do it. It’s also seasonal, and most people aren’t willing to take that kind of financial risk.

    Also check Alabama. They just passed a law requiring schools to check the status of new students, and thousands of Latinos left the state as a result. The farmers are worried they won’t have workers during the spring/summer. So, by all means, if you know Americans out of work who want seasonal farm jobs, Alabama is wide open.

  • J

    The reason that the elimination of tracking hurts males more than females is because it’s a way of banning outright competition. It’s often replaced by cooperative or group learning, which favors female learning styles.

    Tracking is a way of placing students of similar ability levels in the same classroom. Its opponents generally call it racist because in actual practice the ethnic composition of track programs looks pretty much like our local HBDers would predict. I understand that criticism but agree that it is a good way to serve gifted students. Cooperative learning is a teaching method. It can be used in any track. You might view it as intrinsically more feminine because it is “cooperative.” If you worked a synonym like “teamwork” into the terminology, I think it would appear more masculine. The notion that teamwork is male and the inability to work together towards a goal is female is central to your post.

    While it’s true that the sexes excel in different subjects, math and science tests are generally objective in nature, while much grading of language skills is subjective in nature.

    Actually, educators have been developing objective rubrics for evaluating language skills in order to give students clearer goals and make assessment less subjective. That’s been the trend in the field for quite a while.

    Re Gardner, I would consider a musical gift on a par with math and science, and they are in fact related. Athletics? Not so much.

    I would agree. Gardner would not.

    However, I witnessed many mediocre female students at my kids’ high schools sail into the Ivies or even Division 1 great schools based on their athletic abilities alone, due to Title IX recruiting.

    OK, but the same claim has long been made illiterate male athletes. Remember the national scandal some years back regarding colleges granting degrees to football and basketball players who were later found to lack even basic reading and math skills? There were some lawsuits that alleged that colleges failed in their job to educated these students, mostly African-American males.

    I have to run; I am subbing today. I do have some ideas about schools fail boys, especially a particular type of boy, but I have no time now.

  • Ted D

    Mike C – “Ted D, my advice would be don’t try to force your kids into some box. Let them find something suited to their talents and at least partially to their interests.”

    No worries, I’m not about to push them anywhere yet. I’m just trying to plan ahead. ;) And I think out of all my writing, the point I was trying to make is that a degree isn’t the golden ticket anymore, just as you stated. I’m not saying they should never go for a degree, I just don’t know if it makes sense to do it first, or to learn a trade, make some money, and then invest the money in an education. We’ll see in a few years when the boys hit High School what happens. I really hope my daughter goes for and gets into this nursing program. It kinda sucks to work two year for free, but you can’t beat walking away with as a full RN and no loans to pay off.

    Olive – “But suffice it to say that many undocumented immigrants are taking agriculture jobs that American citizens don’t want. I say that having worked on a farm over the summer. It was fucking hard work, I don’t know any of my peers who would be willing to do it. It’s also seasonal, and most people aren’t willing to take that kind of financial risk.

    Oh boy… I’m sorry, but I can’t leave this statement alone. The correct phrasing would be IMO; “But suffice it to say that many undocumented immigrants are taking agriculture jogs that American citizens don’t want for the wages they pay.” It isn’t that American’s wont do the work, they won’t do it for $5 a day. And as far as it goes, I wouldn’t care at all about illegal immigration if every one of them came here, got a real job, and paid taxes. What pisses me off to NO end is that they come here, take work under the table, pay no taxes, and still often collect government assistance that is paid for BY TAX COLLECTION.

    I promise you if they changed our tax code to a single, national sales tax, I would completely shut my mouth about illegal immigration. But as it stands, not only are they taking work away from citizens, they are stealing our money through government funded programs. A flat sales tax would fix it, as every single thing they purchased would add to the tax base.

    I don’t have a problem with anyone coming here to improve their lot in life. Hell I’m only the 2nd generation of my family born here! But if you come, go full in. Become a citizen. Get a real job (not under the table). Pay your fair share of taxes. And make some attempt to become part of society here instead of isolating yourself with others like you.

    *steps off the soap box* And you guys thought I was a loud mouthed, opinionated bastard when it came to sexuality. My political rants are sometimes monumental. LOL

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Lindsay…”the things I invent, help create, or direct the production of are only indirectly creating wealth”….but hasn’t this always been true of a wide variety of products and technologies? A machine tool only creates wealth when it is employed to make some other product or, more typically, simply a part for another product.

    Also, bubbles are not a recent phenomenon. There was a tremendous railroad-building bubble dating from roughly the Civil War up through 1900 or so. There was a fair amount of useless track-laying and also some outright scams; OTOH an essential transportation infrastructure was created. I think the dot-com bubble had some of the same attributes, whereas with the housing bubble the proportion of outright waste, as a result of confusing consumption with investment, was much higher. Hopefully, the cloud/SaaS bubble will wind up being more like the railways and the dot-coms in terms of leaving something useful behind.

  • Tara

    @ Olive
    I am aware of the situation in Alabama. I was speaking about skilled trades specifically, the type of farm work you’re talking about wouldn’t fall into that category. However, illegal immigration has had the same effect on the wages of both skilled (carpentry, etc.) and unskilled (farm work) labor. No American is going to develop a skill and then work for next to nothing, and the same goes for unskilled labor. It is not sustainable- and the lack of sustainability is why Americans don’t want the jobs you speak of, I really do not believe it is laziness or a bad attitude or anything like that.

    I’m with Ted D. I have nothing against anyone who wants to come here and better their life, but do it the right way. (PAY TAXES!) When you don’t, you are essentially taking food from the mouths of Americans and their children. If we are ever going to see significant economic recovery in this country, something MUST be done about illegal immigration. (And outsourcing, too, but that is another can of worms. And for the record, I am NOT a Republican.)

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Ted,
    Oh no you did not just go there! (kidding, kidding… though you’ve opened a Pandora’s box now lol… everyone prepare for a rant).

    So first, re: farmers… in college I lived in a county known for its agriculture. The fact is we demand cheap products, so we force farmers to pay low wages, or minimum wage (yes, minimum wage, not $5 a day. I don’t know a single illegal immigrant who works for $5 a day. If they did, they’d stay in their countries of origin). They’re usually paid based on how much they can harvest, and then the farmer supplements that wage until they’ve reached minimum wage. Some farmers don’t actually supplement, so people can actually be paid $5 an hour, which is exploitative, but I’ve never heard of a case of people being paid $5 a day. Who can live like that? They’d be begging. Incidentally, when I worked on a farm, I was paid under the table. $100 cash a week plus provided housing. No I did not pay taxes. But I hardly think my tax contribution would’ve increased government funds. :-P

    What pisses me off to NO end is that they come here, take work under the table, pay no taxes, and still often collect government assistance that is paid for BY TAX COLLECTION.

    So there are two misconceptions here (thank you media, for spreading them). 1) Illegal immigrants don’t pay taxes, and 2) illegal immigrants collect public assistance.

    So most immigrants either have a tax ID number (if they’re legal) or a fake SS number. The SS number allows them to work, but it also means that taxes are automatically taken out of their wages at the end of each pay period. So yes they almost always pay taxes. Exceptions are house-cleaning jobs and sometimes farm jobs (but the wages are so low that, again, any taxes they’d pay would hardly contribute to government funds). Also, in PA everyone pays the 6% sales tax.

    And no, illegal immigrants do not qualify for public assistance. That is a straight up myth. Some guy in college tried to tell me that African Americans and Hispanics can walk into county assistance offices and get checks, no questions asked. That is pure bullshit. I say that having applied for public assistance myself (hearing aids are not covered by health insurance, and my family can’t afford them). It took a damn year for my application to go through.

    Illegal immigrants apply for public assistance when they have children who are citizens (i.e. children who were born in the U.S.). They can get food stamps and medicaid for these children, but not for themselves. I don’t know where people get the idea that public assistance is a free-for-all, but I can assure you that the application process is complex, most forms are sent to families in English (i.e. they can’t even understand them), and the 6-month renewal process is complex and often causes people to lose their benefits. I know all this because my job is to help people apply for medicaid benefits for their children.

    I will add that by law, anyone born in the U.S. is a citizen and qualifies for benefits, provided that they meet all other requirements. This means children of illegal immigrants. If that’s a problem, call your Senators/Congressmen and ask them to repeal the 14th amendment.

    Also if you want to hear my rant about why we need immigration reform and agriculture policy reform, feel free to ask. Otherwise I’m not going there, waaaay too off topic.

  • Ted D

    Olive – “The fact is we demand cheap products, so we force farmers to pay low wages, or minimum wage (yes, minimum wage, not $5 a day. I don’t know a single illegal immigrant who works for $5 a day. If they did, they’d stay in their countries of origin).”

    I was using $5 a day to be drastic, I know it isn’t that bad…

    I am also fully aware that paying people a decent living wage to pick lettuce will drive the price up. So what? Let the market level and things will move on. I for one would gladly pay an extra dollar to two for a head of lettuce if it puts people to work and brings the economy back.

    “Illegal immigrants apply for public assistance when they have children who are citizens (i.e. children who were born in the U.S.). They can get food stamps and medicaid for these children, but not for themselves.”

    And this is still a problem. I’m sorry, but just because someone is born on our soil, should not make them a citizen by default. If the parents are here illegally, then they are not a legal citizen as far as I’m concerned. To me, that is a great excuse to allow people to stay here for years illegally. After all, you can’t deport them and their American child! And can you honestly say that any assistance they get is only for the child? Really? You don’t think they are feeding themselves on those food stamps too? While they continue to rip us off?!

    And I don’t think either of us can really fully prove whether illegals are pulling from assistance programs or not, because they are not legally documented. Further, Social Security is NOT, I repeat NOT federal taxes. Its great that some illegals are helping out, but honestly SS is in such sorry shape I don’t think it will help in the least. And, if the Fed left it alone as they should, that money wouldn’t be used for anything that income taxes support. I don’t care about SS, I want them to pay taxes to pay for our roads, our military, and our infrastructure. You know, the same roads they use to go to work illegally? The infrastructure they depend on to make money to send home to Mexico? The same military that protects them while they are living here illegally?

    I swear to God above I am not a racist. I welcome every single person that wants to be an American to come aboard. But don’t come here, rip me off, remain isolated from my society, and then expect me to be benevolent towards you. The key here is: wants to be an American. Not a Mexican leeching from America, but a real participating citizen.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    Err I’m not a citizen yet. Does that bothers anyone here?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Anacaona

      Err I’m not a citizen yet. Does that bothers anyone here?

      Not me. I firmly believe that immigrants to the U.S. are vitally important to our productivity. I also believe that many immigrants are excellent role models for Americans – they often show us what real work looks like. Finally, we are a nation of immigrants, it’s a crucial part of our identity as Americans. I believe that closing the doors, i.e. Fortress America, would be our undoing. America has always been the “open source” equivalent of nations. I support keeping out dangerous folks, but believe we should welcome as many immigrants as we can.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Err I’m not a citizen yet. Does that bothers anyone here?

    No, you being a non-citizen doesn’t bother me. But I support the deportation of Twilight fans. Just to let you know… :P

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Ted,
    Okay now you’ve really opened the Pandora’s box. Good job. :-P

    And this is still a problem. I’m sorry, but just because someone is born on our soil, should not make them a citizen by default. If the parents are here illegally, then they are not a legal citizen as far as I’m concerned.

    Yeah take that up with the writers of the constitution, not me.
    Also it’s possible my grandfather came here illegally through Canada, when he was 6. Does that mean my dad should be a citizen? He doesn’t speak Arabic and has never set foot in Syria. He’s no more or less American than you or me.

    Also I don’t think you understand the implications of what you’ve said. I’ve worked with tons of kids with illegal immigrant parents. They are Americans just like us. Where do you think they should go, to a country in which they’ve never lived? These children speak English, they have American friends in schools, they work hard and get good grades. They are normal children. I hate the anchor baby argument, I do believe it’s based in bigotry. I also hate the imagery of Mexicans as leeches, and I also think it’s based in racism (and no Ted, I don’t think you’re racist, but I think the media has had a field day creating the stereotype of the creepy illegal Mexican, and that stereotype is racist).

    And I don’t think either of us can really fully prove whether illegals are pulling from assistance programs or not, because they are not legally documented.

    Except that I work with illegal immigrants. I can assure you they are not pulling from assistance programs, except for the ones who are getting medical benefits and food stamps for their children who are citizens (P.S. the ones who aren’t citizens get diddly squat). I know you have a problem with that. Again, take it up with the feds, not me. We’re just helping people access programs for which they are eligible.

    Also, you do not appreciate how difficult it is to come here legally if you’re from Mexico. Right now people could wait 20 years if they tried to come the legal way. I know you’re answer: “so what? At least it’ll be legal.” So I want to talk about why we’ve experienced an influx in immigration from Mexico in the last 20 years or so.

    In the 1970s, the U.S. changed the way they subsidize agriculture products, namely grains, and they removed the price floor on corn. This means the bottom dropped out and our market was flooded with cheap corn. In 1994 we signed NAFTA with Mexico and Canada, and Mexican corn farmers couldn’t compete with our corn prices (check this link for more info on increased corn exports to Mexico: http://www.ers.usda.gov/amberwaves/june04/findings/MexicosCorn.htm). They were out of work, so they started coming to the U.S. looking for agriculture jobs. Since then, there have been several efforts to bring back a farm workers’ program (like the Bracero program from the ’40s-’60s), which would provide a legal path for seasonal workers to travel back and forth (and it’s not a bad idea. Labor is a good, and if we’re all in favor of free trade, shouldn’t we be in favor of labor trade?). But of course, these programs were met with disdain from the American public. John McCain proposed a farm worker program in 2007. Now he’s literally done a 180 on the issue because there’s so much negative media attention focused on immigration.

    So for now, people come here illegally and farmers pay under the table. You can see that the problem is systemic and requires policy change. No amount of complaining about “Mexican leeches” will keep them from coming here looking for work. To be honest, I wish that they’d stay in their country too; I think many Mexicans also wish to stay in their home country. But there’s just no work in the rural areas, and I firmly believe the U.S. has contributed significantly to the problem. Until we figure out immigration reform, some sort of guest worker program, and change the farm bill, it’s gonna keep being a problem. But in the meantime, we can’t treat children like crap because of the decisions their parents made. In other words, we cannot blame Mexican farmers for acting in their own self-interest. Instead, we must look at the issue from a policy perspective.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    The tech bubble topic is interesting as the Facebook IPO goes up for an insane amount. I think we need a new system, not this stock market/investments/shares/derivatives/fancy packages/interest-based fiat money system. The housing bubble reached those highs because of financial gaming. I realize there’s a need for investments, but the current system is becoming ridiculous.

    However, we’re ALL invested in the current system, from pensions to endowments to bonds to people’s livelihoods. Therein lies the problem, and so nobody wants to touch the goose that is supposed to be laying the golden eggs. When the eggs are rotten, they’re painted over and bought again as if they’re still golden, to keep the system running.

    The complexity of modern financial instruments rival any other traditional science, and many bright minds that could be dedicating their smarts to analyzing other issues are instead busy making money from finance. That is a recipe for more bubbles in the future, while leaving many of our current issues unsolved. Sometimes I pray for another genius like Tesla to come along and do for energy/medicine/cancer what he did for electricity. But that’s pretty unrealistic. :P

  • Ted D

    Anaconoa – you are married to an American, right? That counts. ;)

    Olive – Nice to see some spirited debate on a new subject. ;) (sorry Susan, I suck…)

    “Also I don’t think you understand the implications of what you’ve said. I’ve worked with tons of kids with illegal immigrant parents. They are Americans just like us. Where do you think they should go, to a country in which they’ve never lived? ”

    I think their parents should have been booted out before they were born. But yes, I do believe they should be deported along with their parents once they are found out. I realize the constitution says otherwise as it sits, and believe me I’ve done my fair share of bitching at my representatives about it. Of course it does not good, because there is much money to be made by allowing an illegal work force to exist, but that doesn’t make it right.

    And no amount of convincing will make me believe those food stamps are ONLY for the kids. Just like no amount of convincing that child support is for the kids will work either. The parents benefit from those services, and they should not. Period.

    “Also, you do not appreciate how difficult it is to come here legally if you’re from Mexico. Right now people could wait 20 years if they tried to come the legal way. I know you’re answer: “so what? At least it’ll be legal.” So I want to talk about why we’ve experienced an influx in immigration from Mexico in the last 20 years or so.”

    Actually I saw my brother-in-law and his wife go through tons of hoops after they married and came home. They met while he was stationed in Japan, and it took her years to become a citizen. I think it is utterly ridiculous that immigration is so damn difficult, but like anything else the government manages, its a cluster fuck. That doesn’t change the fact that these people are breaking the law. I’m all for immigration reform, but in the meantime, I would like to see a serious effort to deport the illegals here now. Once the process is changed, they should feel free to apply to come back.

    And it may be short sited of me, but I really don’t care WHY they are coming. To me, it makes perfect sense. Mexico is screwed. Their government is more corrupt than ours, and their economy is worse than ours as well. But why does that mean WE have to help? How about we fix our own house first, and then we can help others build theirs.

    Honestly if your grandfather came here illegally, then yeah your dad should have been deported. I come from an immigrant family. They came here legally, and followed the rules. That is all I’m asking for from the rest of the world: Come here if you want, but follow our rules. Until that happens, I don’t have much to discuss.

    For me, its all about what is legal, and what is not. If you are breaking the law, I have little sympathy for your cause.

  • Ted D

    Hope – ” I think we need a new system, not this stock market/investments/shares/derivatives/fancy packages/interest-based fiat money system.”

    You aren’t a capitalism hater, are you? I”m all about free markets, or at least minimally restricted markets.

    This is actually where I share the most common ground with real republican conservatives: the economy. When it comes to social stuff, I tend to lean libertarian a bit.

    Our economy is screwed for a lot of reasons, but at least one big part to me is how we operate internationally. There is NO way we can compete with other countries in a global market if we aren’t playing by the same rules. Sure its cheaper to make shoes in Mexico, because there the factory doesn’t have OSHA regulations, insane tax laws, and a higher general standard of living to address. I’m not an isolationist, but I truly believe we should not trade with any country that doesn’t meet our minimum safety requirements for workers, or the environment. I realize this would drive the price of good here up substantially, but I also expect that many jobs would come back to the U.S. since we couldn’t continue to import everything from China. Again, I would gladly pay a dollar or two for everything if it put my friends and neighbors to work. And we would all be better off in the end.

    Either that or we need to gut our tax laws, and reduce OSHA requirements for the workplace. If companies don’t have to go to China to make things cheaply, why would they bother? The only reason any of this occurred is because the price of doing business in the U.S. is too freaking high.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Sometimes I pray for another genius like Tesla to come along and do for energy/medicine/cancer what he did for electricity. But that’s pretty unrealistic. :P

    As far as cancer goes, I think the answer is going to require a shift in paradigm. In some ways, we’re going through that right now. And we’re being helped along by a terrible health care system. But I’d bet money that the answer to the widespread cancer problem is going to come from outside of the medical establishment and be related to health/nutrition/environmental toxins/stress and the whole field (if it can be said to be a field at all) of psychosomatics. Of course, there are a lot of quacks involved in that field, too, but any time you have people panning for riches, you’re going to have people trying to pass off fool’s gold.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Ted,

    I come from an immigrant family. They came here legally, and followed the rules. That is all I’m asking for from the rest of the world: Come here if you want, but follow our rules.

    Forgiving me if what I’m about to ask constitutes pulling a Ramble, but…. what would you do if you found out that your family lied to you and that they came over illegally? Would you pack up and move out of the country?

    Is it humane to ask someone to leave the only life they’ve ever known because of someone else’s wrong-doing? I obviously don’t think so, which is why I’m asking. I’m just wondering if you consider that humane.

    Btw, I think the situation with illegal immigrants in the US is an utter fiasco, and one that the government needs to address.

  • Ted D

    Jesus M. – now that I’m an adult, no. I’m no longer a dependent of an illegal immigrant, I have a real SS number, I pay my taxes. However, if it had been discovered while I was a minor? I wouldn’t have been in the least bit happy about it, but I would have left with my family to go wherever it was we belonged. It isn’t pretty, and in fact it is brutally harsh. But we are in a bad place, and brutally harsh is probably what we will need to fix it. There is no way to candy coat any of our issues now, and we are probably going to have to make some very hard decisions as a country to get things moving again.

    Let me ask you this? What does Mexico do with illegal immigrants? Brazil? Iran? China? Why do we have to be the ones who suck it up and roll over? What other countries blatantly allow people to come and continually break their laws without repercussion? I know we are the home of the free, but we the people have earned our freedom with blood, sweat, and tears. I am all about giving every single human being on this planet the same freedoms I enjoy, provided they follow the same rules I do to get them.

    And this is where I part with the founding fathers. I get where they were coming from with “rights from God”, but we as a country do not have the power to treat everyone equally. As I said in my last post, we can’t compete if we play by different rules. To me, you do not get the benefits and protections that being an American citizen provides until you truly are a citizen. That means, if you are here illegally, you do NOT instantly get the same rights as I do. If you want that, become a citizen. If not, go home.

  • Ted D

    As far as humane goes? Meh. It wouldn’t be humane to send them home if there was a firing squad waiting for them. But I don’t have a problem sending them out to fend for themselves. I’m not saying separate the children from their parents, send them ALL home together.

    Or for that matter, let them choose where we send them. If any other countries want to take them in, I won’t complain if we foot the bill for the trip.

  • Ysabelle

    I’m just curious as to whether Ted really knows the specifics of how his family came over two generations ago. Yeah I’m also really curious as to whether he’ll self deport if he learned his granddad maybe bought some papers some other way to come into this country. Olive has a right to stay here as much as you do. Her family has lived here and she is just as American as your sons.

    This country is made out of immigrants. Many first and second generation Americans had families that came all sorts of ways, fake papers, fake identities, seeking asylum from other types of countries. I know friends from Eastern European countries whose families fled here..outstayed their visas (illegal?!) and eventually got asylum. Their children as now ivy leaguers . Unless you can claim you’re a descendent of the Mayflower, your claim to this land is probably weaker than that of Native Americans.

    There’s a matter of legal regulations, and there’s a matter of humanity. This immigration system is flawed but at the very core, there’s a matter of human decency in treating people who come to our country looking for a better piece of life well. (Especially children that are born here..they’re just as American as Ted and his family). Some of them who are active contributors to this society. ridiculous.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Unless you can claim you’re a descendent of the Mayflower, your claim to this land is probably weaker than that of Native Americans.

    And, let’s face it, it’s weaker than the Natives even if your family came over on the Mayflower.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Let me ask you this?

    Sure.

    What does Mexico do with illegal immigrants?

    idk.

    Brazil?

    idk

    Iran?

    China?

    Why do we have to be the ones who suck it up and roll over?

    We’re America?

    What other countries blatantly allow people to come and continually break their laws without repercussion?

    idk

  • Jesus Mahoney

    You aren’t a capitalism hater, are you? I”m all about free markets, or at least minimally restricted markets.

    I’m not anti-capitalist, but you realize (if I’m wrong, Sue or Mike C or someone correct me) but you realize that capitalism going global (and, in the case of the real estate market, loco) is probably a lot more responsible for the financial ills of this country than Mexican day laborers, right?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jesus

      Re 2008: It’s not capitalism that’s to blame, it’s the failure to anticipate the degree of human greed and stupidity that can come together to create a perfect storm. Regulators fell down on the job in a big way. And it was politically expedient for everyone to look the other way. Both Republicans and Democrats enabled that fiasco. Not only that, we haven’t really solved that problem.

      Re global capitalism – what are you referring to here? The Euro?

  • Ted D

    It was my great grandfather and great grandmother that came here first. I honestly I have no idea if everything they did was legal. Probably not by today’s standard, but at the time I think all you had to do was show up and give a name.

    I’m not saying our current immigration laws aren’t bad, but I think it is more important to stop people from breaking the law first, and then address those issues.

    Jesus M – If the only reason we are taking it up the rear is because we are America, then maybe America needs to change. Once upon a time, when we were still the greatest superpower on earth, we had the luxury of being able to absorb anyone without issue. We are no longer the greatest country on earth, and we can no longer simply turn a blind eye as people from other countries dig away at our foundation. I’m a bit tired of the U.S. always taking the higher ground at the expense of its citizens. Should we be inhumane? Never. Should we provide for our own security, including securing our borders against criminals? Surely. Does that mean we may have to allow people to suffer because their own governments are corrupt. Most likely. But, I have an idea! How about we stop dealing with those governments? No more trade. No more assistance. If you want our help, get your people to follow the rules.

    Sorry, I’m all about helping others, but not at the expense of our own.

    Ysabel – “Her family has lived here and she is just as American as your sons.”

    Well, if in fact my family did come here illegally, then technically I am NOT American. And I never told Hope or anyone here to leave. She asked if her father should have been deported with her grandfather if he was here illegally and was caught, and I said yes. I still stand by that statement, as long as her father was still a minor. Again, if not, then at that point he was not a dependent of an illegal immigrant, and I have no issue granting full citizenship.

    “Unless you can claim you’re a descendent of the Mayflower, your claim to this land is probably weaker than that of Native Americans.”

    I don’t think anyone who’s family came over on the Mayflower are any more or less American than the descendant of an immigrant. We can go into what we did to the native Americans, but that is a totally different issue.

    “This country is made out of immigrants. Many first and second generation Americans had families that came all sorts of ways, fake papers, fake identities, seeking asylum from other types of countries. I know friends from Eastern European countries whose families fled here..outstayed their visas (illegal?!) and eventually got asylum. ”

    Asylum is a totally different discussion. If they were here illegally, they should have been given the boot. The thing is, once upon a time, being here legally wasn’t so damn difficult. I can’t help that. Just because I don’t like a law, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t follow it. In fact, as a good citizen, it is my duty to follow it to a “T”, and work within the system to have it changed. Breaking the law to “change” it is asking for anarchy. After all, if I don’t like laws saying I can’t set buildings on fire, it is still illegal for me to burn them down. And if I do, I should be sent to jail.

  • Ted D

    Jesus M. – “I’m not anti-capitalist, but you realize (if I’m wrong, Sue or Mike C or someone correct me) but you realize that capitalism going global (and, in the case of the real estate market, loco) is probably a lot more responsible for the financial ills of this country than Mexican day laborers, right?”

    Yep. I was responding to Hope’s comment that the current stock market setup is bad, or not optimal. That discussion was totally different than the immigration thing.

    Sorry for the confusion.

  • Ted D

    To be clear: my issues with illegal immigration are the following:
    1. they are breaking the law. NO one is above the law.
    2. they aren’t paying their fair share of taxes. Change tax law so they are, and I will disregard point one. (although I personally wouldn’t like it, I would deal)

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Capitalism on its own isnt the problem either. What caused the implosion was all the fake monopoly money they use to keep the schema going.

    Exchange real tangible goods for fake money, then implode the money when its off your hands and make your tangible goods worth twice as much. Rinse and repeat.

    We moved on from capitalism. We´re on something else.

  • Ted D

    Yohami – “We moved on from capitalism. We´re on something else.”

    I agree, and I have no idea what it is either. But again, we will NEVER be able to compete in a global market if all countries are not playing by the same rules. Ever.

    It. Can’t. Be. Done.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Ted D,

    To be clear: my issues with illegal immigration are the following:
    1. they are breaking the law. NO one is above the law.

    Money is above of the law. Actually – money can buy you a citizenship.
    I cant even travel to the USA because I dont have enough money on the bank.

    2. they aren’t paying their fair share of taxes. Change tax law so they are, and I will disregard point one.

    Point is most of the taxes are “illegal”. Most of that money goes to feed international banking, it doesnt even stay in the USA. Then most of the remaining money is lost in the bureaucrazy.

    I mean, laws and all…. taxes is not what the system needs to go back on track.

    If the immigrants are doing actual “work” they benefit the country they are in. If they are not productive or become criminals – then they dont. Taxes isnt the measure.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    What Yohami said.

    Look up fiat currency and the establishment of the fed.

    Too tired for this discussion… later. :P

  • Ted D

    Yohami – “Money is above of the law. ” Money is not someone. I said no ONE is above the law. I get your point, but it doesn’t change what I said.

    “Point is most of the taxes are “illegal”. Most of that money goes to feed international banking, it doesnt even stay in the USA. Then most of the remaining money is lost in the bureaucrazy.”

    I said our current tax law is ridiculous, and that we should stop supporting other countries that don’t play by the same rules.

    “I mean, laws and all…. taxes is not what the system needs to go back on track.”

    No, but taxes is what will fund our continually growing government. How else can we pay for public healthcare, retirement, and welfare?

    “If the immigrants are doing actual “work” they benefit the country they are in. If they are not productive or become criminals – then they dont. Taxes isnt the measure.”

    If they are doing actual “work” by undercutting legal citizens, then they may be doing beneficial work, but it doesn’t make it any less illegal. And, since they are here illegally, by default they ARE criminals. And you are right, taxes have very little to do with it. However, I will concede on the legality of it all if they start ponying up to support the Fed. Like I said, we need more money to feed our government.

    In fact, I’m all for free immigration for all! Come, register, pay taxes. My entire list of requirements to immigrate is: do it legally.

  • Ted D

    Hope – “Look up fiat currency and the establishment of the fed.”

    I don’t disagree with any of what Yohami said about “monopoly money”. But that is still another conversation.

    Am I frustrating you now? :P If so, don’t take it personally. I certainly don’t mean it. In fact, I hope no one takes this personally. When talking in the “grand scheme” of things, I tend to paint things very black and white. Person to person, I’m not nearly so, ummm, uptight? Staunch? Lord, I don’t know what to even call it…

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Ted,

    I said no ONE is above the law.

    Rich people are above of the law – not trying to talk philosophy or ethics or should and shouldnts here, its a fact.

    I said our current tax law is ridiculous, and that we should stop supporting other countries that don’t play by the same rules.

    Which countries is USA supporting with the tax system? what set of same rules?

    taxes is what will fund our continually growing government.

    Err. The more the government grows the more taxes it will consume right? what is the relation between a huge government and a hugely happy population? directly proportional? inverse proportional? none?

    How else can we pay for public healthcare, retirement, and welfare?

    How about… with your own money?

    Why you think med care, dental X services are so expensive? its not the goods, its not the hours… what is it? Id say the prices are over inflated because A) the credit bubble and B) they can charge that money when its subsidized and the state pays and C) you end up paying taxes so a tiny portion of it is used to overpay for stuff that wasnt so expensive to begin with. But guess what. Half of that huge wage of money that gets spent on med care… goes back to the taxes. Guess where all that money goes at the end of the day? hint, not the population.

    If the state cared about health and education AND enhancing the capital of the population, they could pair free education and med care with social service and stuff where people “pay” for the free services they receive, in exchange of actual, productive work that benefits society.

    Say you got a free law diploma, free whatever, now you have to use those skills to either launch startups or work at farms or save people or whatever until you pay the costs of your education and health.

    But in a system than procured to keep the capital in the population, instead of extracting the capital from the population, people would have more capital, people would be able to pay for their stuff – without having to send half of their earning to the state and aiming to get old enough so one day they might collect some back.

    If they are doing actual “work” by undercutting legal citizens, then they may be doing beneficial work, but it doesn’t make it any less illegal. And, since they are here illegally, by default they ARE criminals.

    Lindsay Lohan is more of a criminal than any mexican guy working on a kitchen.

    However, I will concede on the legality of it all if they start ponying up to support the Fed. Like I said, we need more money to feed our government.

    Feeding the Fed is what is ruining your country.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    We moved on from capitalism. We´re on something else.

    Yea, I know next to nothing about economics, so I’m fully prepared to get spanked by Sue on this one (it might even cheer up Munson a bit), but it seems to me that the free market destroyed capitalism. The spirit of capitalism is competition (businessmen competing for profits). What happens once the competition is won and the gov’t doesn’t disband the resulting monopolies is something very different.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Why you think med care, dental X services are so expensive? its not the goods, its not the hours… what is it? Id say the prices are over inflated because A) the credit bubble and B) they can charge that money when its subsidized and the state pays and C) you end up paying taxes so a tiny portion of it is used to overpay for stuff that wasnt so expensive to begin with.

    D) Malpractice insurance.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Ted,

    Law isn’t the same as ethics. There are plenty of law-abiding citizens who are raking the poor over hot coals, buying politicians with campaign donations, sexualizing young people for profit, and consciously manipulating what the MSM allows us to know.

    And then there are criminals who are pilfering corner stores to feed their children.

  • Ted D

    Yohami – “Which countries is USA supporting with the tax system? what set of same rules?” This was supposed to contrast our statement about how U.S. tax dollars are used to prop up the international bank system. I agree it’s BS. And, as far as what rules and which countries? How about our OSHA regulations, and any country that doesn’t have something similar?

    “How else can we pay for public healthcare, retirement, and welfare?
    How about… with your own money?

    Again, I’m with you 100%. I don’t think the government has ANY business at all running:
    1. healthcare
    2. retirement
    3. Welfare

    In fact, to me, the Fed should protect our borders, provide for common infrastructure, and of course create and maintain order. As for the rest? Let the private sector do it. Any half-assed company in existence could probably do as good or better a job running healthcare.

    As for costs? I spent the better part of 5 years working for a hospital. I was shocked when I found out how often medical facilities and doctors get screwed by insurance companies. The short of it is:
    To be able to accept any particular insurance plan, a doctor/facility has to apply and be accepted. That usually includes some kind of “buy in” cost. Then, anytime someone comes for a procedure, the doctor/facility only gets what the insurance company “thinks” is a fair price. So, if the operation costs $1000, and the insurance company only wants to pay $700, the remaining $300 is a loss. Now, we can argue if the operation actually costs $1000, but I don’t blame doctors one bit for inflating their costs so they can actually make money. And Jesus is also correct about malpractice. In the late 90′s we had some issues in Pittsburgh with a shortage of OB GYNs because the insurance costs for doctors delivering babies was sky high. So, these doctors had to PAY to get ripped off, and then had to pay higher insurance costs when people sued them, which was often because the doctor had to decide what care to provide based on what the insurance company would pay!

    “Lindsay Lohan is more of a criminal than any mexican guy working on a kitchen.”

    You are arguing in degrees, I am not. A criminal is a criminal. the only time degree comes into play is when deciding punishment. Deportation is not a punishment, it is what we should do when we catch someone here illegally.

    And lastly: “Rich people are above of the law – not trying to talk philosophy or ethics or should and shouldnts here, its a fact.”

    Not going to argue, but that still doesn’t change the basic premise. There is very little that can be done to make any system of laws fair to everyone. But, I would wager there are far fewer “rich people” taking advantage of their higher status than there are illegals in the country.

  • Ted D

    Jesus M. – “Law isn’t the same as ethics.”

    I know. I’m arguing law, and people keep throwing in ethics. I really don’t care about ethics when it comes to creating and maintaining the law. Ethics should come into play during the creation phase. As it stands, our immigration law is what it is, whether it is ethical or not. I’m not against fixing it at all, but I don’t think we should sit around waiting until it does. Instead, make a serious effort to find and send back illegal immigrants. If indeed we need them as some people claim, it should become apparent quickly, and that will start the ball rolling to get the law changed.

    It isn’t that I don’t want things to be better, but I want things to improve by the proper process. Unless of course we are talking about a full on revolution. Depending on who is leading it, I might buy in…

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Ted,

    Ah, okay. I’m the opposite. I don’t care about laws. I just care about my ethics.

    Revolutions are almost always led by the wrong people. Or else taken over by the wrong people after those wrong people murder the right ones. I think the American Revolution was an anomaly.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Sue, the Euro? I’m not smart enough to talk about the Euro. I was talking about globalization in general.

    I thought the real estate fiasco was the result of giving bad loans good ratings and then packaging those loans to sell as “low-risk.” But honestly, I’ll believe whatever you tell me.

    What I meant was that once a company or small group of companies has cornered a market, it has effectively destroyed the ability of upstarts to compete. Or no? But if yes, then the nature of capitalism changes then, doesn’t it?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jesus

      I thought the real estate fiasco was the result of giving bad loans good ratings and then packaging those loans to sell as “low-risk.” But honestly, I’ll believe whatever you tell me.

      That was the end game that brought down the house of cards. But first bad loans were knowingly given in great quantities. Both GW Bush and Barney Frank favored extremely relaxed criteria so that we could boast about the rate of American home ownership. There’s a lot of blame to go around, but it was brewing for years. So we had people with lousy credit and insufficient income taking mortgages they had to know they might default on. Greed. We had the government and banks promoting those loans aggressively. Greed. And then we had Wall St. packaging those bad loans and selling them without disclosing the risk. Double greed.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      What I meant was that once a company or small group of companies has cornered a market, it has effectively destroyed the ability of upstarts to compete. Or no? But if yes, then the nature of capitalism changes then, doesn’t it?

      You know, I don’t think so. All my lefty friends despise Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and all the chain restaurants that took over Harvard Square. But they didn’t patronize those mom and pop stores. They went to Costco for the prices. So you have a small group of companies cornering the market on hardware, say. You have one very large company selling a large share of the books purchased in the world.

      That isn’t the end of opportunity. Capitalism means someone will figure out how to offer a better product, the same product at a lower price, or the same product with service worth paying a premium for.

      Doing much of my shopping via Amazon Prime and at Costco saves me time and a bunch of money. That’s efficiency.

      Upstarts who add value do compete successfully. Look at Jet Blue and Virgin America.

      Capitalism as an economic system is not perfect, but it’s far superior to any other system (to paraphrase Churchill), IMO.

  • Ramble

    Forgiving me if what I’m about to ask constitutes pulling a Ramble …

    Stay Classy San Diego.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    No, you being a non-citizen doesn’t bother me. But I support the deportation of Twilight fans. Just to let you know…

    If you really think the no fans and antifans are going to make America a better place to live… :p

    Anaconoa – you are married to an American, right? That counts.
    I’m trying to make half anchor babies ;)

    Money is above of the law. Actually – money can buy you a citizenship.
    I cant even travel to the USA because I dont have enough money on the bank.

    Oh boy so true. I got rejected for my visa just because of that.

    @Ted
    You are assuming that 1 illegal above the law act, means that the person is leaning to always act against the law when more often than not this people are hard working people with few opportunities in their own country that thrive and work hard once they finally see their effort having fruits. And I tell you that both from the perspective that know several immigrants both in USA and as a person that was against Haitian discrimination and deportation from my own country. Haitians are doing the jobs Dominicans won’t do and they encounter similar arguments and terrible treatment from the “patriots”…patriots my ass if you pardon my french this pure Dominicans violate all sorts of laws when they don’t suit their needs even if our nation suffers as a consequences. I rather have a good illegal worker than a bad born and raised one, YMMV.
    I don’t know your sources but you need to dig further immigrants do a lot more good for the countries they go than bad. Whoever sold you the image of the illegal immigrant as a resources vampire has all the wrong facts. My husband told me a story of how a state that created laws against immigrant workers and is struggling financially. You are assuming that getting rid of the illegals will make Americans take those jobs magically. They won’t.
    And no I don’t take personally I can see how for someone not in the know it looks the way you see it. But you should do a bit more of research on the subject with open eyes and open mind, YMMV.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Sue,

    Thanks. All of that makes good sense.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    “What I meant was that once a company or small group of companies has cornered a market, it has effectively destroyed the ability of upstarts to compete”

    Once upon a time, Sears Roebuck stood like a colossus over American retailing; who would have imagined that a bunch of hicks from Arkansas would succeed at their expense? The steel industry was dominated by US Steel and Bethlehem Steel, with their vast integrated steel mills…how could they take seriously a little startup called Nucor, which was using something called a mini-mill? IBM dominated the computer industry so thoroughly that the industry was called “IBM and the Seven Dwarfs.”

    Entrenched market position is only sustainable when backed by government power, and sometimes not even then.

    My most recent post: Author Appreciation: Rose Wilder Lane

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Olive – Nice to see some spirited debate on a new subject. (sorry Susan, I suck…)

    I agree. I actually really like talking about this, it’s one of the reasons I got into social work.

    I think their parents should have been booted out before they were born. But yes, I do believe they should be deported along with their parents once they are found out.

    Yeah this makes me sad. I know I can’t convince you otherwise, but to me, the idea of deporting children to a country they’ve never known is highly upsetting. The 14th Amendment was passed back in 1868, for good reason. It’s just dehumanizing to lump a bunch of children together and call them “children of criminals” and punish them for decisions their parents made. By the way, I’m also 100% in favor of the Dream Act, which would help children who were brought here illegally become citizens. I knew a child who came to the U.S. when she was 6 months old (hardly her choice). She was deported at the age of 10. She had to pick up her whole life and leave, she went back to Mexico, the kids made fun of her for her accent. How would you feel exposing your own kids to a drastic change like that?

    And it may be short sited of me, but I really don’t care WHY they are coming. To me, it makes perfect sense. Mexico is screwed. Their government is more corrupt than ours, and their economy is worse than ours as well. But why does that mean WE have to help?

    Because we are partly responsible for the problem. Go back and read what I wrote. It may have been an unintended consequence of poorly thought-out policy, but now we need to team up with Mexico to figure out a solution. We also have a stake in Mexico’s political/economic situation. We are border countries. There’s some concern that gang/drug violence will spill over the border into Texas (my brother is all for military intervention, and to be honest, he has a good argument for it). The problem is you’re thinking of it as Us vs. Them. Instead, think about it like this: it’s in our own best interest to team up with Mexico. It’s not in our interest to blame Mexican workers for our problems.

    Also, in case you didn’t notice, our country does benefit from illegal immigrants. I’ve read papers claiming that they contribute several billion dollars to our economy. They are hard-working, and frankly, despite what you and Tara say about people wanting to do skilled/unskilled labor, I maintain that Americans do not want agriculture jobs. Tara brought up that minimum wage is not sustainable, and that’s why people don’t want ag. jobs. I call bullshit. People do minimum wage jobs all the time.

    Also I wouldn’t call agriculture “unskilled labor.” You don’t know how much skill it takes until you do it.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Re: ethics vs. law, laws come out of ethics. We cannot separate the two, and it’s silly to try to do so.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Ted,
    2 more points (damn I missed a lot yesterday).

    1) I think you’re suggesting that we send every single illegal immigrant back to his own country (for the record, there are about 12 million of them). Talk about a cluster fuck. Sounds like a logistical nightmare. Let’s just fix the damn laws. I don’t understand your need to punish every single person who has come to this country illegally. Have they not suffered enough, walking through the Arizona desert, risking rape and heat stroke? Living with the fear that making the smallest mistake (even something as simple as running a red light) could get them deported? Knowing that if they do get deported, they will go back to a country full of gangs and extortionists, with half the police force working for them?

    Mexico is a fucking disaster right now. For a lot of reasons. But who can blame someone for wanting to get the fuck out? Who can blame someone for risking his life to pay a coyote several thousand dollars to help his family trek across the desert, to come to a place with more opportunities? I dunno Ted. In my opinion, you have a very simplistic view of the issue. Do you have any Mexican friends? How would you feel if you found out your best friend was an illegal immigrant? Would you report him to the police?

    2) I don’t get where you’re going with this:

    But, I have an idea! How about we stop dealing with those governments? No more trade. No more assistance.

    What? No trade? The number one libertarian position on international policy is that we should be taking full advantage of free trade with as many countries as possible. Otherwise we only miss out on the opportunity to import goods that we cannot make in the U.S., and export goods that other countries cannot make. Your fellow libertarians love that shit.

    I’m with Anacaona on this one, Ted. I think you need to do some more research. And hang out with some Mexicans. I can give you a list of really good Mexican restaurants in Pittsburgh. :-P

    And the reason I’m pounding away is because it’s voters like you to whom the politicians are trying to appeal right now. It’s the reason we can’t find any solutions to the damn problem. Because the minute someone mentions some sort of comprehensive immigration reform beyond “border security,” he risks losing the next election. So for now, everyone just uses it as a way to get more voters. There’s no effort to solve the thing.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    Re: immigration. My parents and I were legal immigrants, but with a catch. My father was studying at an American university on a student visa, and my mother was here as his spouse. They had both gotten medical degrees from Chinese universities and were considered doctors in China, but that doesn’t count in America, and getting a degree from an American university is more prestigious.

    A few years after that in 1989, Tiananmen Square happened, and all of the Chinese students abroad received green cards (permanent residence status) because of that incident (a political amnesty of sorts). So my parents both got green cards, and then I was able to get a green card as well under those rules. Later, my mother and I both officially became U.S. citizens.

    So if that violent incident had not happened in China, I would not be here. There are lots of little accidents that lead to people becoming American citizens. It was still a huge, long, expensive and convoluted process to for us come here as legal immigrants, and it does rub me the wrong way that others can get citizenship so much more easily. Illegal immigration happened throughout history, and it will likely continue to happen. Funny thing is that China also has some issues with immigration from North Korea and other neighboring nations. I believe most other countries are rather harsh on this type of thing, much harsher at least than America. It is to America’s credit that it is as tolerant of multiculturalism as it is.

  • Tom

    cancer is actually a fungus that a doctoer is curing with sodium bicarbinate. Look it up. The reason cancer is not cured in the US is because it is a 200+ billion dollar industry.
    Dont be fooled by “misinformation” nothing more than propaganda

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    You are arguing in degrees, I am not. A criminal is a criminal.

    How many times did you speed on the highway? Does that make you a criminal?

    Also changing my tune a little to discuss healthcare.

    The problem with the healthcare system, as Yohami has already hinted at, is that we have private providers, but the largest payer is public. Since Medicaid and Medicare were funded in the early-mid 20th Century (actually I should look up the exact date, coming up on one of my tests :-P ), healthcare costs have gone through the roof. As Ted notes, insurance companies determine healthcare costs to a great extent, and they can charge the fed an obscene amount of money, because the fed has “unlimited spending power,” so to speak. It’d be much different if consumers were paying for healthcare directly. Yeah who knows how to solve that problem.

    Actually, I’d argue that something very similar is happening with education. The government is the primary upfront payer (loans), and the educational institutions are private (even public schools operate privately, to a certain extent). The more loans the government offers, the more schools know they can jack up their tuition rates. Great way to fuck over students so you can build that nice new gym and… attract more students! I wonder what would happen if fewer student loans were offered.

  • http://www.Lisaland.net LisaB

    This was a fascinating article. (A friend of mine pointed me to one of your more recent posts and now I’m hooked!)

    I’ve had two female bosses thus far. The first, a VP at an international E/A firm, was amazing. I had (and still do) so much respect for her. I admired how talented, independent and feisty she was. I miss working for her. I learned so much and she treated me very well.

    The second female boss I had was given the job of “boss” by her mother, the founder of the biz. This boss snorted coke in her office and screamed at people over really strange stuff. She spent more time on shopping websites than doing any actual work, stole ideas, and at one point, told my husband if he’d invent an excuse to get away for a weekend, they could meet up and she’d f*ck his brains out. (Nice, huh?) The business was very successful when I worked there. But it’s gone now. This boss ran it into the ground.

    What I’ve taken away from both experiences is that one person’s toxicity can infect an entire group (or office) of people. A leader gets the best results from their workforce if they treat people with respect, set a positive example, treat others with fairness, and give credit where credit is due. It is unfortunate, though that some people never figure that out.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @LisaB

      Welcome to HUS, thanks for leaving a comment. Hope to see you again soon!

      What I’ve taken away from both experiences is that one person’s toxicity can infect an entire group (or office) of people. A leader gets the best results from their workforce if they treat people with respect, set a positive example, treat others with fairness, and give credit where credit is due.

      I have heard of some companies with 360 degree evaluations, given anonymously, of course. This tends to identify the toxic employees, based on how their peers and subordinates experience them, and they may be given special counseling or work with a coach to improve their skills. In the cases I’m aware of, this hasn’t had much effect, unfortunately. People usually don’t get fired for having poor interpersonal skills if they’re delivering on the goals assigned by the organization. Of course, it’s much more difficult to quantify what results might improve with a different approach, so it often gets overlooked.

  • http://traditionalchristianity.wordpress.com/ Laceagate

    This reminds me of Queen Bee syndrome.

    My workplace’s CEO is a man, but honestly it’s the two women working alongside him who run the show. My boss’s boss is a man, but he has unfortunately succumbed to whatever is their running of the show. I refuse to call it leadership.

    What happens in the workplace is quite the experiment. It’s amazing to see what happens when someone has a title. A title does not entitle one!

  • Mike C

    This tends to identify the toxic employees, based on how their peers and subordinates experience them, and they may be given special counseling or work with a coach to improve their skills. In the cases I’m aware of, this hasn’t had much effect, unfortunately. People usually don’t get fired for having poor interpersonal skills if they’re delivering on the goals assigned by the organization.

    In my sub-group (within the overall department) there are 3 financial analysts, 2 women and myself. One of the women is conniving, manipulative, two-faced, gossips about the boss behind his back, gossips about other people and that just scratches the surface. I have a hard time imagining a worse human being. That said, she is very, very, very good at the work and truly masterful at Excel and any sort of quantitative analysis, much better then I’ll ever be (and she has taken opportunities to make me look bad). They’d have to hire 2-3 more analysts to replace her output especially on crunch-time analysis.

    I have to admit I am perplexed why she is such a total b*tch. The other woman in our group who I am friendly with sits next to here cubicle and overhears her bitchiness on a daily basis.

  • http://www.Lisaland.net LisaB

    “People usually don’t get fired for having poor interpersonal skills if they’re delivering on the goals assigned by the organization.”

    I agree! I had a (male) boss (editor) who was especially nasty to work for. He started out as a reporter. But he’d alienated so many people that most of the city council, police, and other community leaders refused talk to him. So the newspaper promoted him to editor where he wouldn’t have to interact with sources. So yeah, he was REWARDED for his lack of personal skills.

  • Jackie

    @MikeC (#470)
    Mike C, regarding your co-worker’s source of weakness (unkindness towards others, “back-biting” etc):

    Have you noticed anything that sets off a disproportionate reaction in her? (Reaction: Like touching a hot stove :: Response: Involving thought before action, I mean.)

    Some people have had crazy backgrounds — not that it’s any excuse for her behavior. But more of an understanding.

    I know someone (who is EXTREMELY successful at his profession) got hit with a belt for each mark below 100 on his tests. 93 = Hit 7 times :(
    You don’t want to be around if anyone even insinuates he may be *possibly* mistaken. :(

    This co-worker could be just a jerk. But I would watch for things that ellicit “over the top” reactions and observe the body language, tone, kinesthetics, visuals, words or any submodalities that stick out. She may be spitting clues at you.

    Hope she gets better or gets transferred. And SOON!

  • Jackie

    @Olive & Ted (#462)

    I have to co-sign Olive’s belief that laws are derived from ethics. If we don’t have ethics, what good are our laws? What’s the point of obeying them if they aren’t grounded in ethics?

    This came up today with a client: If by some strange happenstance, we were at war and I was drafted and was expected to kill people, I would rather be jailed.

    We were talking about Thoreau’s _Civil Disobedience_ . The dude was jailed for not paying taxes (among other things!) and he said he was immensely more free in jail by living according to his conscience.

    This is completely off topic! Sorry for the rambling…

    PS: But I did love how HDT described how people greeted those recently released from jail: They would make a kind of bar pattern with their fingers, hands at 90 degree angles; and they would hold their hands in front of their face to make it look like a prison grate and ask the jailbird “How do ye do?” ;)

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    LisaB…”So the newspaper promoted him to editor where he wouldn’t have to interact with sources. So yeah, he was REWARDED for his lack of personal skills.”

    Terrible management, and whoever made the decision to do that should have been fired himself. But what happened next? I would think the editor’s obnoxious personality would have made it difficult for him to hire/retain good employees, and this would have shown up sooner or later in his own results.

    My most recent post: Rose Wilder Lane

  • Lindsay

    @Susan:

    You’re absolutely right, 360-degree evaluations don’t work. Quickly to set the background, I’m on the unemployment line because I left my old job for a promising director position, which was taken away when one executive did not want the business going in the direction I was specifically hired to take it. (It hurt like hella. But I’m mostly over it.) So when I was on my way out of my old job – and when I say “old job” on HUS, I’m referring to the position I held for quite a while, where I was a strong manager, performer, and innovator – my boss, an executive, wanted me to do a 360-degree evaluation of another department leader. He had learned this was the latest thing in management trends, and decided he was implementing it. He was implementing it also specifically because he wanted the documentation needed to remove that department leader, who was an under-performer.

    So while I myself had far more setbacks at that job than my performance and accomplishments warranted, and was thus VERY wary of upsetting my boss (I certainly don’t blame “all men” – I work in tech in a Midwestern city with one of the worst gender pay gaps and most gender-segregated workforces in the country, and the setbacks I’ve experienced are not unique here), I also knew the departmental manager I was supposed to evaluate was in my boss’s crosshairs. My boss always sounded disgusted with him when we had our one-on-ones, and told me all the things he had done unintentionally to screw up. He was hired about a year into my tenure there, and though he had a good heart, he was not effective. Many times, he nearly lost us major clients because of stupid mistakes, and I and others had to fix them.

    But I also knew that this under-performer, we’ll call him “Mike,” had suffered several major setbacks in his time there. An illness that he was unable to sufficiently recover from due to his workload weakened him, and several other male department heads and senior employees sabotaged him, which he did not combat quickly enough, because he’s not astute in office politics. Worse, my boss was doing some major things unknowingly to facilitate the inefficiencies, and since he was seldom in, he didn’t see the day to day effects of his doings, but they impacted Mike, and the well-being of Mike’s department, disproportionately. So I had to point out where Mike was failing, but I was painfully aware of the fact that it wasn’t totally his fault, either. I also had to weigh judging him against judging mitigating factors, which could ultimately look like a diss of my boss’s competency and management abilities. It was one of the most excruciatingly difficult things I’ve done in my working career to date. It made me feel trapped, and damned no matter what I ultimately wrote.

    Finally, in the evaluation, I decided to go into “Computer Mode” and stick to facts. “Mike did X, Y, and Z well, and here’s why. Mike did not do A and B well, and here is what he can change to do A and B well this year.” It saved Mike’s job, but my boss wasn’t totally happy about my alluding to some organizational difficulties causing Mike’s poor performance. (He did get over it though – we spoke on the phone during my last day, and he said, referencing me, “You don’t know you have a good thing sometimes until it’s gone.) But Mike is upset with me. Fortunately, a female employee who indirectly reported to me offered a lovely recommendation, which I can use as my character reference in lieu of Mike’s. She is a rising star, and I endorsed her to my boss and advocated for her being tracked to management, not out of the spirit of “women must stick together,” but because she was deserving – I also endorsed a rising-star guy while there. But, Mike’s name and title carry more weight than hers does.

    I’m sad that the 360-degree evaluation caused a rift between Mike and me. And more than that, I’m sad about the fact that, in the best of circumstances, this type of evaluation forces you to be blunt, pragmatic, and cautious about reviewing someone’s performance all at once, and breeds feelings of resentment once its contents are unveiled. And in the worse of circumstances, it facilitates lying, backstabbing, and sabotage. While it’s COMPLETELY useless as a business tool, it it will expand in prominence and popularity because it’s the “hot thing” for management. It enables executives to shift the burden of running the business to managers down the chain, freeing them up for higher-value tasks.

    If and when I manage teams again, I will never use it. And I don’t want to work for a company that does, lest I fall under the wrath of someone out to get me, like some of the “bad bosses” and “bad employees” mentioned in this article and its ensuing comments. In this economy, no one can take such a risk. I’m on the market now. It’s brutal out there.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Lindsay

      There is no way that 360 evaluations can work in small groups. None! Anonymity is key, or the feedback won’t be honest. Also, as you’ve just described, they’re too easily turned into a weapon. I know one woman who is a real shrew at the office, and her evaluations were devastating. She is quite senior. Her response to her sit-down with HR was to call the department together and demand to know who said what. Of course, no one spoke up, at which point she said that the whole group would pay, literally. Bonuses are expected to reflect her displeasure. Meanwhile, her own superiors, who have to be aware, are avoiding dealing with it.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Off-topic, but Susan, I thought this was interesting. I recently reviewed the work of Rose Wilder Lane (daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, of “Little House on the Prairie” fame)–although Lane is basically known as a writer on political philosophy, she was also a novelist, and I thought her 1919 book “Diverging Roads” was fascinatingly modern in aspects of its portrayal of the relationship between the sexes. The following scene, in which the protagonist’s friends are discussing the shortage of good men, could have been lifted from the Atlantic Monthly article of a couple months back or maybe from some threads on this blog…
    ***
    Dodo sat up, sweeping her long, fine hair backward over her shoulders.

    “Of course not. Jim ‘s all right to play around with—” But when it comes to marrying him — exactly. There are only two kinds of men, strong and weak. You despise the weak ones, and you won’t marry the strong ones.”

    and

    “Willetta ‘s right, just the same,” Dodo declared through their laughter. “It ‘s the money that’s at the root of it. You don’t want to marry a man you’ll have to support — not that you’d mind doing it, but his self-respect would go all to pieces if you did.And yet you can’t find a man who makes as much money as you do, who cares about music and poetry and things. I’m putting money in the bank and reading Masefield. I don’t see why a man can’t. But somehow I’ve never run across a man who does.”
    ***

    My most recent post: Rose Lane Wilder

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @david foster

      That’s incredible. From 1919 to 2012 just like that. So – the dynamic was clearly the same. Is it the numbers that have changed?

  • http://bloggingbellita.wordpress.com/ Bellita

    @David

    You’re right that it is fascinating.

    I wonder how much rationalization and/or projection is in the line, “Not that you’d mind doing it, but his self-respect would go all to pieces if you did.”

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    I think it’s numbers that have changed. From the continuation of the same discussion:
    ***
    “If you ‘re right, Anne, it *s a poor outlook for
    the race. Think of all the women like us — thous-
    ands more every year — who don’t have children.
    We ‘re really the best type of women. We ‘re the
    women that ought to have them.”

    “We are not!” said Dodo. “We’re freaks.
    We don’t represent the mass of women. We go
    around and around in our little circles and think
    we ‘re modern women because we make a lot of
    noise. But we are n’t. We ‘re of no importance at
    all, with our charity boards and our social surveys
    and our offices. It ‘s the girls who marry in their
    teens — millions of ‘em, in millions of the little
    homes all over America — that really count.”
    ***
    The protagonist’s women friends at this point in the novel as San Francisco intellectuals with careers, surely a much rarer species in 1919 than now.

    Lane also draws an interesting portrait of the man Helen was involved with before going off to the city and meeting her bad-boy real estate developer…initially he is drawn as pretty Beta, but when she considers getting back with him after the marriage with real-estate guy implodes, he has become extremely rigid and dominating, and doesn’t want Helen to even drive a car.

    Worth reading…it’s available free on-line in full text, PDF, and Kindle formats.

  • Ted D

    Olive – “The 14th Amendment was passed back in 1868, for good reason. “

    I agree. And 2012 is a totally different time. When the 14th Amendment was passed we were not under invasion by mass numbers of border crossing illegals.

    “By the way, I’m also 100% in favor of the Dream Act, which would help children who were brought here illegally become citizens. I knew a child who came to the U.S. when she was 6 months old (hardly her choice). She was deported at the age of 10. She had to pick up her whole life and leave, she went back to Mexico, the kids made fun of her for her accent. How would you feel exposing your own kids to a drastic change like that?”

    If the “Dream Act” is legally passed, then I will support it. And, as far as it goes, it is 100% the parent’s fault for “exposing your own kids to a drastic change like that.” That responsibility rests solely on them.

    “ It may have been an unintended consequence of poorly thought-out policy, but now we need to team up with Mexico to figure out a solution. We also have a stake in Mexico’s political/economic situation. We are border countries. There’s some concern that gang/drug violence will spill over the border into Texas (my brother is all for military intervention, and to be honest, he has a good argument for it). The problem is you’re thinking of it as Us vs. Them. Instead, think about it like this: it’s in our own best interest to team up with Mexico. It’s not in our interest to blame Mexican workers for our problems.”

    I’m sorry, but it IS us against them. The Mexican government will NOT work “with us” to solve this problem because they are profiting from it. All the U.S. money sent back to Mexican families means more money in the Mexican economy. I am ALL FOR military action to stop the border violence. But, I’m not talking about a “military presence”, I mean a full on “shoot first ask question later” kind of operation.

    “Also, in case you didn’t notice, our country does benefit from illegal immigrants. I’ve read papers claiming that they contribute several billion dollars to our economy. “

    I’ve also seen stories about how some small towns in California are almost completely supported by marijuana growing. It doesn’t make it legal, and it should either be made legal, or stopped. I have no doubt that illegal workers are contributing to our economy, but they are not doing it legally, and that money is hard to account for since it isn’t made legally. I think our economy would be helped just as much if they were all legal and paid taxes.

    “I maintain that Americans do not want agriculture jobs.”

    Correction: I maintain that Americans do not want agriculture jobs at the wages currently paid to illegal workers. If it paid more, in this kind of economy, I suspect there would be people willing to do the work. Again, we won’t know until the illegal workers are out of the equation.

    “ethics vs. law, laws come out of ethics. We cannot separate the two, and it’s silly to try to do so.”

    I stated that ethics come into play when a law is created. Our immigration law is established. The only legal way to fix this is to change the law. But, that does not mean we should give a free pass to illegals while we wait.

    “Do you have any Mexican friends? How would you feel if you found out your best friend was an illegal immigrant? Would you report him to the police?”

    Yes, I know several people of Mexican lineage. They are all legally here. If I found out my best friend was here illegally, I would do my best to get him to get ‘legit’, but I don’t know what I would do if he didn’t. I would stop associating with him at least, but in the end I can say I certainly wouldn’t protect him from deportation. But actually calling the cops on him? Man, I honestly don’t know.

    “Your fellow libertarians love that shit.”

    I said I only tend to lean libertarian on some social issues. Mostly the ones that say the government needs to get out of my personal business. Other than that, I’m pretty conservative in general.

    “And the reason I’m pounding away is because it’s voters like you to whom the politicians are trying to appeal right now. It’s the reason we can’t find any solutions to the damn problem. Because the minute someone mentions some sort of comprehensive immigration reform beyond “border security,” he risks losing the next election. “

    It’s cool. But know that I’ve felt and voted this way for several decades now, and it is unlikely to change. I understand where you are coming from. You view this as a human problem. I don’t. I view this is a policy and security problem. Again, I have NO problem with anyone coming here to start a better life. I have a huge problem with people coming here illegally to do so. My primary concern is to secure the border, no matter what it takes. Then, we can talk about ways to fix the other issues.

    “How many times did you speed on the highway? Does that make you a criminal?”

    yes it does. And when I was caught I was given a ticket. If you are here illegally, and you are caught, the process says you go back from where you came.

    Jackie – “I have to co-sign Olive’s belief that laws are derived from ethics. If we don’t have ethics, what good are our laws? What’s the point of obeying them if they aren’t grounded in ethics?”

    Like I said, ethics come into play when a law is created. Our immigration law is created and in place. Not much to discuss ethically. We should enforce it. If you want it changed, work within the process to have it modified. Don’t use a bad law as an excuse to do things illegally.

    “This came up today with a client: If by some strange happenstance, we were at war and I was drafted and was expected to kill people, I would rather be jailed.”

    I don’t know what army would want my 41yo out of shape ass, but if I was drafted I would serve as best I could. That is the price for being a citizen. I may not like it, but if it was my duty I would serve.

    Jesus M. – “Ah, okay. I’m the opposite. I don’t care about laws. I just care about my ethics.”

    Following process and procedure is a big thing for me. I completely understand the need for ethics when establishing laws. But once they are established, they should be enforced. If they are not “ethical”, then they should be changed through the proper process, or we should revolt. Probably the J in my ISTJ speaking here, but intentionally breaking the law is NOT a valid way of protest, despite what Martin Luther King Jr. and others may have said. Civil Disobedience should result in jail time if the protesters are breaking the law.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Ted,

    In some ways, we’re polar opposites. You said, “Don’t use a bad law as an excuse to do things illegally.” I would counter that with, “Don’t use a bad law as an excuse to do things unethically.”

  • Ted D

    Jesus M. – “In some ways, we’re polar opposites. You said, “Don’t use a bad law as an excuse to do things illegally.” I would counter that with, “Don’t use a bad law as an excuse to do things unethically.””

    Touche ;)

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    “Revolutions are almost always led by the wrong people. Or else taken over by the wrong people after those wrong people murder the right ones. I think the American Revolution was an anomaly.”

    It just happened much slower.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    “We’re freaks.
    We don’t represent the mass of women. We go
    around and around in our little circles and think
    we ‘re modern women because we make a lot of
    noise. But we aren’t. We ‘re of no importance at
    all, with our charity boards and our social surveys
    and our offices. “

    Suffragettes.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    ” I completely understand the need for ethics when establishing laws. But once they are established, they should be enforced. If they are not “ethical”, then they should be changed through the proper process, or we should revolt.. Civil Disobedience should result in jail time if the protesters are breaking the law.”

    There are bad laws, just as there are bad people, & it is the duty of every citizen to judge when to obey & when not to obey their government.

    Revolution necessarily requires the breaking of laws.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    There are bad laws, just as there are bad people, & it is the duty of every citizen to judge when to obey & when not to obey their government.

    Revolution necessarily requires the breaking of laws.

    +1.

    Every new yes rests atop a no.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    @Byron
    Cosign. I love laws and rules (I could had marry laws and have little half laws and half human babies :)) but I’m not a blind follower the origin of law is to bring justice and fairness if the law fairs to do that in an individual case we should be instructed enough to act accordingly.
    Ted reminds me of Inspector Flaubert in Les Miserable so in love with the law to incarcerate Jean Valjean that he was blind to the fact that the purpose of punishment was not needed anymore he reformed and he was making more good outside in the world than if he got committed, no to mention the crime was not in line with the punishment by any measure. I just hope he doesn’t do what the inspector does once he finds out that he ValJean is a more moral and ethical than he will ever will.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    Yep, these matters have been on my mind of late. There was a case here a little while back where a man who had sent letters to the police 30 years ago claiming to be the Yorkshire Ripper (a serial killer from the early 1980′s) got pulled over for drunk driving in the present day. He was identified because of his DNA (never lick another envelope, people) & given at least 10 years in jail, if I remember correctly.

    Now, I can understand wanting to make some sort of example of him to deter others in future, but literally every single cell of that man’s body is different (several times over) from the person who broke the law 30 years earlier: they’re not even punishing the same man. What is the point of locking up a person who is no danger to others?

    I don’t like it. I don’t for that matter like the hunting down of geriatric men in wheelchairs because they once served in the German army, 70 years ago. There is justice & there is vengeance. Unfortunately, vengeance plays much better to the crowd.

  • Ted D

    “There are bad laws, just as there are bad people, & it is the duty of every citizen to judge when to obey & when not to obey their government.”

    I disagree. It is the duty of every citizen to follow the law, and work within the established processes to change those laws that are flawed. I never “obey” the government, but I honor the law and the social contract it implies. Imagine a world where everyone simply selected which laws to follow, and which to disregard. There would be no sustainable way for a society to function if everyone did not follow the rules.

    Anacanoa – I’m not in love with the law at all. In fact there are many laws that I feel are completely useless and/or outdated (including immigration law), but that does not mean I should break them. Without law, we would have chaos. I have no problem with revising the laws as we evolve, but the first step should never be break the law and then change it. Again, we have procedures for changing established law. They should be followed until the day the changes are completed.

    I never claimed to be any more or less moral than anyone here. Again, morality isn’t the issue for me here. And I have no doubt at all that there are people here at HUS that may be more moral and humane than I am. This is a security and policy issue. Simple and clean. Our borders are not secure, and immigrants are not following our policy in regards to legal immigration. I don’t really consider the actual people this affects, as that would bring emotion into the equation, and when it comes to law and justice I don’t think emotion has any place in it.

    Byron – so, this guy admitted to being a serial killer years ago, was caught by accident, and you have a problem with him being sent to prison? He broke the law. It isn’t about vengeance, it is about cause and effect. He caused people’s death, got caught, and was sent to jail. It doesn’t matter to me in the least that he is now a “different person”.

    “What is the point of locking up a person who is no danger to others?”

    Because he never paid for his crime. It is not a matter of vengeance, it is a matter of justice. He took the lives of people. Ripped them from their family and friends, and then lived for 30 years free and clear of his crimes. I have NO problem at all with him living the rest of his days in prison.

    ” I don’t for that matter like the hunting down of geriatric men in wheelchairs because they once served in the German army, 70 years ago. ”

    To an extent I agree on this. Unless we are looking for military leaders, “war criminals” were in most cases simply following their orders. The way I see things, those men have little to answer for legally speaking. Ethically and morally? I don’t know how they can sleep at night. But legally, I don’t see the point in hunting them down.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    Ted, the guy wasn’t a serial killer – maybe I didn’t make that clear – he was just a stupid man who wrote crazy letters to the police while the real killer was out there. My point was that whatever was happening in his head 30 years ago, he hasn’t reoffended & is no threat to anyone, so to give him the same sentence as some murderers get can only be an act of vengeance, as locking him away protects no-one & harms both him & his family. Plus costs the taxpayer 12 years room & board at the crowbar hotel. Serves no beneficial purpose & makes no sense.

    I don’t really get your rigidity over The Letter Of The Law but I understand & respect your concern for justice & order, & the necessity of shared values in holding civilization together. I’ll leave it at that.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Ted,
    I can see I’m not going to change your mind. I wish to God I could introduce you to all the children I’ve ever known who were brought here illegally (as a side note, apparently we’re not allowed to use the term “illegal immigrant” in social work. How’s that for PC?). I’ve known dozens.

    Your obsession with the law is, at this point, preposterous. I don’t know how you think laws get changed, but they don’t just get changed because some old dude in Congress says “oh hey, I have an idea!” They get changed because injustice is done, and someone makes a point to raise awareness about this injustice. That’s what social movements, progress, and change are all about.

    But as long as we’re talking about existing laws, I’d like to point out that under the law, a minor child is not responsible for his/her actions. A two-year-old cannot get in trouble because his parent left him at home with a gun and he accidentally shot someone (God forbid, but I’ve heard stories…). So how is this any different? Why should children be punished for the actions of their parents?

    A quick story: I know a man who came here illegally as a child, nearly 25 years ago. He’s about your age, and he’s gravely ill. He will die if he does not get immediate medical attention, but because of the stupid law, he does not have access to medical insurance, and his family cannot pay hospital bills. Is it okay for him to die of a curable condition, because 25 years ago, his parents made a decision that he could not control? That’s the kind of fucked up situation that makes me hate this country and its bigotry some days.

    What I’m saying is, the law is not as cut and dry as you claim. There are loopholes and gaps. That’s why there are so many lawyers… they have a heyday finding all the places where the law doesn’t line up as was intended.

    And when bad laws aren’t eliminated, it is the responsibility of the people to challenge them, and in some cases, break them. The Civil Rights Movement never would’ve happened otherwise, and frankly I’m shocked that you think Martin Luther King should’ve never broken the law.

    The perfect way to create a docile, exploitable people is to teach them that laws should never be challenged.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    I don’t know how you think laws get changed, but they don’t just get changed because some old dude in Congress says “oh hey, I have an idea!”

    They do, as long as the idea has enough funding from the lobby.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    I’m sorry, but it IS us against them. The Mexican government will NOT work “with us” to solve this problem because they are profiting from it.

    Correction: we are not working to solve the problem, because WE are profiting from it. Check the meat packing industry.

    Entire communities have lost residents in Mexico. I hardly call that profit. It’s true that 1% of the Mexican GDP is remittances (money that immigrants send back), but then again, how much bigger would their GDP be if people just stayed and worked in Mexico?

    All the U.S. money sent back to Mexican families means more money in the Mexican economy. I am ALL FOR military action to stop the border violence. But, I’m not talking about a “military presence”, I mean a full on “shoot first ask question later” kind of operation.

    That’s fucked up. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s people who say we should shoot people as they’re walking over the border. That’s nothing more than pure racism, IMO.

    Also that border wall is a damn waste of money. No physical barrier is going to keep people out. We’ll waste much less money if we fix the policy problem. Now. Border be damned.

    Watch this movie. For real.
    http://www.theothersideofimmigration.com/

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    as long as the idea has enough funding from the lobby.

    Oh you mean the rich people?

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Regulations get passed to benefit the people with the most money, who are backing and impulsing the laws. From food to healthcare to technology to you name it. Its rarely about fixing injustices.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Its rarely about fixing injustices.

    A crying shame.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    P.S. Sorry if I offended anyone, I get really fired up about this topic. I didn’t care about the issue at all until I was a freshman in college and worked at a tutoring center for Latino children. Now it’s my main political issue of interest. I get aggressive lol.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    I don’t really consider the actual people this affects, as that would bring emotion into the equation, and when it comes to law and justice I don’t think emotion has any place in it.

    Interestingly enough your desire for security is an emotion. You are taking your emotions and rationalizing them into an action.
    I also talk from a place of practicality.
    And if you think not having a human case makes people to care about changing and injustice law you just need to see inform yourself better every single law has been about someone breaking the law and deciding to fight for it and ammend the law. You might google search virginia vs loving (for the ones that don’t know this couple married ILLEGALLY because she was black and back them interratial marriage was illegal and once they got fined and arrested they went to court and fought for the right to stay married, thanks to them everyone even you if you want to can LEGALLY marry a person of another race. This premise can be traced back to almost every single law you enjoy now Ted. The only reason we have laws is because of human emotions. Sitting and waiting for someone to think “Oh well maybe this is unfair” doesn’t cut it, you have an irrealistic vision of how justice and law work.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Ted,

    To an extent I agree on this. Unless we are looking for military leaders, “war criminals” were in most cases simply following their orders. The way I see things, those men have little to answer for legally speaking. Ethically and morally? I don’t know how they can sleep at night. But legally, I don’t see the point in hunting them down.

    This is interesting. I also agree with Byron’s assertion to an extent, but for different reasons. I don’t believe in the “following orders” argument–but then, I would sooner break laws that I had no part in enacting than betray the values upon which I live my life.

    What I find most interesting, though, is that you are aware of the moral and ethical anguish that a soldier who was “just following orders” might endure in the process of discharging his duty, and yet you still remain steadfast in your insistence that the “rules” must be followed. If you recognize that it would be near impossible to live with oneself for carrying out crimes against humanity in the name of “doing one’s duty”, how can you still aver that there aren’t times at which a person must evaluate the “rightness” of a law?

    I like my namesake’s view. “The sabbath was made for man,” he said, “not man for the sabbath.” I’d say that still holds true today. Even for us atheists.

  • Jackie

    @Olive (#494)
    @Anacaona

    Co-signed with both you ladies.
    Today I was reading about “The 3/5ths Compromise” of 1787, in which a slave counted as 3/5th of a person. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-Fifths_Compromise) This was “the law” until slavery was abolished by the 13th Amendment in 1865.

    Ted, imagine if you were a black person in the 19th century. Would you be okay with waiting SEVENTY EIGHT years before this was changed? What is the right thing to do in this instance? Accept your lot as a slave? Wait for your grandchildren to stop being bought and sold as property?

    Have you heard this quote from Edmund Burke?:
    “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

    For some people it means petitioning representatives, others it means civil disobedience, some people it might mean doing that which is right instead worshiping the letter of the law.

    Ted, your posts have mentioned you live by Catholic values? You may be interested to know the church is 1) pro-immigration reform and 2) pro-family. Here is a PDF describing their position:

    http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/documents/immigration-and-catholic-social-teaching.pdf

  • Jackie

    @Jesus M (#501)

    I was just about to reference that *EXACT* same verse!!! (Mark 2:27, I think)

    *cue spooky X-Files music*
    ;)

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Jackie,
    Thanks for providing that link! This quote is particularly relevant to this discussion:

    Persons who enter a nation without proper authorization or who over-stay their visas should be treated with respect and dignity. They should not be detained in deplorable conditions for lengthy periods of time, shackled by their feet and hands, or abused in any manner. They should be afforded due process of the law and, if applicable, allowed to articulate a fear of return to their home before a qualified adjudicator. They should not be blamed for the social ills of a nation.

  • Jackie

    @Ted

    Ted, I hope I am not coming down on you too hard here. My position is based on my experience assisting my mentor, who works with the poor in Guatemala, and the Guatemalan immigrants I have known here in the US.

    There is horrific violence in Central and Latin America. The stories I have heard from my mentor were unfathomable to me.

    And the story of my dad’s elderly friend, Mike.

    He was just a kid– only about 12 or 13 I think?– when he was rounded up from Poland and put in a concentration camp. Bergen-Belsen, I believe. I’ve seen the numbers on his arm.

    His dad was killed in front of him. Shot. He and his mom were shipped in a cattle car to the camp. This was in 1945– very close to the end of the war.

    His mom bribed a guard — I don’t know the specifics and don’t dare ask– and Mike was smuggled out shortly after. He came to America at age 13. He never saw his mom again. His dad lies in an unmarked grave.

    The reason that the Nazis were able to succeed to the extent they did was because of the stereotypical “Good German.” One who follows the law and obeys orders, regardless of whether or not they are just.

    That Edmund Burke quote– “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”– is what I think about when my dad visits Mike. Or when we turn the other way when a child is being abused. Or when we ignore a grave injustice.

    We can’t do everything, but I do believe we are called to seek justice in whatever way we can. Again, just my three cents. Others may feel differently.

  • Ted D

    Olive – “That’s fucked up. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s people who say we should shoot people as they’re walking over the border. That’s nothing more than pure racism, IMO.”

    First of all, this is NOT about race. It is about the sovereignty of our nation. People blatantly walking over our border are breaking the law, and INVADING OUR SOVEREIGNTY! To you they are starving workers, to me they are an invading army. I firmly believe it. Why? Because they DO NOT come here to be part of our society. They come here to live off of OUR hard earned bounty, without considering the lack of respect they are showing US by breaking our law.

    And I’m sorry that I appear to be pissing you off. I understand the heart ache of people that are so involved in helping the poor. But this isn’t about helping anyone. This is about OUR law, OUR sovereignty, OUR security.

    Anacanoa – “Sitting and waiting for someone to think “Oh well maybe this is unfair” doesn’t cut it, you have an irrealistic vision of how justice and law work.”

    I’m not sitting and waiting for someone to think. I’ve decided that illegal immigration has to stop, and I have been, for several years, making that desire known to my government representatives. Should we change our immigration laws? Surely. But that is not my first priority, and it won’t be until we shore up our security first.

    Laws get changed when we the people make it known that we don’t like them. If enough people make noise, things get changed. (Although Yohami has it right that money has more pull, which is utter bullshit. But find a government untainted by money, and I’ll show you a unicorn.)

    Jesus M. – “”If you recognize that it would be near impossible to live with oneself for carrying out crimes against humanity in the name of “doing one’s duty”, how can you still aver that there aren’t times at which a person must evaluate the “rightness” of a law?”

    Because if I truly believed in a cause, and it required the killing of others, I would do that duty. Sometimes bloodshed is necessary. Is there nothing you would kill for? To defend your family? Your friends? Your neighbor? Your country?

    Or to put very crassly: A Marine sniper was asked what he felt when he pulled the trigger on a live target. The sniper replied; “recoil”.

    And I’ve never said we should not change our immigration law. In fact, I’ve said repeated that I am fully aware of how screwed up it is. But, that still does not make it right to BREAK the law. Petition to have it changed all you want, but willfully breaking the law as a sign of protest is IMO pure BS. To me, it does nothing to further your cause, and frankly it makes me trust you less. It is the adult version of throwing a temper tantrum to me.

    Jackie – “Ted, imagine if you were a black person in the 19th century. Would you be okay with waiting SEVENTY EIGHT years before this was changed? What is the right thing to do in this instance? Accept your lot as a slave? Wait for your grandchildren to stop being bought and sold as property?”

    I’m not going to compare illegal immigration with slavery. The U.S. owned slaves, just like most every other western country in existence today. We were one of the last, so I get that we are still getting spanked over it. But MY family wasn’t here then, and we owned NO slaves. I have no dog in that fight…

    “Ted, your posts have mentioned you live by Catholic values? You may be interested to know the church is 1) pro-immigration reform and 2) pro-family. Here is a PDF describing their position:”

    I parted ways with the Catholic Church in my early 20′s. It was exactly because of this type of political tripe along with their completely ludicrous ideals of denying birth control that turned me away. But as far as it goes, it is a good thing that the Catholic Church and others are supportive of illegal immigrants and immigration reform. To me, that is exactly the type of thing religion should do, watch out for and support humanity. To me, that indicates the system IS working. The “people” are concerned about others and the government should respond to their wishes. Again, I’m not against anyone coming here, becoming a citizen, and making a go at it. I just want them to stop slapping me in the face by being so blatantly obvious about their lack of respect for our law.

    I get all the emotion around this subject. And on an emotional level I completely sympathize. But, I won’t engage on that level until we do something to control our borders first. THAT is primary. Without control of our borders, we have no control of who comes and goes, and for that matter WHAT comes and goes. A country without control of its borders is hardly sovereign!

  • Ted D

    Everyone – Please understand something. I get all the emotional responses on this topic, I honestly do. And I’m not immune to them. But, I intentionally do not focus on “the people” involved in this issue for a reason. To me, the more important thing for the U.S. to do is secure the border and regain our sovereignty because:
    1. We should be able to secure the border relatively quickly
    2. Immigration law reform will take time probably years. While that process churns, we should be stopping any further illegal immigration.
    3. In addition to undocumented workers, having our borders so open allows anyone to bring anything in and out of the country. I don’t think I need to explain why this is bad.
    4. We can’t help anyone else in the world if we are not stable ourselves. The U.S. is a bit of a mess at the moment. I think we should circle the wagons and fix our own crap before we worry about fixing the rest of the world.

    I’m sorry I can’t give you the reaction you all want, which is to break down in tears and profess how horrible I was for feeling this way. I know that from a human perspective my views are ugly. I’m willing to accept that. If it was me living in Mexico with a starving family, I would be figuring out how to cross the border today. But it isn’t, and this country is my home. Just like I would protect my personal home from an invader, with force if necessary, I want our borders protected the same.

    Once that is accomplished, I would be more than willing to completely focus on how to fix immigration law to make it easier for people to come and live here. But, to me, there is no point when coming here illegally is so damned easy.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Ted,

    You’re confusing the issue now. We were talking about following orders and not truly believing in a cause. If you truly believe in a cause, then you should act on those beliefs. But, if that’s the case, then you’re not simply “following orders”; you need to take personal responsibility for your actions. You can’t say, “if I didn’t do it, I woulda got in trouble” if you’re acting from personal responsibility. If you’re following orders against your own sense of ethics or morality, then the only belief that your actions are sourced in is the belief that someone else’s sense of “rightness” matters more than your own.

    You can’t say you’re not talking about ethics, because you are. Your ethic simply states that the authorities should be obeyed, which roughly translates into “might makes right.”

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Ted,
    Nah, my goal was to get you to reconsider your political perspective, and to recognize that securing our borders (incidentally we’ve put a lot of money into that lately, especially in metropolitan areas… how’s that workin’ out?) isn’t going to stop people from coming here. Hence my description of the policy situation, and the U.S.’s role in the problem, which you dismissed by saying you didn’t care.

    It’s telling that you call illegal immigrants “invaders,” not “people who are trying to find a better life.” Invaders come with guns and swords, working people come without weapons. To me, the whole debate is about race. It’s all about Us vs. Them, the Bad Guys vs. the Good Guys, the Foreign vs. the Familiar. It’s all very tribal. And again, I’m not saying you’re racist. I’m saying the media has done an excellent job of creating a stereotypical, racist image of the dangerous criminal Mexican, and many people have bought into it. It’s a good time for creating scapegoats.

    Other than that, I think I’ve said what I wanted to say. I’m sorry that I couldn’t change your opinion, it’s the number one political issue I set out to clarify these days. There’s tons of ignorance about what illegal immigration involves, and I want to set people straight. But if they don’t want to hear me, I can’t change that. I got emotional, but there’s also stuff woven in my arguments rooted in the law and historical fact. It’s useful, if you’re interested.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Ted,

    The circling the wagons argument sounds valid. There may be some merit to it, actually. I don’t know for sure. However, the borders have been obliterated. They were obliterated by huge international corporations, with the help of our government.

    I’m not against globalization per se (its just gonna take a lot of “frame-changing” to adapt to it), but I’m always curious about people who make illegal immigrants the target of their ire, instead of emphasizing the real issues that are changing this country.

    Sovereignty is obsolete. When the people who run our government have their campaigns funded by (and their every thought lobbied by) conglomerates who have no respect for borders (or anything other than profit), the notion of absolute rule is obsolete drool.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    However, the borders have been obliterated. They were obliterated by huge international corporations, with the help of our government.

    That’s a really good point. As I said above, some have argued that the exchange of labor should be a part of “free trade” NAFTA.

    Also, the point of free trade is that there’s no government intervention. No tariffs, no subsidies, no taxes. To me, “free trading” with subsidized products (ahemcorn) doesn’t count as free trade.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    In other words, we’re operating under a “borders for me, not for thee” strategy. We get to flood the Mexican market with cheap corn, they don’t get to flood our market with cheap labor without complaints from our citizens. It’s like Goliath giving David a slingshot, while he gets a bazooka. And then pissing at David for using the slingshot because “it’s not fair!”

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Sue,

    Regarding the increased efficiency of life being ushered in by bigger and bigger businesses…

    It’s always seemed to me that my freedom is, in part, insured by the inefficiency of others. In part because inefficiency allows people to fall between the cracks (the cracks being where all the good stuff goes down) and in part because inefficiency keeps us human. Highly efficient people/companies/organizations are like “10′s”–they don’t stumble enough to be human in any type of meaningful way.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jesus

      It’s always seemed to me that my freedom is, in part, insured by the inefficiency of others.

      I’m not sure what you mean, could you try explaining again?

  • Ted D

    Olive – “In other words, we’re operating under a “borders for me, not for thee” strategy. We get to flood the Mexican market with cheap corn, they don’t get to flood our market with cheap labor without complaints from our citizens. It’s like Goliath giving David a slingshot, while he gets a bazooka. And then pissing at David for using the slingshot because “it’s not fair!””

    If we are indeed flooding Mexico with cheap corn, I assume we are doing it legally. Not saying it is ethical, but we are not breaking the law. If Mexico is OK with that, I don’t really care. If they are not, they should either add fees to U.S. corn, or simply stop trade completely. And again, I’m all for “cheap” Mexican labor, if they can come here legally. Look, maybe they don’t even become citizens, but at least make it so they can get a real visa and can be documented. Until then, they should stay out.

    Look, we are not a part of some benevolent world organization that mediates this stuff. (Please don’t bring up the UN, they are a total joke at best.) As it stand, each and every country is on their own looking out for their best interests. If those interests are best served by playing nice, I’m all for it. But, it seems to me that the U.S. has been playing nice for decades, and as of now most other countries are still playing protection politics. We CAN NOT compete with this. I get that many people want the United States to be the “moral” country. To always take the high ground. I’m tired of it to be honest. I want our government to look out for our best interests, and to me allowing any job to go unfilled by an American while allowing someone to illegally take it is NOT looking our for my interests.

    When the rest of the world decides to play nice, we can smile and welcome them aboard. Until then, it should be all about what is best for the U.S.

    I do see this as an invasion because when large volumes of illegal immigrants come here, they tend to “setup shop” together and convert areas of the U.S. into mini-Mexican towns. They often don’t even bother to learn English, let alone participate in American culture. I’m Polish and German. When my mother was a young women, she asked my grandmother to teach her Polish. My grandmother’s reply? “You don’t need to speak Polish because you are an American.” This is the same woman that came to the U.S. and taught herself English by reading and going to the movies. And yet, we have Mexican families here for years that still can’t speak basic English.

    So yes, it IS an invasion. If I wanted to live in Mexico, I would move to Mexico.

    Jesus M. – “The circling the wagons argument sounds valid. There may be some merit to it, actually. I don’t know for sure. However, the borders have been obliterated. They were obliterated by huge international corporations, with the help of our government.”

    And that is a real issue to me. Unless we signed on for some world government (please no UN…) then we are still a sovereign nation. And, as you and I have pointed out, you cannot be sovereign if you do not control your borders. Hence, my reasoning that border control is one of our biggest issues. Sure, immigrant work makes some of our products cheaper, but what do you see as a bigger threat?
    1. Lettuce prices go up
    2. Someone brings several “dirty” nuclear bombs over the border from Mexico (Or Canada for that matter. We need to lock down the north as well!)

    To me, expensive lettuce is much less of a threat than a nuclear explosion.

    I would be 100% behind complete isolationism if I thought it stood a rats ass chance in hell of working. But, we sold ourselves to the devil long ago, and we have little to no chance of ever being completely self-sufficient again. At least not without some very serious changes, including economic and social.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    If we are indeed flooding Mexico with cheap corn

    We are. It’s called NAFTA. And we shouldn’t be allowed to “free trade” with subsidized products, but no one’s thought of that for some odd reason.

    If Mexico is OK with that, I don’t really care. If they are not, they should either add fees to U.S. corn, or simply stop trade completely.

    They can’t. Because of NAFTA.

    And again, I’m all for “cheap” Mexican labor, if they can come here legally.

    This is the crux of my argument. NAFTA should allow for the exchange of labor, legally speaking. But it doesn’t, because NAFTA is not on Mexico’s terms, it’s on U.S. terms.

    The problem is that we’ve created a monster, and now we’re blaming it on a country with very little power. Let’s just solve the problem, in a way that makes economic sense. Spending billions on “shoot now, ask later” policies is a terrible waste of my tax dollars, thank you very much.

    I would be 100% behind complete isolationism if I thought it stood a rats ass chance in hell of working. But, we sold ourselves to the devil long ago, and we have little to no chance of ever being completely self-sufficient again. At least not without some very serious changes, including economic and social.

    Okay. Here’s what I want you to do. For the next week, don’t use a single foreign product. Don’t wear clothes made in China. Don’t eat veggies grown in Chile. Don’t drink vodka distilled in Russia. Don’t drive a car made in Japan. Don’t touch a single foreign product. Then come back and we’ll talk about how that worked out for you.

    I know globalism is scary and means we have to associate with those damn foreigners, but for heaven’s sake, we are benefiting. Take something as simple as food. We cannot grow food all year in the northeast. And even when we can grow food, we can’t grow bananas or avocados or cacao. That stuff grows well in extremely hot climates, not in the frozen tundra. And this is the beauty of trade: we can eat fruits and veggies no matter the time of year. We can consume goods that cannot be made efficiently in this country.

    I know life is not about consuming goods. But globalism has made our lives more comfortable. My economics professor once said that anyone against global trade is an idiot. I fully agree. The nature of global trade is questionable, but to advocate its complete elimination is just ignorant. Unless you live like Laura Ingalls Wilder and smoke ham in some weird totem pole thing during the winter, don’t talk about the Evils of Globalization. I hate when people live in their comfortable heated homes and talk about self-sufficiency. You don’t know what self-sufficiency is until you’ve lived in a subsistence farming community in the middle of nowhere. And I can tell you I lived it, and I talked to the people in the community, and they don’t want to live like that. And neither do I, to be honest.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Ted,

    Baby romaine or spring mix? You’re going to think I’m joking (I’m not), but good lettuce has probably saved more lives than tight border control.

    Bottom line is that the whole issue of border control is just another manifestation of your need for certainty. But Ted, the end can be waiting just around the corner; there’s little you can do to prevent it. Life is a dangerous risk.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    but no one’s thought of that for some odd reason.

    People thought of it. The corn industry just paid them money to shut their pie holes.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    And yet, we have Mexican families here for years that still can’t speak basic English.

    The notion that parents bring their kids to the U.S. and that all of them stay in a little Mexican pea pod and don’t associate with Americans is another myth. The kids go to school. They learn English.

    But to be honest, the reason the Mexican parents don’t associate with you, don’t try to make themselves American, is because you don’t want to associate with them. You think they’re grimy and dirty. I wouldn’t want to hang with someone who thought I was grimy either. Frankly, I don’t like to hang with people who think I need to prove that I’m a human being in order to be treated with the slightest amount of respect (and I’m not talking about respect in the SMP sense, I’m talking about respect in the sense of not figuratively spitting on someone).

    2. Someone brings several “dirty” nuclear bombs over the border from Mexico (Or Canada for that matter. We need to lock down the north as well!)

    But the good hardworking men of America would never do something like that. (coughTimothyMcVeighJaredLoughnerColumbine).

    Your argument is based in fear. You don’t know who these scary Mexicans or Canadians or Chinese or Arabs are, and you think they’re all criminals. You don’t trust them because you’ve never met them. You can’t tell me you haven’t brought emotion into this.

    I wonder what would happen if your kids made friends with Mexican children at school. Would you forbid them from coming to your house?

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    People thought of it. The corn industry just paid them money to shut their pie holes.

    Nah, Tyson did. And Pepsi. The meatpacking and soda industries benefit way more from the cheap corn than corn farmers do.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    @Ted
    I heard your argument before in my own country. “If we don’t control the borders we are going to have an Haitian president in less than 20 years” moot point there as well as here.
    You decided to secure the borders out of fear of America not looking like America anymore. Too late for that, if you really think legal immigrants are trying to preserve America the way it was before they arrived you are wrong, they are not trying to destroy it of course they are mostly taking what it works and incorporate them to their culture. We are giving birth to a different kind of nation and that is good, change is good. You might be an staticist though and for you change is scary.
    American’s problems don’t come from immigration the SMP didn’t got destroyed because Mexican showed women to sleep with assholes and delay marriage forever. You are focusing in the wrong thing. A closed America wouldn’t change anything. If anything the only reason you are one of the few only first world nations that is not below replacement levels is because of the immigrants. Most first world nations had started to relax their implementation of the laws to allow more people to come because without young blood there is no nation or sovereignty if more people though like you this will be an even bigger mess than it is now.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Nah, Tyson did. And Pepsi. The meatpacking and soda industries benefit way more from the cheap corn than corn farmers do.

    Fair enough. Someone’s making a ton from corn, that’s for sure.

  • Sox

    I’m assuming many of you have never lived in a border town or really have any idea of how things are down there right now. There’s actually been footage of gunfire coming across our border pretty frequently as of late- the drug wars are spilling over. Being a border patrol agent is becoming a pretty dangerous job lately.

    How do you think the majority of Mexicans are coming across? They don’t just sneak through holes in a fence, they’re transported by Coyotes. They pay the coyotes out of pocket, or, if they’re too poor, they become part of a sophisticated underground drug courier network, dropping their “packages” where directed.

    Not that they’re the only ones being snuck across. Slang calls them ‘OTMs’ or other than Mexicans. If up to a thousand are caught per week, imagine how many make it through. Chinese, Russians, Iranians, you name it. I suppose they’re all just looking for a better life right?

    The sheer amount of drugs coming through is insane. They often let smaller caches (100-500lbs) through to try to nail the bigger fish. It’s not uncommon to bust tractor trailers with over a thousand pounds of pot or cocaine. Those are numbers that would make a state cop’s career anywhere else.

    A shitload of weapons are flowing south from the US for use by the cartels. If you don’t hear about this it’s because journalists are threatened with death for reporting it down there.

    Many do come across with peaceful honest intentions, but that doesn’t negate that fact that having such a porous border undermines our actual economy by propagating a shadow one that undermines it. Crime flows through freely and this becomes even more dangerous when one country becomes more and more unstable.

    And of course this isn’t even taking into account the worst cast scenario, a nuclear weapon being snuck across for detonation on our soil, which is the most likely a scenario of all the doomsday ones.

    (my info is based on a mixture of research in my major, my former job with DHS, and individuals I know working on the border).

    It’s easy to keep your head in the sand about this stuff when it’s not overtly affecting you. Even if Ted is coming across as harsh or inhumane, at least he’s being a realist.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    But the good hardworking men of America would never do something like that. (coughTimothyMcVeighJaredLoughnerColumbine).

    Also I just want to clarify that I’m not trying to say something about “dangerous white men” here. My point is that a regular American can be just as violent as someone who came here illegally, just as they can both be equally nonviolent. One is not more inherently violent than the other, regardless of what Doug1 says about race.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Olive,

    In other words, we’re operating under a “borders for me, not for thee” strategy. We get to flood the Mexican market with cheap corn, they don’t get to flood our market with cheap labor without complaints from our citizens.

    Not just mexico. Every country in latin america except maybe brasil is the playground for the USA.

    USA doesnt need a visa to come here. American products come here and sell. Dollar is the base unity to measure the local currency. Right now, the dollar is 4.5 the local currency, which means if any gringo comes here they are automatically 4.5 times richer – it also makes any native 4.5 times poorer.

    Digest that for a minute. Regardless of your talent or the work you do, working the same hours etc, at the same level, all it takes is you are in a third world country under the economical rules of the USA and everything you do is worth

    4.5 times less.

    Then if you want to purchase products, the local tax doubles the price of some products. Say, the $1000 ipad costs $2000 USD here. Multiply that by 4.5 and the local cost…

    Imagine a world where the ipad costs 9000 USD and you make the same money as now? where a 10K car costs 90K ?

    I for example want to make a record, and I want my music to compete sonically with what´s going on in the world – which means among other things audio equipment. I need 100K USD in equipment. Now if I was playing by the rules, that would mean 200K after local prices and 900K after conversion.

    So that´s how the game is set up. 100K vs 900K. Any wonder why there´s not a single studio around with the same equipment than what you have in USA, and, any wonder why every single act sounds like crap and cant compete in your market? any wonder why there´s no industry here, and why local products cant compete?

    The game is rigged.

    And yeah, instead of working my ass to circunvey laws and import gear through the black market (breaking laws here) and paying “only” 30% + 4.5 MORE… instead of doing that crazy thing, I could just fly to the USA and spend money renting a studio there right?

    No, because USA wont let me go there. I cant travel. I cant go there and compete.

    So fuck laws. Seriously.

  • Sox

    Wow. I should just quit typing these long posts from my iPhone. Damnit.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Also I want to film my stuff at “professional” levels if I want to compete. That means I need a RED camera and lenses. 25K + 10K minimum.

    35K x %200 x 4.5 = 315K is the price I would have to pay
    35K x %30 x 4.5 = 204K in the black market

    This is just ONE camera. A gringo can have the whole production company equipment for the same amount I pay for ONE camera.

    Then gringo can sell their products cross borders and collect from the whole continent.

    Any wonder why the local scene is a joke?

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Sox,
    You’re right, I’ve never lived in a border town. I spent time in various parts of Mexico, though, so I know the story. When I was studying there, my host mom was robbed at knife point, just walking in the street. I’ve heard Acapulco (I went there just three years ago!) has been overrun by extortionists. Shit is bad, and it’s getting worse. No wonder so many people want to GTFO. I would too.

    But I also spent my entire college career living in a place known for its agriculture. There was a huge Mexican community in my college town, and I got to know people who belonged to it. They were wonderful. They were not drug lords or gang members. We need to be careful about how we characterize Mexico. I realize the economic/political situation is deteriorating rapidly there, and frankly Felipe Calderon needs to get his shit together. It’s a crying shame what’s happening to Mexico, especially because the country is so beautiful (Riviera Maya!) and the people are so hardworking. There are a lot of historical and political reasons for Mexico’s situation, but we shouldn’t use it as an excuse to criminalize an entire country’s population. IMO, we need to work with Mexico to solve the issue. And not just because we feel particularly charitable, as a nation, but because it’s in our own interest. It is a security issue, to some extent.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    The question isn’t whether or not closing our borders would make our nation safer. Obviously it would (if it were possible… or even desirable to our leaders). This started out as a discussion of how to handle people who come to the US illegally for work.

    We could probably more effectively police our borders if we made it easier for people to enter the country.

  • Sox

    Olive, I’m sure your responses to Ted are well-meant, but be careful about putting words in his mouth or turning this into an argument where you have the high ground and he’s just ignorant. He made it easy with that comment about Mexicans not assimilating but I never saw him write that all Mexicans or dirty, or criminals. And the idea that self-segregation occurs because we’re all so xenophobic is a little ridiculous. It might happen on a small level but there are much better and understandable reasons for it.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Yohami,
    Dude I get it. The whole thing fucking sucks. Ecuador and Panama even use U.S. currency. Frankly I hate the way this country treats Latin America, and I get this sense that it doesn’t even show up on our radar. When we think of Third World, we think of Africa. Maybe even Asia. We don’t think of our neighbors to the South.

    The way immigration works right now is stupid. It sets a cap on the amount of people who can come to the U.S. from each country each year, but it doesn’t really treat Latin America differently than, say, India. Which is bullshit because geographic proximity has everything to do with likelihood to migrate.

  • Sox

    FWIW, I come from a intl relations/nat’l security background and I’m active duty military so I’m obviously a little biased, but no less informed. I’m much less worried about illegal immigrants working for cheap than the other crap I mentioned.

    IMO my perspective is juxtapositioned to the one that calls some paranoid and insecure- the fact is most Americans don’t know the breadth of shit that goes on that challenges our country every day, so they don’t care. Idealism is commendable but it has to be tempered with the knowledge that it comes from a place of privilege that had has to be earned and defended on behalf of the beneficiary without them even knowing how, when, or at what cost.

    Anyway, porous borders are just a bad idea, whether you’re talking about enemies or those looking to profit from them through illicit means. Terrorists and criminal networks are very, very good at working together to make this happen.

  • Jackie

    @Ted (#506)

    “I’m sorry I can’t give you the reaction you all want, which is to break down in tears and profess how horrible I was for feeling this way.”

    Dude, I don’t want anyone to break down in tears and think they are horrible! I hate I-Win-You-Lose mentality, as it’s based in scarcity and destructive to boot. If you said, Interesting viewpoints and reconsidered your perspective, that would be awesome enough for me. :)

    That said, you seem to pick and choose applying your principles, unless I am misunderstanding you:

    The whole “3/5th compromise” example was that was THE LAW. You believe we should obey the laws. The point isn’t whether or not your ancestors participated in slavery, or whether or not you “have a dog in this fight.” The point was, If you were a black man in that era, you’d be totally screwed by following the letter of the law.

    You dismissed my example because the laws don’t always look so great in the rearview mirror of history. Maybe immigration will look like that, maybe not.

    That is what I was attempting to convey, at least.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Sox, Ted,
    Yeah sorry about that. I could’ve sworn I read something, but I think it was the “dirty” bomb thing that I internalized and read differently. So sorry ’bout that, I take that comment back.

    And the idea that self-segregation occurs because we’re all so xenophobic is a little ridiculous. It might happen on a small level but there are much better and understandable reasons for it.

    Well, yes and no. I think we’re all xenophobic to a certain extent. Put a bunch of people in a room and watch them separate based on appearances (race, height, hair color, etc.). At our core, we are tribal. We gravitate towards people like us.

    But that doesn’t mean we have to characterize the foreigner as an “invader.” The most frustrating thing about this discussion, for me, has been the implication that illegal immigrants are horrible criminals and they don’t belong here. That is not what you guys have said, but that’s the sense: that we need to throw everyone out because if we let them in, something really bad might happen.

  • Sox

    @Olive

    Point taken. Although i guess it would depend on whether or not you consider tax evasion a crime. I believe Ted said that was one of his biggest issues.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Anyway, porous borders are just a bad idea, whether you’re talking about enemies or those looking to profit from them through illicit means. Terrorists and criminal networks are very, very good at working together to make this happen.

    Cosign. But as Yohami has said, we have a “porous” border with pretty much all of Latin America. So for us to get all high and mighty about securing our borders, in my mind, is a little silly. We benefit from porous borders every day.

    I think what would keep people from coming to our country is allowing them to have opportunities in their own country. Right now, there aren’t a lot of opportunities, and it’s been suggested that the U.S. is at least partly responsible.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Although i guess it would depend on whether or not you consider tax evasion a crime. I believe Ted said that was one of his biggest issues.

    It’s not total tax evasion if you have a fake SS number.

    Also, if tax evasion is such a big deal, then change the system. But the suggestion to send all 12 million people back to their home countries is, in my mind, a terrible idea logistically. Why is that necessary? To make a point that people shouldn’t break fucked up laws, because people should never break laws, period?

  • Jackie

    @Sox (#533)

    Wait– so the crux of this discussion on immigration is about taxes?

    This is confusing to me: The people here most exploiting tax laws here are those oligarchs in the top 0.3%: Massively wealthy people who bought and paid for congressmen to support tax cuts on the wealthiest. Those people have hurt the average citizen’s way of life WAY more than any undocumented immigrant.

  • Sox

    @Olive

    True, and that’s a foreign policy issue that requires someone with some long term thinking that is pretty uncommon. In the end it’s really not our responsibility to force a government to better provide for its citizens (IMO). We may choose to as a nation if it’s in our ostensibly in our best interest to do so. I suspect you may disagree with me there.

  • Jackie

    @Sox (#530)

    Hey Sox,

    You mentioned you were active duty military; thank you for your service! :)

    The scared journalists in Mexico you referred to earlier– are you talking about those who have been targets of the Zetas? Because after reading about and being linked to a video of their methods (refused to watch it– too gruesome :( ) I could understand the desperation and fear a LOT more. Unfortunately. :(

  • Sox

    @Jackie

    I don’t think it’s the crux of it, I just brought it up as an example of why an illegal immigrant may be technically a criminal. I honestly don’t know enough about that part of the issue to have an opinion.

  • Sox

    @Jackie

    You mentioned you were active duty military; thank you for your service! :)

    The scared journalists in Mexico you referred to earlier– are you talking about those who have been targets of the Zetas? Because after reading about and being linked to a video of their methods (refused to watch it– too gruesome :( ) I could understand the desperation and fear a LOT more. Unfortunately. :(

    :)

    Yea, that’s what I was referring to re journalist intimidation and murders.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Olive,

    I think what would keep people from coming to our country is allowing them to have opportunities in their own country. Right now, there aren’t a lot of opportunities, and it’s been suggested that the U.S. is at least partly responsible.

    100% reponsible.

    Taking aside local responsibility – corruption that let it happen. Which was pretty much bought with dollars to allow for it.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    In the end it’s really not our responsibility to force a government to better provide for its citizens (IMO). We may choose to as a nation if it’s in our ostensibly in our best interest to do so. I suspect you may disagree with me there.

    The only reason I disagree is because this problem came out of NAFTA and subsidized agriculture in the U.S. (at least, that’s how some are beginning to understand it). In other words, it’s a U.S. domestic-foreign policy problem. So if we change our policies, perhaps people will have opportunities in their own countries. And we will benefit. Sort of. We’ll lose a lot of cheap labor, but I think U.S. citizens won’t be too upset about that, just the corporations.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Yohami,
    I mean, you could just marry a citizen. That’s what Anacaona did. :-P

    In all seriousness, I totally agree. Why should you feel like you have to come to the U.S. to make it big? Why can’t you make it big in Argentina? (We know the answer.)

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    You guys will find it interesting that I went to Capitol Hill with a school group once, and we met with guys from the Dept. of Homeland Security. We tried to explain the NAFTA-agriculture issue, and they totally talked their way around it. I suspect people in Washington know exactly what’s going on. They just want to keep it that way.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    Right now, the dollar is 4.5 the local currency, which means if any gringo comes here they are automatically 4.5 times richer – it also makes any native 4.5 times poorer.

    In my country the rate is 1 dollar 38 pesos. And like everyone here say USA is free to sell come and go as they please, so yeah the system is fucked up bit time.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Why should you feel like you have to come to the U.S. to make it big? Why can’t you make it big in Argentina? (We know the answer.)

    Because the U.S. owns the frame and Yohami’s buying into it.

  • Ted D

    Olive – “I know life is not about consuming goods. But globalism has made our lives more comfortable. My economics professor once said that anyone against global trade is an idiot. I fully agree. The nature of global trade is questionable, but to advocate its complete elimination is just ignorant. “

    I am against global trade as it exists now. We cannot compete with countries that can and do make goods cheaper than us because they treat their people badly. We cannot by law run sweat shops!
    “You think they’re grimy and dirty. I wouldn’t want to hang with someone who thought I was grimy either.”

    Apology accepted. I have and continue to have friends of many different lineages. All of them are legal citizens or legally here on visas. ;)

    “Your argument is based in fear. You don’t know who these scary Mexicans or Canadians or Chinese or Arabs are, and you think they’re all criminals. You don’t trust them because you’ve never met them. You can’t tell me you haven’t brought emotion into this.”

    Well, they ARE criminals if they are here illegally. Are we really going to argue that point?

    “I wonder what would happen if your kids made friends with Mexican children at school. Would you forbid them from coming to your house?”

    Nope. In fact, they have a few “latin” friends (I honestly don’t know if they are Mexican or some other south American lineage) and they come over often. I’m not a racist, but I guess I’m a bit of an elitist. *shrug*

    ““It’s not total tax evasion if you have a fake SS number.”

    Olive, I love your debates, truly. But SS is NOT, I repeat NOT paying federal, state, and local taxes! And I find it hard to believe that most of the migrant farm workers even bother with a fake SS number. Why would they when the farm owners often pay in cash? And you know what? THAT is where we should hit hard. Immediate forfeiture of ALL business assets if you are found to knowingly hire and pay an illegal worker. The risk of losing the farm might curtail all that under the table payout.

    Oh, and NAFTA is crap. I hated it when it was passed, and still think it is a load of shit.

    Jackie – “You dismissed my example because the laws don’t always look so great in the rearview mirror of history. Maybe immigration will look like that, maybe not.”

    I fully expect much of our law to look terrible in the rearview mirror. I dismissed your example because it wasn’t relevant. But, if you want an answer, if I was a black man during U.S. slavery, I wouldn’t have had a choice. Thankfully, I bunch of white men realized that what we were doing was highly immoral, and worked to change it, resulting in a civil war that cost lives. (There is some debate that says Lincoln didn’t “free the slaves” for their own sake, but I am fine believing that it was done because it was the right thing to do.)

    Sox – its funny. I know several military folks, active and not, and most of them feel the same as you and myself. I have a friend that lives in southern Texas, and he says it is a scary place to be some days. I think it is a mindset. Some people value absolute freedom of choice over security and safety, some people favor security and safety over freedom of choice. I fall into the latter camp. I very much enjoy my lifestyle, and would welcome anyone to join in. But, they have to do it legally, for my safety and the safety of the entire country.

    Jesus M. – Dude. You should know by now that in just about everything I choose safety first. I know I can’t get any guaranties in life, but I do my damndest to hedge my bets. Securing our borders will not prevent an American from building a bomb and blowing it up in a stadium, but it will prevent someone from bringing one in. And, I honestly believe it would be MUCH easier to build a nuke outside and bring it in, than to figure out how to get that material into the country and assemble it here. Maybe I’m wrong, but either way we should have control of our borders. The real issue here is, we are the only country on this side of the planet anyone is trying to get INTO. Of course Mexico isn’t worried about its borders, how many Americans are crossing into Mexico illegally? Even if they do, they probably bring U.S. dollars with them, and that means more money in the economy. And it seems pretty obvious to me that Mexico is incapable or unwilling to police their own, which means we should do everything in our power to keep it from spilling into our territory, including armed border guard if necessary. Hell, let the Air Force keep some predators up 24/7. I bet after a few of those unleash fury on the ground, people will think twice before running for the border.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Jesus,

    Because the U.S. owns the frame and Yohami’s buying into it.

    Yep. But its not a mental frame, but an economical frame. Buying into it is called “reality” this time. Then the economical reality shapes everyone´s minds.

  • Ted D

    Olive – “You guys will find it interesting that I went to Capitol Hill with a school group once, and we met with guys from the Dept. of Homeland Security. We tried to explain the NAFTA-agriculture issue, and they totally talked their way around it. I suspect people in Washington know exactly what’s going on. They just want to keep it that way.”

    Unfortunately I agree with you 200% here. As if you don’t already think I’m a conspiracy theorist, I fully believe that there are people within our government that are running their own or some higher power’s agenda. Looking at the things our government has done in the last few decades, I find it hard to believe that they all feel like they are doing the best for the country. I dislike the UN, partly because it is inaffective. But also, I don’t feel like the world is anywhere NEAR ready for a global government. But that seems to be the direction we are being pushed, and I resent that it is coming at the cost of the U.S.’s strength and power. Instead of selling us out cheaply, I would much prefer our government work with other countries to bring them to our level. But, there is no money to be made that way, so there is little to encourage it. And as much as I’d love to concentrate on the human side of all this, I have to live. And to live I need gainful employment. And to have that, I need the economy to be doing well.

    So, before I can even consider the plight of Mexicans, Cubans, or any other nationality, I need to consider the plight of my own country. We are in no condition to rescue the world when we can’t even help our own people.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Olive,

    Why should you feel like you have to come to the U.S. to make it big? Why can’t you make it big in Argentina? (We know the answer.)

    I dont feel like “I have to go to the USA to make it big”. Yet, I want to make it big and “big” doesnt exist here. What I feel is that Im fighting against the flow as long as Im playing by the third world rules.

    Thank you internet, though.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Yohami,

    The sometimes terrible and costly lesson of guerrilla warfare and terrorism is that even the economic frame is, essentially, mental.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Jesus,

    The sometimes terrible and costly lesson of guerrilla warfare and terrorism is that even the economic frame is, essentially, mental.

    It is mental, in the sense that money is a virtual currency (with nothing to back it at this point), and laws are all mental, and the whole system relies on people´s minds to accept support and follow.

    So yeah, its all a big mental game.

    I still “need” the physical tangible goods that cost mental money and a product so I can channel some of that mental money to my pocket and win the mental game.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Yohami,

    Maybe. Depends on your goal. If you have an internet connection enough bandwith and an equivalent amount of creativity, you could probably make waves though.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Bandwith? My god. An internet connection WITH enough bandWIDTH.

  • http://asinusspinasmasticans.wordpress.com Mule Chewing Briars

    It really isn’t fair Argentina keeping Luisiana Lopilato to yourselves for 25 years, then marrying her to a Canadian ferchrissake.

    You guys must really hate us.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Jesus,

    Sure. There are some stuff that have an advantage. Writers have one – all you need is a pc if so. Graphic design. Coding. 3D. Illustration. Etc. If the pc is your main and only tool, internet levels the field with everyone else in the globe and that´s HUGE.

    I make games for a living. All I need is the computer. Im doing more than fine, and if this was my primary area of interest there´s so much I could be doing to make it big in this area, with pretty much no obstacles. The dollar conversion plays on my favor since collect in dollars but spend in pesos. Labor is cheap here. Rent “can” be cheap.

    For some other stuff like making tangible products, anything where you need machines, polished products etc you´re doomed thanks to the conversion.

    The business is for major international companies – to come here and train people and stay for 20-30 years and then leave, then some of these trained monkeys can attempt to make their own products and compete. That unless the country has strong regulations against (the case in Argentina)

    So. Whatever.

    I question what Im doing everyday because its absurd. But I dont see any other choice. I pile x 4 the money and work x4 as hard to be able to measure 1 to 1. And I´ll win.

  • Jackie

    @Ted

    Hey Ted,

    I appreciate you replying to me. And I agree that we need to care for our own here in the US. (Before I moved, I was living in one of the “hungriest states” in the US. I had a bunch of food that I couldn’t take with me or give to a food shelf– perishables, opened dry beans, frozen etc. Anyway, I put it on CraigsList “free” section. There were 25 responses in less than 15 minutes. For opened bags of lima beans and lentils.)

    We are probably not far apart: I really want to see the US economy improve ASAP. I do NOT want to see the US become a strictly “service” economy.

    For me, though, I see the immensely wealthy people who buy congress in order to “legally” exploit the system, unethically maximizing profits, are doing far more damage to you and me than undocumented workers.

    They are the ones outsourcing your jobs “legally” and far more dangerous. That is all I am saying.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Yohami,

    Idk. One of the results of both the internet and postmodernism in general is that esthetics have changed drastically, to the point that high-budget directors for TV and film are aping the effects of amateur home video makers and even a lot of music outside of the top 40 (I can’t speak with any certainly about what’s going on within the top 40) is being produced with a very low-budget, unproduced, “raw” sound and sculptors mine for materials in trash.

    Seems to me that the mark of a true artist is a. a “vision” and b. the ability to realize that vision with the tools at his or her disposal. You can save up for expensive American equipment while Americans search for ways to copy amateurs, or you can use the tools at your disposal right now and create something that’s really a product of you and your life.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Jesus,

    From the artistic point of view you´re right. I can make art, music and stuff with the tools at my disposal. And that art can be appreciated. There´s ton of material being produced all around the world, in the cheap. Sometimes one of such gets picked by a major distributor and makes it big, or, brings it to the mainstream. That happens all the time in games too.

    I got a couple of my raw-cheap sounding mixes on the radio, one of them made into the local top 10, beating evanescence and some other bands.

    But “raw and cheap” isnt part of my vision

    Sound production is like being a chef – the better the quality of the ingredients, the more you can squeeze and create your own flavor. Im striving for excellence. Which happen to be expensive.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Sue,

    Sure. If we accept the premise that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely (and even if we don’t buy that wholesale but acknowledge that it’s true in too many cases), then it becomes clearer, I think. Inefficiency (from laziness, bureaucracy, unwieldiness, or any other cause) is one of the prime forces keeping power in check. Efficiency equals the ability to exert total power.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jesus

      Wouldn’t an efficient opponent get more done? I’m thinking of the early labor unions, for example.

  • Ted D

    Jackie – Surely :D

    “For me, though, I see the immensely wealthy people who buy congress in order to “legally” exploit the system, unethically maximizing profits, are doing far more damage to you and me than undocumented workers.

    They are the ones outsourcing your jobs “legally” and far more dangerous. That is all I am saying.”

    NO argument from me on that point. But its tough to find the bad guy in all that legal mess, most likely on purpose. However, when it comes to illegal immigration (and many other particular topics) the criminal is easy to determine. Now I’m not saying that all illegal immigrants combined even does a quarter as much damage to the U.S. economy as one single multinational corporation does, but we CAN enforce current laws to diminish that quarter.

    I’m not blaming our poor economic condition on illegals only, I’m just saying that to me it seems to be an easy problem to solve. Close the borders, find the ones here and send them home (or change immigration law to make them legal), and the problem is solved. Plus, to me its a win/win because it would greatly increase the security of our nation AND at the same time solve the illegal immigration problem.

    I see this as low hanging fruit. We already have laws for immigration, we *should* have control of our borders, and since we have the law on our side, we are completely within our rights as a nation to close the borders and demand that everyone coming here do it on our terms. No different than me asking you to take of your shoes before you walk into my house from the doorway. I want you to visit, and stay as long as you want, but don’t make a mess of my carpets.

    As far as large corporations operating on a “barely legal” mindset, I find that a much harder problem to solve. There is so much corruption in our government that it is damn near impossible to keep these back room deals from being made. I am fully aware that our own government sold us out decades ago for big money/business and I don’t like it one bit. But honestly, I don’t even know where to start.

    So, I’m concentrating on the issues I feel like I have a grasp on. Now, Olive and others feel like my grasp on illegal immigration is tenuous at best, and that is their opinion. But, as far as I’m concerned, I’ve got the solution in hand. Now I just want my government to do what it was MADE to do, protect the borders and uphold the law.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Ted,

    Oh, and NAFTA is crap. I hated it when it was passed, and still think it is a load of shit.

    Yay we agree! ;-)

    As if you don’t already think I’m a conspiracy theorist, I fully believe that there are people within our government that are running their own or some higher power’s agenda.

    Yes, here’s where I think we totally agree, and here’s what I think we should be exploring. The government/corporations want to keep illegal immigrants around for two reasons: 1) they’re easy to exploit, and 2) they divert the attention of the public (i.e. they make really awesome scapegoats). So while you’re coming at it from a “get them out,” perspective, I’m coming at it from a “let’s change policy so we’re not holding the carrot in front of their noses” POV.

    The real culprits are the people who want to exploit workers, but know they cannot exploit citizens. They are the people who want to keep selling us cheap crap to make a fortune. And they want to fuck with us.

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Yohami,

    I dont feel like “I have to go to the USA to make it big”. Yet, I want to make it big and “big” doesnt exist here.

    Right. That’s what I meant.

  • Mike C

    Regarding currency and relative currency values…

    It is a mistake to think that relative currency values are somehow rigged or that there is some conspiracy to keep the real purchasing power of the U.S. dollar artificially inflated versus other currencies. Global currency markets are amongst the most liquid markets in the world. The Bank of England lost its battle against George Soros to prop up the British pound.

    Currency values are driven by many variables. The currency of a country is essentially its “stock”. In that sense, it directly reflects the total wealth creation and productivity of that nation. The U.S. is among the most productive countries on Planet Earth hence why its value is going to dwarf that of Uzbekistan or some other third world backwater.

    Interest rates also matter as the responsible management of the currency via the government or central bank. Historically, the U.S. has been very prudent although in the last 5-10 years there has been some deterioration on that front. In contrast, many South American countries are notorious for currency mismanagement. Argentina and hyperinflation are almost synonymous. There is a “risk premium” that many of those nations might at any time devalue or try to print more currency. Brazil has gotten religion and I’d actually consider savings in reals. Many other South American countries are basket cases.

    I’m short on time right now, but there has been a good deal of flat out incorrect information on this thread regarding currencies, finance, economics, and trade. If I have time later, I might circle back.

    Jesus, for not being an economist or having a finance background, you had some spot on comments earlier in this thread somewhere.

    Now I just hope my short euro trade turns profitable :)

  • Mike C

    For those interested, some reading:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purchasing_power_parity

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Mike C, thanks for the link, reading

  • http://femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Mike C,
    Actually I’m glad you showed up. Am reading the link as well, hope you make it back.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Sue,

    Wouldn’t an efficient opponent get more done? I’m thinking of the early labor unions, for example.

    Sure, of course. I love reading about the early labor unions, btw. And I have nothing against efficiency in and out itself; it’s concentrated power that makes me uncomfortable. I can take pleasure in your efficiency and yet look with a take a more unsettling view of the efficiency of big business in developing, producing, distributing, marketing, and even lobbying on behalf of whatever it is trying to sell to the public.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Mike C,

    Yea, thanks for the link. I find economics (along with most things that pass through my consciousness) fascinating, and I interrogate people about it often when I come across folks who are knowledgeable about it. But most of my crowd is not very knowledgeable about it, and I grew up with a family that wasn’t good with money, so I’m fairly clueless about finances.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Yohami,

    Sound production is like being a chef – the better the quality of the ingredients, the more you can squeeze and create your own flavor. Im striving for excellence. Which happen to be expensive.

    I disagree with all of this. Sure, good quality ingredients make it easier to produce great dishes, but excellence in art is about the artist’s vision and not the materials so much.

    As far as food goes, imagine how many men threw out skins full of rotten milk that sat too long before someone discovered cheese. Or how many barrels of grape juice were discarded before it was discovered they were wine. Artistic vision means finding excellence where it wasn’t formerly perceived.

    Not that I’m negating anything you’re trying to do. Follow your own bliss.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    “Sound production is like being a chef – the better the quality of the ingredients, the more you can squeeze and create your own flavor. Im striving for excellence. Which happen to be expensive.”

    *sigh* Yep, it sure is.

  • Ted D

    “But most of my crowd is not very knowledgeable about it, and I grew up with a family that wasn’t good with money, so I’m fairly clueless about finances.”

    My family never had enough money to worry about being ‘good’ with it. :P

    My small circle of friends includes a couple that are pretty up on economics, and at least one old fashioned gun-toting conservative. In fact, of anyone I know, he would be the most likely to start and/or join a full on revolution if he thought it would succeed. He is actually one of my closest friends, and not only is he very interesting (and opinionated like me LOL) but if the shit does ever hit the fan, he has lots of guns and knows how to survive. So, he may come in handy if there ever is a revolution, or zombie apocalypse.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    Mahoney,

    you’re right, but especially in the digital age, EVERYTHING is being filtered through the machines, & depends enormously upon the quality of the machines. You’d think less of an action movie filmed on an iphone, even if it had amazing ideas in it, you’d be very aware it could be so much better. Same goes with music, & sound.

    You have so much more control with a novel, it’s just you & the page.

  • Ted D

    I’ve heard some really great music recorded with crappy gear being played on crappy instruments. But, those are rare, and in most cases it is actually the fact that it IS crappy that makes it sound so good. (I assume this is the same effect that the classic “B” horror movie inspires. They suck so bad they are awesome)

    But in general, it does take quality equipment and recordings to produce a quality song. Technology helps a lot though! You can get a very decent condenser mic from Blue for around $300 that can be used analog or directly digital over USB. And I’ve seen the costs for DAW software dropping over the years as well as faster/cheaper PCs for running it.

    In short, I think right now we have a pretty good mix of equipment and software available for recording without needing to invest $50k into a studio.

    I’m currently putting together a home studio built around an iPad 2 with Garageband, an Alesis iO Dock for it, the Blue condenser mic, and a set of M-Audio near field monitors. I’m also re-purposing a dual-core PC I have at home to be my new DAW with Cubase software (I would LOVE Pro Tools, but I don’t have $600 for the full version…) I already have a collection of guitars and bases, as well as a small Simmons drum kit.

    Of course, I’m not planning on using this to actually make a living, so my standards are probably not as high as others. But I fully expect to make decent quality stuff. And, I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised once I get everything setup and running.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    Ted,

    that sounds a nice little set-up. It seems in this age the pre-amp/digital convertor might be the biggest determining factor of the quality of what you’re trying to capture with microphones, & the good ones cost many thousands. It was easier in the analogue days to capture the actual sound because it wasn’t having to be being translated into zeros & ones. In the digital age it seems the ability to make adequate recordings has become affordable to just about anybody, but to make truly excellent recordings may be even more expensive than before.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Byron,

    Of course. I wouldn’t try to make an action movie on an iphone. You need special effects, stunt people, a huge budget, special permits, etc… I would allow my materials to dictate the limits of my style.

    When I was composing music, I wouldn’t attempt to write a symphony if the only musicians I knew were a cellist, a DJ, a percussionist, and a guy who liked to scream into microphones rigged with distortion boxes. I would write something offbeat and weird and look to have it performed at some funky club or art gallery in Soho.

    You didn’t see Van Gogh attempting paintings of royalty because he lived with peasants. Rossellini and the whole Italian Neorealist movement with it’s use of documentary-style footage wasn’t a result of loads of theoretical thought, it was the product of the environment: low budget, poor materials, etc…

    Look at DJs (you’re a DJ, right?). DJs became popular because it was cheaper to have one guy manning a record player than it was to have an entire band perform. The esthetics of DJing all stem from an artist accepting and working from the environment he found himself in rather than searching for the ideal environment.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    That’s true, working joyously within your limitations is the key to greatness, it seems. Finding a way to do something new with an i-pad, a rubber band & a contact mic. It’s just pretty heartbreaking to be hearing symphonies for five bassoons & a triangle in your head & be sat alone at a bontempi organ.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Jesus,

    Sure, good quality ingredients make it easier to produce great dishes, but excellence in art is about the artist’s vision and not the materials so much.

    I said “sound production”, not “writing music” and certainly didnt say “art”.

    This is the angle where I usually give a fuck about art. Start off with a decent script . Take Byron´s suggestion and film it with an iphone, then add bad lighting, bad screenplay, bad audio, bad music, bad acting – bad ingredients overall – and see what you get.

    You can call it “art” for all I care.

    In music – when it comes to production, there´s something called “mixing engineer” who doesnt do anything “art”, his job is to mix the ingredients and cook a good sound. That´s where the sound production thing applies. But it starts on the instruments, then the room where they are recorded, the microphones, the preamp, the eq, compressors, the medium where they are stored, then there are one thousands techniques to mix them all and make soup.

    And the sound can make or break the music. Otherwise no one would care – we would film movies with an iphone / my bathroom mixes would be huge.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Jesus and Byron,

    Yes, limitations make for great art. There are movies and ideas that can be done with an iphone, bad lighting, bad acting, and still be awesome.

    For that you embrace or self impose limitations or play within limitations and see where it takes you.

    The limitations of having bad instruments, bad recording and bad mixing gear, though, dont fit my vision.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Byron,

    working joyously within your limitations is the key to greatness

    Yea. And I love how you stated it.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Yohami,

    That’s cool. I’m sure that for most musicians who were stuck DJing in the early days of that phenomenon, the thought of playing the music of others on a crummy turntable didn’t fit their vision of art either. It took someone with a different vision to make it work.

    I’m not knocking you or your vision at all. I was just saying in response to Olive’s comment yesterday that it’s rooted in the conventional “frame” of what constitutes “greatness.” You might win, but it will be at someone else’s game. That’s not a bad thing, necessarily.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Jesus,

    You might win, but it will be at someone else’s game.

    Yeah, the game is called contemporary music, it uses guitars, microphones, vocals, choruses, hooks, synths, drums, and a lot of other tools to record and process these sounds. Man I didnt come up with any of that myself.

    Van Gogh didnt come up with lienzo oleo brushes and painting either. But his technique and painting with his own blood are remarkable.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    *Contemporary pop music…

    We all play someone else’s game to a certain extent. Artists generally push the boundaries though, adding their own rules to the game, personalizing things to one extent or another. Pop musicians and songwriters (with some exceptions, the most contemporary examples of which I can’t name b/c I don’t follow pop music anymore) generally aren’t pushing boundaries. They generally aren’t artists in any real sense, either. That goes for popular fiction, too. And film, of course.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Jesus,

    Yep agree. The art part is been absent for a while. Im not making “pop” though, at least not in the top 40 sense.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    Yohami,

    I used to love Prince’s early stuff in the 80′s, I still can’t figure out how he did what he did back then. Back in the day he was changing & growing & discovering something completely new every day. His first great record is this weird grimy punk/funk album called ‘Dirty Mind’, which he recorded testing out his first home studio. Stripping everything down to the bone gave him a new sound which soon became ‘his’ sound (no bassline).

    It all went bad after about 1988, & he’s been putting out worse & worse music ever since, all the while getting richer & richer & richer, & more closed off from real life.

    I often think the best thing for him artistically would be for him to lose everything he has & have to start all over again. Live in the real world, get himself some dirt under his fingernails, an 8-track tape recorder & a drum machine & prove his genius from nothing once more.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Byron,

    I never paid attention to Prince, listening

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsUTfZW2kcI&feature=related

    Great music… I only know of this guy because of “kiss” and shinead oconnor and purple… thing.

    Im amazed this stuff got huge

    “Do It All Night” – I like it

    The sound though… the world was a very different place 30 years ago if this even had a chance.

    Just like now actors have to be gorgeous to be able to act, musicians have to be gorgeous to have a chance at music, etc, the layers of candy are more important than the talent behind. Right now the “sound” is more important than the truth behind the sound.

    Somewhere post nirvana everything started sounding the same. Something is hard rock because its played with the hard rock set of sounds, not because the music has any hardness to it, etc. All the acts are interchangeable.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Byron,

    I think you nailed it about Prince when you said he was, “discovering something completely new everyday.” There’s something vital about early Prince, just like there’s something vital about groups Mr. Bungle in its early days and even the stuff from Beck in the 90s, which I think is all about that sense of discovery and trying new things. Of course, once greatness is achieved, too many people just try to replicate it rather than moving on and end up going stale as a result.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Byron,

    Yup, if you develop something with a set of limitations, you get lost when these limitations get removed. Some guys (beatles) seek for new limitations and paradigms. Most just get lost.

    Its a common discussion on the recording / mixing world. How having too many tools and channels is harder than have just a few. Having too many options lets you stay uncommitted, so you dont make hard decisions early, and that has a negative impact on your vision.

  • Ted D

    Yohami – ” my bathroom mixes would be huge.”

    I still maintain that my current bathroom as great acoustic properties, provided I’m looking for a natural ambient sound on whatever I’m recording with a mic. I actually knew a guy that put a set of speakers in his bathroom, and then setup two mics in an X pattern suspended from the curtain rod, JUST so he could pump his mix into the bathroom and record it as a “reverb chamber”. I gotta say, it sounded pretty unique. :P Of course he didn’t do it often, as the rest of his family wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of waiting outside the bathroom door for the noise to stop so they could utilize the facilities. LOL

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Ted D,

    Share some!

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Yohami,

    Somewhere post nirvana everything started sounding the same. Something is hard rock because its played with the hard rock set of sounds, not because the music has any hardness to it, etc. All the acts are interchangeable.

    How does this inform what you do with your music?

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    JM,

    Me & a guy I used to live with used to make people lay down between two speakers & play them Mr Bungle’s “Merry Go Bye Bye”. Amazing stuff, but there was usually genuine terror in their eyes after a couple of minutes.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    “The sound though… ”

    yeh, but that was literally recorded at his home on an 8-track. The sound got much better: Check out the Parade album or Sign O The Times, most eclectic, experimental, all-bases covered pop music of that era.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Byron,

    Yea, I was a big fan of the entire album, though I’d have to say that I think my favorite track from it was…. My Ass is on Fire. Or Dead Goon. But the whole thing was amazing.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Jesus,

    How does this inform what you do with your music?

    The story goes like this.

    I made my first album in Venezuela in 1996, in a studio. A lot of people loved the music, as I did, but it got nowhere. It sounded like crap when compared to international music -> it didnt open doors, it didnt compete on the market. My singing wasnt good either.

    I “discovered” pc recording in 1998 when I was studying sound engineering. I made an album myself, on the pc, using nothing but the free microsoft microphone, playing all the instruments, it sounded raw and cheap and I loved it, it got nowhere.

    In 2000 I had some tiny money and went to a studio again. Went half the recording process and stopped. Something was missing. I did some research on the brand new internet thing. I found the vocal mic, instruments and the techniques etc were off. I saved money for a year and a half and bought a home studio.

    In 2002 I had a home studio that costed me 5K, which was a lot of money for me back then. I recorded 8 songs. The sound was more in tune with what people liked, and people liked it. I got offers from record labels but they wanted me to do concessions, so I passed. My sound wasnt ready though, I felt it was sketchy.

    In 2006 I recorded again with better gear. I made a couple of recordings and got one in the top 10 in Argentina.

    In 2008 I knew about Game and Alpha and stuff and decided to quit from my corporate life and pursue music for real. I spent about a year making music on the pc and the bathroom, and formed a band, and played live, and did all of crazy things and had a lot of fun.

    In 2009 I realized I wasnt good enough as a recordist to make the album myself and started hitting the best studio in Argentina. I rehearsed and went there and spent a ridiculous (for me, back then) amount of money and hired the best audio engineers around.

    In early 2010 I had the album. It sounded like crap. So what the fuck?

    I compared my raw mixes vs the studio mixes and my own stuff was better, yet the studio still sounded better in some regards.

    So I researched. Why is my own stuff sounding bad and why dont I like what Im getting from studios?

    So besides technique, it came down to instruments, gear tools and room.

    The gear from the studio was better than my pc plugins, but I was using my plugins better, for my vision, than the engineers were using their gear at the studio, towards their own vision.

    Plus the gear and equipment here dates from 1980. Which would be good if I wanted to sound like 1980s (the local music scene here does)

    So. I either piled money and traveled where there were better instruments, gears and rooms and vision on a limited amount of time, or I piled money and built my own room with gear and instruments, and do my vision on my own on whatever timeline it needs.

    And now its two years later and about 100K and I have a lot of stuff in my living room and looking for places to move.

    Any anything I record here now, on my untreated and noisy room, sounds better than anything I had before, better than my raw bathroom stuff and better than the best studio here.

    So, that. I didnt plan to engineer the sound myself. Most artists dont. Originally I just wanted to make music and let someone else care about sound / distribution / product and what not. But my story now is Im going to be doing most of that myself, before I hire anyone to do it for me.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    Yohami,

    I could list loads of songs, but check this one out & think about what he’s achieving in words & music, the things he’s singing about & the way he’s singing about it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtveZ0t48p4

    This was 1987, rap was only just beginning to be heard & very little of it was political but this was a huge hit single. On top of that, think of the fact that he played & produced every sound on it (before computers).

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    “The gear from the studio was better than my pc plugins, but I was using my plugins better, for my vision, than the engineers were using their gear at the studio, towards their own vision.”

    I know EXACTLY what you mean, that’s really well put & describes the situation you’d get in most recording studios I would say, unless you’re bringing in your own producer.

    My god, we’re waaay off topic, aren’t we?

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Yohami,

    I meant how does the “homogenization” of music post-Nirvana inform your sound? Are you looking to create something comparable to what’s currently being made or something that departs from that norm?

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Yohami,

    Also you mentioned the Beatles before. I would bet money that the genius of the Beatles had as much to do with George Martin producing them as it did with Lennon and McCartney writing songs for them. The combination between the three was what did it. Lennon and McCartney on their own and w/o Martin…. paled in comparison.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      . I would bet money that the genius of the Beatles had as much to do with George Martin producing them as it did with Lennon and McCartney writing songs for them.

      Agreed. I adore how GM introduced horns and strings. He was bringing in symphony musicians. The Beatles couldn’t really play live after that, but even today, that sounds so fresh.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    I think you could introduce the ‘Let It Be – Naked’ album as exhibit A in your prosecution.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Jesus,

    How does this inform what you do with your music?

    More to the point.

    What it tells me is that pop and production replaced art a while ago. That the consumer taste picks on flavor rather than on nutrients.

    I disregarded production and flavor for long and cared only about the truth behind. And that´s what I really care about still, but its not in tune with the world.

    The same way my real persona is all I care about. But when presented from the Alpha frame, it wins. Without the Alpha frame, it doesnt.

    So for music, all the stuff around it sells, while music on its own doesnt. In the current world someone like Dylan doesnt stand a chance. But, take good music and build a product and a flavor around it like White Strokes did, and it sells, and it lets the music / truth come through.

    So Im focusing on flavor / production now because that´s what I lacked all along. This stuff goes in parallel with my transition from omega -> Alpha. At the beginning the core stays the same and the package is just that. But then the package starts altering the core, for good and for bad, and the whole thing changes. Perception changes, reality changes.

    Right now the sound on its own is its own thing. Almost as important of the truth behind, because its the medium – the frame through it will be perceived. A Juno 60 passed through a TG preamp and processed with the Vulture Distortion transmits a different emotion than the same line produced with a virtual synth on the PC. I can tell the difference now and I became picky about the sound. Layer 10 sounds and the tiny differences land you in very different places.

    If I can also point to the right buttons on the market and make it a product people can consume, its win win. Good for my art and good for the people and good for the business.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Jesus,

    Are you looking to create something comparable to what’s currently being made or something that departs from that norm?

    Something that departs from the norm, a new flavor.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Byron,

    I know EXACTLY what you mean, that’s really well put & describes the situation you’d get in most recording studios I would say, unless you’re bringing in your own producer.

    Hell yes. I want ready to be my own producer then. I didnt know what all these racks were for. And the purity of the sound in the studio – its really distracting, when you´re used to your tiny pc speakers.

    My god, we’re waaay off topic, aren’t we?

    Its a lot of fun though! whats this art / music forum name again?

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    *Hell yes. I WASNT ready to be my own producer then.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Jesus,

    Also you mentioned the Beatles before. I would bet money that the genius of the Beatles had as much to do with George Martin producing them as it did with Lennon and McCartney writing songs for them. The combination between the three was what did it. Lennon and McCartney on their own and w/o Martin…. paled in comparison.

    I tried looking if they really stole their material from somewhere. Some of their classics are versions… but most of their stuff is supposedly original.

    Too hints, they are being regarded as the mothers of creation – its a common sense thing, which usually means its a fabrication. Then most of all these pals did after the Beatles, including George Martin, including anything done at Abbey Roads, the stuff done by the same genius engineers etc is inconsistent.

    Its like it would make more sense if they were fed by 200 songwriters giving them hit songs, like what happens today. It makes more sense if they are fake.

    Like, Led Zeppelling fake (I love them, but I´ve seen so much evidence they just stole material)

    At least Rolling Stones is consistent, their solo stuff is on par with what they do on the band. It makes it believeable.

    Or maybe the Beatles was indeed a conjunction of random genius and boredom and drugs and (the good kind of) stealing from the proper sources.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Byron,

    Prince – Sign O the Times

    So good!

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      My favorite Prince song is Little Red Corvette. It makes me want to have sex.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    “it would make more sense if they were fed by 200 songwriters giving them hit songs, like what happens today. It makes more sense if they are fake.”

    No, it’s very obvious if you observe closely – especially lyrically – the development of John in particular. It is so obviously his own story, his own life being played out in song. Musically they were indebted to hundreds of other people, but they synthesized it into something entirely their own, which is the most any artist can hope to do, really.

    I remember hearing someone say the difference between the Beatles & Oasis is this: John Lennon’s influences ranged all the way from motown, skiffle, Edward Lear, music hall songs, Jazz, Blues, rock & roll, radio shows & stand-up comedians.. it all went into the cement mixer from which he made his own art.

    Noel Gallagher’s influences, on the other hand, were… John Lennon.

    And that’s why the Beatles were great, & why Oasis were the worst thing to happen to British pop music since Emerson Lake & Palmer.

  • Ramble

    Like, Led Zeppelling fake (I love them, but I´ve seen so much evidence they just stole material)

    I remember hearing about that for the first time a year or two ago. This one guy started playing a bunch of their (Zeppelin) songs and then following each with the original song from some Blues player (I don’t remember his name).

    It was so odd.

    There are lots of examples of this song or that from various musicians sounding like other songs, but it is almost always one song from each. In Zepps case, there were a bunch. Too many to be a coincidence.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Zeppelin took a lot from Muddy Waters. Probably some Robert Johnson, too, but definitely Waters.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Yea, I think the genius of the Beatles can really be attributed to the confluence of 3 great minds: Lennon, McCartney, and Martin.

    I’ve never heard Let it Be-Naked, but I’ve been reading about it just now and I’m intrigued.

  • Ted D

    In regards to sharing – I intend to put up some kind of website with audio files once I have a few ready. I’m not going to put much time and money into it, as I’m not planning on making any. But I like to share. :P

    I have a few recordings from a few years back when I was still actively with a band that we did in a studio for an EP we never released. I might start work on the website sooner than later and put those up. I’ll be sure to let you all know if/when I get it going.

    Yohami – do you have of your stuff online?

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    Oh, it’s awful, don’t go there.

    Never liked Zep all that much, maybe 5 or 6 songs, but in their defence, that was simply the blues tradition. No single person invented the ‘woke up this morning..’ riff, anymore than any one person (that we know of) invented the haiku. They are just structures that evolved that you were supposed to express your own story through. 60′s rock is in a large part about white English bands going over to America & selling them back their own (black) music they never liked before.

    However, ‘Kashmir’ doesn’t sound like Muddy Waters. And what makes The Beatles stand far above all their contemporaries is that they started out in that place – white boys holding blues albums – & ended up making ‘A Day In The Life’, ‘Strawberry Fields’ & ‘Across The Universe’. Which still sound like no-one else.

  • Ted D

    Yohami – “So for music, all the stuff around it sells, while music on its own doesnt. In the current world someone like Dylan doesnt stand a chance.”

    Yep, and this is why I really never tried to make a living in music. What sells today has much more to do with who produced your tracks than the actual quality of the musicianship. In fact, if you listen to pop music, there are usually more digitally programmed instruments that real musicians on the tracks. I can respect and even enjoy pop/dance/trance for the multiple layers of complexity and even the lushness of the chosen sounds, but I’ve never once heard a pop dance song and thought “now there is some great musicians.” More often than not, I’m wondering who took the hours upon hours to layer all those MIDI tracks.

    That being said, I’ve started playing around with writing Dance/Trance stuff. Mostly because I find it easier to learn the new equipment and programs if I’m not concentrating on actually making music. Dance tracks are very pattern based, so I can quickly lay down drums, bass, and some kind of synth pad sound in minutes, and then spend hours just playing with the arrangement. It doesn’t do anything for my normal music, but it is getting me vary familiar with the software. Plus, I don’t have to mic anything or actually pick up an instrument. So I can do all this while chilling in bed with the iPad.

    I jokingly told me SO she may be an “emotional widow” for a few weeks since I seem to be spending my evenings with headphones on. LOL

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Ted D,

    Yohami – do you have of your stuff online?

    Not yet! but will share when I do

  • Ted D

    Oh man! I was a huge Prince fan in the 80′s. Little Red Corvette is good, but the 1999 album had SO many good songs. Let’s Pretend We’re Married was one of my favorites. Also, some of his early stuff is really good, when he was recording and playing everything himself. Must people know “I Wanna Be Your Lover”, but he did a song called Bambi (about a lesbian he wants to “convert”…) and it sounds VERY Hendricks like. I’ve also seen him live, and the man can WAIL on a guitar. I think he may be one of the most brilliant musicians of our time. Not just in terms of what he recorded and produced, but also the projects/artists he worked with over the years.

    I’d love to hang out in a studio with him for a month.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Zeppelin vs Waters

    http://www.whosampled.com/sample/view/8670/Led%20Zeppelin-Whole%20Lotta%20Love_Muddy%20Waters-You%20Need%20Love/

    It also shows how the sound can make or break the music. Almost the same song, but I cant listen to Water´s take

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    “Oh, it’s awful, don’t go there.”

    That was addressed to JM about the Let It Be stripped down thing, I wasn’t savaging the majesty of Prince.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Yohami,

    I love Muddy Waters. It’s one of the most-played things on my iPod. After Medeski, Martin, & Wood, and Melt Banana.

  • http://www.yohami.com/blog/ YOHAMI

    Jesus,

    My right speaker is on repair so I was listening a weird mix. I plugged my headphones and heard the drums, I like it.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    “My favorite Prince song is Little Red Corvette. It makes me want to have sex.”

    Bad sex. Wicked sex. Dangerous, unhealthy & possibly illegal sex.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Byron,

    I never heard of “skiffle” before now. I listened to some on youtube. Didn’t make me want to have sex like Prince, but it was interesting.

  • CW

    80% of female bosses I have known have been real problems, compared with about 10% of men.

    On average, women in the workplace (in traditionally male-dominated fields, which is all I know) seem to do about 20% of the amount of useful work that men do.

    About 80% of the females in positions of power that I know achieved their position by either sleeping with or intimidating the men above them. Of the ones that were promoted on “merit”, it was judged by other females very much like them.

    Women seem to earn at least as much as men, for doing less work. They receive competitive promotions at 4-5 times the rate of men, proportionately. (If there are 8 men and 2 women competing for 4 promotions, at least one and very often both of the women will get promoted, even if their job performance is at the bottom.) They miss work about 5 times more often.

    I cannot cite an example of a unique innovation, invention, or revolutionary change created by a woman in any field in which I have worked (all traditionally male roles).

    Feminism is a giant lie that has destroyed our civilization. Realization of that fact seems to finally be dawning in some quarters (after the “End of Men”), but it is too late. Human civilization is headed for another millenia of dark ages and the destruction of gender roles in the West is the number one direct cause.

  • http://triggeralert.blogspot.com Byron

    JM,

    yeah, it’s a weird one, in Britain it was the immediate precursor to Rock&Roll, just before Little Richard & Elvis hit. It’s what the guys in the Beatles were playing before they became The Beatles.

    Strangely enough, I understand Prince has said his new work is going to be heading in an exclusively skiffle direction, starting with an album of George Formby covers.

  • http://emmatheemo.wordpress.com/ Emma the Emo

    I’m glad the only female bosses I had were very nice and good at doing their job. They spread enthusiasm about the job and praised you when you did good, making you want to do good in the future. And when I messed up, I didn’t get yelled at (she probably understood I already felt bad and would fix it).

  • Wudang

    I am a bit perplexed after just having read a thread at a forum where almost all the women after being asked which gender was the nicest answered that men were the nicest, by far in the view of several.