What's Really Holding Professional Women Back?


Pam Anderson

Via Rebecca Adams at The Huffington Post, here's another explanation for why there are so few high-powered women in corporations, politics, media and other traditionally male bastions. And it's not because they want more balance between work and family than men, as I wrote recently. Nor is it because, unlike men, women only take on assignments that truly interest them, not to please someone or make a name. No siree. It's because they spend their whole day thinking of fashion. In fact, notes Adams, women think about fashion four times more than men think about sex in a day:

Online retailer surveyed British women to see just how many times from sunrise to sunset their minds wandered from the task at hand to fashion, taking into account things like window shopping, perusing online retail sites, noticing a stylish item and even simply daydreaming about that dress you should have bought during Kim Kardashian's eBay sale.

We already know that lipstick names seep into our conscious more than we thought, but apparently 11 percent of British women think about fashion more often than they think about friends, family and work. Rebecca Elderfield, Style Director said in a press release, "For many young women fashion is so much more than a casual hobby or mild interest – it's a way of life, and the results of the survey confirm that."

A way of life is right. According to the study, a fashion thought manages to creep into women's minds for an hour and 19 minutes every day. That means that every 11 minutes and 23 seconds a woman stops to ponder style. Also noteworthy is the clothing item that tops the list: dresses. (Not shoes?)

Concludes Adams:

With all of this hard time spent pondering fashion, it's a miracle that women are able to find the time to order lunch, let alone climb the political ladder or become an executive at a global company.

So true.

But now that we know what's preventing women from assuming their rightful place in the patriarchal power structure, here's a possible cure: Create workplaces that cause men to think about sex as much as women think about fashion.

Government subsidies for X-rated posters of Pamela Anderson in offices, anyone? That might be a parity scheme even men might get behind!

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  1. ” Also noteworthy is the clothing item that tops the list: dresses. (Not shoes?)”

    By catching that Shikha, you give yourself away. Adams must be right.


    1. I thought that comment was from Adams. Everything in quotes should be hers, while Dalmia’s are out of the quote sections.

      1. Look, it is friday, I am not working today, staying home by myself. I had a couple of vodkas.
        *smacking head*

  2. This is just as stupid as the “men think about sex every X seconds”, because such metrics are utterly retarded and mean nothing, but I’m sure some humor can be had from it.

    Create workplaces that cause men to think about sex as much as women think about fashion.

    I’m pretty sure you don’t need to do anything additional to do that.

    1. I think they created that when women were allowed to join the work force.

    2. Internet access helps, but isn’t necessary.

  3. This post makes your ass look big.

    1. Calm down, sarcasmic. You can go shopping later.

  4. Women don’t go to the very top because they often have different values. To go to the very top, you pretty much have to sell yourself and your life out. Most women don’t want to do that. Most women hit their 30s and want to have kids and find their kids to be more important than their work. And your 30s and 40s is when you either make it or break it in your career.

    It is really that simple. Some women make the other choice and go to the top. It is not like there are no women CEOs.

    1. You are right, John. I used to work at Honeywell’s global headquarters. One day I asked the VP of International HR what he had to do to get a job like that. He told me mater-of-factly that when everyone is going to their kid’s soccer games and band concerts, you stay at the office and work instead.

      1. They don’t give that money away. And frankly most people who do make that choice end up regretting it later. No one ever dies wishing they had only worked harder. Well some do, but not most.

        1. family story: The day my (Dutch) great-grandmother died, she still managed to hang up the laundry.

          1. They don’t make people like they used to. My mother was like that. Just a boundless source of energy and work.

          2. The day I die, I’ll be looking at my laundry pile thinking, “I should probably fold that… Meh, tomorrow’s another day…”

        2. The CEO of my company, who is in his late 60s actually said something along those lines. He was asked in an employee meeting whether he regretted anything about his career and he said he hadn’t spent enough time with his family.

          1. The monocle wearers of old used to take 3 months in Maine and months in Europe (e.g. the first class types on the Titanic). They had competent assistants who ran things. What changed????

            1. In a lot of ways it was the advent of the modern corporation.

              See the monocle wearer of yesterday was not just the CEO, he was the entrepreneur who founded the company, in many ways he was the physical manifestation of the company and while he delegated many things to the managers who worked for him the buck always stopped with him.

              Then starting in the early 19th century and really accelerating after the Industrial Revolution and the growth of Stock Markets the guys with the Monocle’s realized it made little sense to tie your fortunes or more importantly your reputation to a single corporation, just own stock in a few and leave all the hard work to professional managers.

              So now with a very small handful of exceptions (Jobs, Gates, Branson, Buffet, Cuban, etc.) there is no one who is the physical embodyment of the company, just a hired gun who may wield extroradinary power over the company but in the end is still just an employee.

              Meanwhile the guys with the Monocles sit in their Swiss Chalets and Camp out in the Hamptons and collect the dividends.

      2. I’ll sign onto this. If you’re smart and you want to be married to your job, you’ll probably be at the top. 99% of people aren’t at the top because they have different preferences.

        I do think that we’re flattening out our work/leisure ratio a little bit, and while that is going to mean we’ll eventually falter in global GDP standings and such, I think that’s OK. As a nation ages, it invests more in leisure and less in work.

        1. Well, you can’t turn into the French. But at the same time, as we get more productive and wealthier, we ought to be able to work less. Sure we are forgoing wealth by doing so. But since we are more productive and wealthier we don’t need the wealth. Our ancestors worked so much harder because they had to.

          1. As I was smoking the other day talking about this very thing with a friend, I mused how mortified our ancestors from even just a few hundred years ago would be that I have so much free time after working enough to take care of my needs, that I’ll stand there and give myself fucking cancer just for something to do. I will literally engage in an activity that I know will give me a terminal illness, out of sheer boredom.

            This truly is the best of times to be alive.

            1. In many ways yes. The only good thing you can say about living in the past is that you wouldn’t have known any better and been used to it. But having lived now, I would never want to go and live in the past. And I am probably the most nostalgic and history obsessed person you will ever meet.

              1. Oh no, I’m right there with you. My degree is in Medieval/Renaissance history, my bookshelves are full of works about such riveting topics as the landlord/tenent relationship in post-Conquest England, etc.

                It’s my knowledge of such things that makes me grateful to be alive now, and that allows me to know that I would be miserable having to go back and do it their way.

                1. Am just finishing The Year of the Conquest. The 1976 classic on the Norman invasion of England.

                  Totally changed my understanding of it. I had no idea what a batshit crazy endeavor taking mounted cavalry across the Channel really was. I also never realized the Harold was actually a very good king and that Edward the Confessor was kind of a turd. Also, William really didn’t want to invade England but had no choice but to do so after he bragged to everyone how Edward had promised him the thrown. Being Duke of Normandy was like being head of the Gambino family. If people started laughing at you or not taking your seriously, you were a goner.

                  1. Strangely, I had a moment of “what a terrible time to live in” when I was reading about the Battle of Hastings myself.

                    1. If you had to live in the middle ages, Anglo Saxon England in the century after the Vikings calmed down wouldn’t have been bad. Norman England would have sucked unless you were a Norman.

                    2. France from about 800-1800 would be where I would try to avoid being a peasant.

                    3. France from about 800-1800 would be where I would try to avoid being a peasant.

                      Anywhere in Russia, ever.

                  2. Being Duke of Normandy was like being head of the Gambino family. If people started laughing at you or not taking your seriously, you were a goner.

                    The Tanner’s Son. None of the other nobles respected him at all.

                    And if you really want a trip, read about the life of Harold Hadrada before he decided to go on his adventure to York. Dude led an alarmingly badass life.

                    1. No shit he did. That needs to be a movie. How many people manage to be a bad ass viking and terrorize the near east for the Byzantines all in the same life?

                    2. Get exiled, serve in the Varangian Guard, kidnap a princess, go back and beat up your own brother to take half his kingdom, then (probably) kill his ass and invade England. It’s what Gladiator could have been.

                  3. And I also have that book, and it’s absolutely great, if anyone else cares to check it out.

    2. And your 30s and 40s is when you either make it or break it in your career.

      So it’s pretty much over for me. Thanks, John.

      1. 60 is the new 40 Paul

        1. Then why does 40 feel like 60?

  5. What’s Really Holding Professional Women Back?

    Steve Smith, baby.

    And he makes the little minxes like it, too.

  6. Perhaps all those women are viewing my popular fashion blog.

    1. Might not be safe for YOUR work.

  7. But it’s the fault of society and the patriarchy that we put the expectations on womyn to always look good so it forces them to think about fashion. So you see, it’s really men’s fault.

    1. I mean it is not like women are brutally cruel to each other about appearances pretty much from birth or anything.

      1. They’re cruel to eachother because of men’s societal expectations placed on them. If we weren’t such neanderlithic assholes, they would be nice to eachother.

        If you ever doubt your ability to analyze these situations properly, stop and ask yourself: does my train of logic lead inevitably to it being the fault of men? If not, then your logic is faulty and you need to recheck your premises.

        1. I know you’re being sarcastic but like a really good satire it is impossible to tell from the words themselves whether you really believe that or not because there are actually people who think like that.

          Even the reality that most men think the sexiest thing a woman can wear is something simple and inelegant and preferably slightly revealing, like a t-shirt or his discarded work shirt we get blamed by these morons for creating the environment that makes women feel they have to look like sex symbols all the time.

          In Hollywood that may be true, in the real world, the sexiest woman in the room to most men is the one who will talk to him.

    2. I would think their propensity to undercut each other in middle management professional situations over perceived slights makes none of them look like upper management material. I mean, a dude will fuck you over to advance his career, but its rare that he’ll fuck you over with nothing to gain except seeing you fucked. Professional women (and I’ve worked for some awesome exceptions, but generally) seem to assemble constantly realigning factions to fuck the pretty/smart/snobbish/bitchy/slutty/toadying woman over in the 25-35 demographic when most people are getting their first management experience. Then everybody acts surprised that nobody trusts any of them as a peer.

      1. And sexual harassment law doesn’t help them. A big part of getting ahead is politicking and being a trusted part of the group. Thanks to sexual harassment law, a man really can’t trust himself to speak freely around a women the way he can around other men. Letting a women into the good old boy club is just asking for litigation. So they don’t get in.

        1. You know, I think at least in the private sector, this is going away. Most of the 25-35 year old women don’t seem to assume that men are sexually harrassing them when they tell a sex joke. Of course, the jokes are less sexist too. You won’t hear the “he done told her twice” punchline in a professional setting anymore, and that’s not a bad thing.

          1. No it is not.

          2. Or from Winter’s Bone: I done told you once with my mouth.

          3. You know I used to think that too, but my current job has taught me that there are at least sections of the economy where this is still prevalent.

            I have heard more seriously inappropriate jokes told in office during the 4 months I have been here than I had in the previous 15

    3. Not men’s fault.

      “Fashion is the work of the devil.” – according to the first president of China, Wu Tingfang. Tingfang goes on to say, “When he made up his mind to enslave mankind he found in fashion his most effective weapon. Fashion enthralls man, it deprives him of his freedom; it is the most autocratic dictator, its mandate being obeyed by all classes, high and low, without exception. Every season it issues new decrees, and no matter how ludicrous they are, everyone submits forthwith.”

  8. One of my favorite quotes from Better Off Ted applies here:

    “Veronica Palmer is man-smart. I look forward to seeing her smash through the glass ceiling so we can all look up her skirt.”

    1. Oh how I miss that show. I think my favorite episode is the one with the motion sensors…

      The company’s position is that it’s actually the opposite of racist, because it’s not targeting black people. It’s just ignoring them. They insist the worst people can call it is “indifferent.”

  9. “Government subsidies for X-rated posters of Pamela Anderson in offices, anyone? That might be a parity scheme even men might get behind!”

    Hell no. She is old.

    1. She was extremely pretty when she was younger and before the knife work. A shame really.

      1. Maybe she was hot in 1990 but she’s gross now.

      2. When she was the Tool Time Girl she was gorgeous. Then came the tats and the bad boob jobs and the bad plastic surgery. She just turned into a freak. I will never understand how anyone finds her attractive. Skank is too weak of a word.

        1. I liked the other tool time girl better though ….

      3. No, no she wasn’t

        I mean to each his own of course but even when she was first on Bay Watch I thought she was hiddeous and she would have had to pay me for sex cause I wouldn’t have been interested.

    2. True, but that pic is kinda hot.

  10. a fashion thought manages to creep into women’s minds for an hour and 19 minutes every day. That means that every 11 minutes and 23 seconds a woman stops to ponder style.

    How does that follow? Maybe they do all of their fashion thinking in one solid session.

    1. You know what else they do in one solid session?

      1. Knitting?

      2. Scissoring?

  11. “Government subsidies for X-rated posters of Pamela Anderson in offices, anyone?”

    How about pictures of Shikha Dalmia in a two-piece? (As if I didn’t spend enough time on Hit Run already.)

    1. Emily Elkins.

      1. The poor woman who has her name butchered more often than any other. Her real name is Emily Ekins.

        1. Good catch. But you just can’t help yourself. You just want to say Elkins.

          1. No, I’m capable of reading and saying it properly. YOU are the one that keeps doing it wrong.

            That being said, I wish I could help myself to a bit of Emily. Alright, that sounds a bit sexist.

          2. you know what we need? we need a Reason Locker Room forum. Because while I appreciate the awesome banter we have, I also don’t know if it does us any good.

            1. You mean like where people can go to make meaningless comments about people making meaningless comments?

              1. well, that depends on your definition of ‘meaning’.

                you have to admit that a newcomer might be a little intimidated, coming here. there are boob links and “fuck off slaver” retorts galore.

                I want to preserve some of the flavor and character while maintaining a welcome place for newcomers.

                1. As a relative newcomer here compared to some others, the stuff like that is actually what got me interested in coming back. Sure it’s not for everyone but who says it has to be?

                2. This is why nobody takes libertarians seriously.

                  1. And why we can’t have nice things.

                  2. This is all just idle speculation on my part.

                    1. Besides, someone needs to keep a check on Darth John’s unquenchable need to have the last word in any particular comment chain. Even if it’s just to say “I agree” (although it’s never that simple).

                3. I want to preserve some of the flavor and character while maintaining a welcome place for newcomers.

                  Trying to tell us how to talk? Fuck off, slaver.

                4. “Fuck off slaver” retorts are hardly on a par with the boob links. That shit is serious! (The former, I mean.)

                5. You know that point on old maps that say “Here there be monsters”, Hit and Run should come with the same disclaimer.

          3. I always say Etkins.

            1. So is it pronounced “Eckins” or “Eeekins”?

              1. You know how you could find out? Actually watch one of the videos she’s featured in. Every time I’ve heard it said, it’s pronounced “Eekins”.

                1. I’m always a bit distracted when I watch those videos…

  12. Saw this relevant post on a Facebook post from a college friend.

    Apparently women who choose to be housewives are helping make men sexists and ruin it for the women who want to work all the time.

    1. Fucking gender traitors. Come the revolution, they’ll be the first ones shot. Well, shooting is patriarchical, but they’ll definitely be shunned and have catty comments made about them.

      1. Poor Lindy is in the state she’s in from swallowing all that impotent rage.

        1. For women, the correct term is “infertile rage”.

    2. Everytime y’all trick me into clicking on a link to jezebel I lose a few more brain cells. ugh.
      In addition to NSFW warnings start putting BCDP for ‘brain cell destruction possible’.

      1. brain cell destruction possible

        You misspelled ‘imminent’.

      2. “This link is NSFT: Not Safe For Thinking.”

    3. Apparently women who choose to be housewives are helping make men sexists and ruin it for the women who want to work all the time.

      In my perfect society, work would be mandatory for women. And all would be high earning workaholics that bring home the bacon.

      1. In your perfect society, would all women be given work assignments by a benevolent authority who dictated that all attractive women worked as prostitutes who maintained low prices by providing services in high volume?

        Just asking.

  13. I’d get behind it

  14. But guys think about sports more than that.

  15. Women get pregnant and have kids.

    Now there are super women out there who can have kids and have an awesome career, but the rest are only human.

    When you add up those two groups you get less women in power…it really is that simple.

    Women who choose to forgo having kids tend to do just as good as men do in the work place both in pay and position…but again when you add those three groups together the average comes down compared to men.

    I guess you could get a man to raise the kids…i am volunteering here…but lets be honest. Women do not marry and have kids with men like that. I am sure there are a few who do…but they are a small group and do not have much effect on the average.

    This is why. Any questions?

  16. Just have women come into work naked. That way there’s no fashion to think about, and men will be constantly distracted by thinking about sex. Or, depending on the office, repulsed and physically ill. Either way, not getting much done.

  17. Pamela Anderson? I thought you wanted me to think about sex, not vomit.

  18. What’s Really Holding Professional Women Back?

    Personally, I blame Bush.

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