In one widely read case study, business students were given an assignment on Heidi, a real life successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. With a twist. Half of the students received their assignment with one tiny little change, "Heidi" was switched to "Howard." After the completion of the case study the students were surveyed, and although both were found to be equally competent (they should be because they were the same person), the students found Howard to be much more likable.
The following ad does a good job of understanding why.
Double Standard #1: Boss vs. Bossy:
let's take the example of Miranda Priestly in the Devil Wears Prada. She's portrayed as this 'devilish' boss who demands life and limb of her staff. But her behavior isn't that far out of the norm for male bosses. Her behavior is almost seen as unnatural for a woman.
#2: Persuasive vs. Pushy:
Oh the game of politics. Remember the 2008 and 2012 US Presidential Elections? Hillary Clinton and Michele Bachmann? Hilary was criticized left and right for her 'pants suits' and their lack of femininity. Then during her tenure as Secretary of State numerous photos appeared of her giving a passionate speech with the caption, 'No Wonder Bill is Scared.' While all of the other Republican primary candidates were asked questions on policy, Michele was grilled about how her choice to run for President would affect her children and her home life. On top of that the media also slammed her for her dresses being "too feminine."
#3: Dedicated vs. Selfish:
The workforce. That husband who works overtime, all of the time? He's a workaholic. But he has a wife back at home that can hold down the fort and take care of the kids. The wife who works overtime? She's letting all of her responsibilities fall by the wayside just to prove something. Aren't they both missing out on their children? Aren't they both working hard just to provide for their families?
#4: Neat vs. Vain:
You've seen him, that neatly polished guy walking down the street. His hair looks newly trimmed, his face is clear of facial hair, and he is neatly put together. Something for all guys to try to emulate right? But she's walking right beside him with shiny hair thats curled to perfection, manicured nails, and smooth legs. Well...she obviously spends too much time and money on her appearance right?
#5: Smooth vs. Showoff:
Motives. The guy with the new suit and great loafers just takes pride in his appearance and wants to put his best food forward but the woman with that "flirty" new dress and expensive Christian Louboutins is showing off, drawing attention to herself for vanity's sake.
Here's an extra one for the Moms out there
#6: Unfeeling vs. Lazy:
Those moms that work outside of the home when they don't have to? They are, according to society, sacrificing their children for the selfish desire to have a career. And those moms who elect to stay home with their children? Lazy. What on earth do they do all day-most people couldn't even imagine staying home all day everyday with a toddler. There's no winning here. At the end of the day stand up for yourself and do what's right for you and your family.