Working women have it rough, and other startling news from the New York Times

Mickey Meece had a startling discovery in Saturday's New York Times Business section: Women are never going to break the glass ceiling if they don't stop their cat fighting!

The "pink elephant in the room" (gag me) of business is women bullying one another. The Workplace Bullying Institute reports that 40% of workplace bullying is done by women. I know what you're thinking, "Doesn't that mean men do most of the bullying?" But actually, "Male bullies [at least] take an egalitarian approach, mowing down men and women pretty much in equal measure." So, it's okay when they do it, and that doesn't warrant any kind of social analysis (or the front page of the Business section).

The article is mostly supported by personal anecdotes from women that sound like commonplace work issues, but in the context of the article, all focus the blame on other women, only adding to the notion that women should see other women as a threat to their career aspirations.

Because there is an Important Research Institute dedicated to workplace bullying, there have been some scientific explanations for this phenomenon, like how women target other women because "they can find a less confrontative person or someone less likely to respond to aggression with aggression." They also report that bullying stems from "frustration, personality traits, perceptions of unfair treatment, and an assortment of stresses and strains," leading Meece to entertain another hypothesis to why women might be compelled to bully one another: systemic oppression! How novel!

Meece ventures, "Is there a double standard at work?" As it turns out, women are expected to conform to society's expectations of them! And in the workplace, there is a delicate balance between being too feminine and too masculine!

Researchers from Canada came up with a solution: To "remind women that they are members of the same group."

Awkwardly tacked on to the end of the article is a bit about how high-tech company Televerde has outsourced work to female prisoners in Perryville, AZ. As it turns out (!) these incarcerated women work efficiently and don't bully one another at the call-centers. What larger contrast is there than inmates and CEOs?!

This article is so problematic it was hard to decide where to start.

Thanks, Clementine!

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10 comments have been made. Post a comment.

thank god

I'm just glad this douche finally uncovered that pesky double standard thing. Whodathunk we were under societal pressure to conform. I'm glad we cracked that nut, finally.


i dont think just posting a picture of girls from the office connects this to pop-culture. can you guys puh-lease go back to reviewing some actual *popular* culture. Where's love-in-the-livingroom? I miss her...

Office life is pop culture sometimes

Especially since there happens to be a TV show called "The Office." That said, I find analysis of office life and behavior relevent here.

Two things...

First: This is a blog, so wouldn't it seem that the boundaries of coverage would be a little more loose than, say, the magazine?

Second: There are tons of posts on this blog that relate to what is easily identifiable as pop culture, so why ya gotta be a hater?

are newspapers purveyors of popular culture?

If "popular culture is the totality of distinct memes, ideas, perspectives, and attitudes that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture" (Wikipedia), then one might ask "are newspapers purveyors of popular culture?" Hmmmm....


the new york times is popular culture.

media criticism

Yeah, I just think of media criticism in general is something Bitch has always done, and taking shots at larger sources of information that most people might take for granted as fact-defined news rather than culturally-shaped notions.

And I put in the Office picture cause I think it's hilarious! What if the New York Times article was actually just about Kelly and Pam?!

Kjerstin Johnson, editor-in-chief
Did someone say "Comments Policy"?

It's called majority threat

It's called majority threat theory--where members of a minority hate on each other in order to please/not appear as a "member" of a minority group that isn't at critical mass (20%). Can't believe the NYT has trouble with this.

i like this newspaper a lot,

i like this newspaper a lot, but every couple of months or so (and i read it about once a week?) i keep running into something reprehensible in it...

NYT, stop being disgustingly pathetic and sexist, plz. thxbye.

Perhaps I'm missing something...

...but I did not see this article as being sexist. I know I've read past articles about workplace bullies and aggressive professional behavior that focused on men. Also, my most volatile work conflicts have been with women, and in both cases I really felt that I was treated in a very disrespectful manner similar to the examples cited in the article. So while it wasn't the best written article I've ever seen, part of me did identify with what was being discussed.

So, why is that bad?