Shared publicly  - 
 
I know quite a few exceptionally intelligent women, but many of them are not recognized as such even among their friends, because they don't present in the same way that similarly intelligent men do. Men often engage in certain social displays, such talking authoritatively and with the assumption they'll be listened to about their subjects (not to mention other subjects), or holding jobs in business or STEM fields with high prestige. Some of the women I know do this -- but many don't, and this short article by +Amy Sundberg digs in to why and what that means.

One thing I'd call out is jobs. We tend to be blind to this because we treat a certain way of doing things as the default: if these women are so intelligent, why aren't they in ambitious, high-powered jobs? Turn this thought around for a moment: being in an ambitious, high-powered job requires intelligence, but it also requires that you make being in this job your top priority. These jobs require tremendous sacrifice in all aspects of your life, shape your personality, keep you working 16-hour days. You have to value this sort of job a lot for that to be worth it. Men in the US are raised to value it just this much -- but that's an unusual exception, not the rule. Even if you go over to France, you find a very different attitude towards the importance of one's work in life; 100-hour work weeks are almost unheard-of there. The fact is, if you're very intelligent and can figure out a way to do things you love and not work 100 hours a week, unless you personally happen to really want to do that you would be an idiot to do it.

And that's one thing I see very commonly among my most intelligent women friends. They could get one of these jobs, but not being pressured externally to do so in the same way that men are, they instead work in areas that they're passionate about. Because those areas often aren't big corporate jobs, they therefore don't have that big metaphorical "hey, I'm a smart, important person!" ID card hanging around their necks -- and people don't take them seriously.

Especially, I have noticed, people stupider than they are. Noticing that someone is smarter than you are, especially when they're quiet about it, is actually kind of tricky.
On Tuesday I read a blog post in which a female blogger made a list of people in her acquaintance she’d put in charge of governing society if she was a monarch. All the people on her list were ma...
36
26
Anna Santos's profile photoAlex Popescu's profile photoTarja Ollas's profile photoDaniela Huguet Taylor's profile photo
92 comments
 
One thing I have certainly learned... if I behave the same way an equally intelligent guy does, I encounter a lot more hostility than the guy does. I'm really not interested in wasting my time dealing with that. Pretty good post, thanks for the heads up.
 
One of the smartest women I know is a stay at home mother, raising her 3 kids. This is where her priorities are.
 
The US should take a page from Europe when it comes to the role of work in our lives.

Myself, I just assume everybody is as smart as me until I have a reason to think otherwise. Because I'm a self important jerk, I rarely decide anybody's actually smarter than me. But because I'm not a total ass, I rarely think anybody's dumber than me, either.
 
I had to learn to "dumb it down" to be more likable in person. I'm tired of being ignored, disregarded or insulted so I only talk smart with people I trust.
 
"For starters, smart women often work very hard to fit in. We blend."
We have been trained from early childhood to blend, in fact, in sort of the way that you don't see brightly colored zebras.
 
Especially, I have noticed, people stupider than they are. Noticing that someone is smarter than you are, especially when they're quiet about it, is actually kind of tricky.

You are quite right. I like to think I notice, but I know I have been surprised.

The smart women I know might have less respect than the smart men I know, but on average I suspect they are happier.
 
And it presents a LOT of difficulties for women who are genuinely and seriously interested in the sciences...
 
+Cindy Brown I remember the day that I decided to not become a scientist.
My professor in my evolution class decided to lay down the path from undergrad to working biologist for us.
I knew this stuff having grown up in a college town, but l had not considered that knowledge.
Looking at the path it seemed like so much depended on luck, long hours and close focus.
I was young but I knew even then I was given to soft broad focus and that thus academia would be hostile to me and singular study of a niche would get old.
It was obvious that this was not place for a generalist with some, but a limited amount of mental horsepower, so I took another path.
 
+Melissa Hall Academia really favors hyperspecialization in general. It makes it hard when people try to transition, because the rest of the world tends to prefer generalists...
 
+Yonatan Zunger In conversations with academics, I've encountered a sneering dislike for generalists. I appreciate the value of specialization, but it seems like academia is nearly cultish in their devotion to it.
 
+Yonatan Zunger They seem to like the generalist once hired in business, but I have learned to carefully hide it in my resumes and appear to be a specialist for that process.
 
Businesses (except for small companies) often don't know what to do with generalists either.
 
My father used to say that the best kind of job in the world would be doing something that you love for a living. I now disagree with this. I have found that doing something that you love for a living just soon makes it something you would rather not do and no longer love. My job is my job. As long as it interests me, stimulates me and does not endanger me or make me unhappy it is a good job. It is still a job. I do what I love in my life when I want to. Not because someone is paying me to do it. When you become obligated to do what you love for a paycheck it becomes a job.
 
Sorry. Just think that many women may have better sense when it comes to identifying what is important in their lives. I know that my wife seems to be better at it than I am.
 
The "Your Money Or Your Life" answer would probably be to ditch that "becoming obligated to do it" by having enough to live on without it (interesting book, but not really on topic except as it relates to smart people of any gender who didn't prefer to put in 100 hours a week.)
 
Another thing that I might add, and this may be off topic as well, but communication styles are quite different in men and women. I think that men are much more aggressive (not necessarily meaning bad) in the way they communicate. This may often roll over women when they are trying to communicate. Having worked with the Alaska Native community for many years and married an Alaska Native I know that their communication style just does not work well when communicating with whites. They use a lot of body language and are very thoughtful and slow in processing and speaking. They tend to get rolled over in conversation. I have even noticed that they will just quit trying if you don't start to pay attention and adjust. Sometimes the more "dominating" style has to adjust to the "less dominating" style. Like in hiking with a group. If you do not walk at the pace of the slowest hiker then you end up not hiking in a group.
Piaw Na
 
Ok, my general sentiment was to agree with her, but then I read the blog post and realized that she was missing the point.

I agree that women don't present themselves the way men do. However, if you're a monarch putting people in charge of society, you do want people who are unbalanced (in the way that the many successful stereotypes are successful), so I'm not sure why you're yelling at her for putting a list together that way. It's not about smarts, it's also about being so dedicated to the goals that you're willing to sacrifice all else. Nobody ever said that Churchill was as smart as Feynman, but Churchill was what England needed during WW2. I doubt if an equally smart woman (or Feynman) would have done as good a job as Churchill at that particular moment in time.
 
+Piaw Na I believe that her criticism of the original blogger was that she had simply made a blanket conclusion that all of the smart people she knew were men, based not on the brains of the people she actually knows but on how they present themselves. (This is made a bit more interesting for me because I actually know who the original blogger is, and the men and women she knows -- and the men are, by and large, the sort of people who present themselves as extremely smart but are actually spectacular idiots)

But are you arguing that women are intrinsically less dedicated to things than men? Or less able to handle demanding jobs? That certainly doesn't jibe with the women I know. (And it's not what I was arguing -- I'm saying that women aren't under uniform social pressure to prefer ambition at all costs, and so make decisions more individually, whereas men systematically gravitate towards those jobs because they're raised to value them)
 
+Piaw Na I suspect the issue is that women are more likely to be firmly dedicated to goals that don't impress you.
Piaw Na
 
i'm saying that if you're looking for executive types, you would naturally draw from the executive types, and if women aren't drawn to those roles, it's not a surprise that they wouldn't be selected.
 
maybe a very smart woman would take a job as an administrative assistant so that she can pursue her art, reading, writing, meditating and travel in all the time that such a low-pressure job affords her. Hmmm? :)
 
Conjecture: "Executive types" can only be "executive types" with a strong support system (typically, a spouse).
 
But then the perception of what a "good" executive type gets more and more skewed toward this increasingly over-the-top expression...

Kind of like how businesses get more and more skewed when the $$ are larger and larger [sorry -- WAY off topic there :D ]
 
+Melissa Hall -- yeah.. I don't have a single moment of clarity quite like that, but in looking over my career, I've specifically made some choices because I wanted more flexibility, not more fame & fortune...
 
+Tim Kaderman Gender is a social construct and as such I don't think it compares well with differences in cultural communication.

We're taught what it means to be a man and be a woman. We have testosterone and estrogen that serves biological purposes but it's our family, our peers and all our other influences that teach us how to process and how to stifle our natural impulses. Boys and girls are taught to communicate differently. Although your wife may have her shit together better than you do, this is simply not true for all women and conclusions cannot be drawn to generalize based on gender. Part of the problem with gender constructs is that it not only traps individuals - like how we read about in Amy's blog post - but it outright tortures transgendered people.

While I understand that you were reaching for something you knew very well to demonstrate how women are being wronged, let me suggest to you that maybe women are taught to communicate in such a way that they are easily rolled over. This is not a matter of men waiting for the "slow hiker" so everybody goes up the hill together but more of not forcing women to hike slower than men based on arbitrary justifications.
 
This is fairly generalized, but I do see this at times with some women. It often stands out quite a bit with me though when I do see it. There is often a fair degree of self doubt, but also a fear of alienation of ones peer group.

I have heard "you are one of the most intelligent people I have ever met" quite a few times in my life. But I also realize:

1. I have always been somewhat odd to most people. So deliberately trying to fit in has never worked for me. Social messaging does not sink in as much as well. Focusing too much on social conformity really just lead to my own personal misery. I stopped worrying about it fairly early on.

2. Being intelligent and demonstrating it also means that you will not always be well liked. I am actually okay with this, but I know many women are not. I think it is the ability to brush off the hostility that is key, some women tend to internalize it more and alter their behavior accordingly. This is largely because of social conditioning. This is one of those things in which social intelligence that can get in the way.

3. I know I can connect with people when being both different and openly intelligent. While it may not be as many people, those I do connect with provide a richer social experience which is what I am really after in the first place. This does depend on what you value out of social interaction, for me intellectual connection matters above all else.

4. I have had a specialized education, which I think is helpful in terms of overcoming some of the issues in this blog post. Expertise can be a barrier to connecting to people at times, but it can also result a degree of confidence. In some ways the ability to speak confidently on one topic, can often bring the ability to speak confidently in general.
 
Statement: being in an ambitious, high-powered job requires intelligence, but it also requires that you make being in this job your top priority

This is false. Being smart is what allows you to have that job and not put in the extra hours. Being not smart is what makes you have to put in the hours to be successful at something.

The article is interesting, but what is the point of being smart if it does nothing for you?

Intelligence is a tool to be used to overcome challenges, not to be used to cry about them. At the end of the day, no one cares what challenges you had to overcome to get to where you are, they just care about where you are, now.

The article, and many of the comments, have somehow tied together intelligent women and art/creativity. There is an implied assumption that smart women express themselves artistically more. I don't know if this is true, there was no evidence to back it up. If it were true, and if intelligence has any impact on artistic ability, then you would expect a majority of successful artists would be women.


Also, in the article, the comment that knowing things is respected more than synthesizing thoughts, is falling out of favor because of the internet. Facts are easy to find, today, and what you do with those facts is what indicates intelligence.

So, again, what is the point of being smart if it does nothing for you? If you really are so smart, why can't you get what you want?
 
I already handled Tim's comments. I can't do another one. Tap me out.
 
+Alex Bynum Merde. I'm in one of these high-powered jobs myself; I can tell you that intelligence is what's required to survive in this job at all, but even with that, it requires a tremendous commitment of one's attention and energies. A job which intelligence will let you coast at -- a job which anything will let you coast at -- is not a high-powered job.

Also, I didn't say anything about the arts or creativity. Or about people not getting what they want. I did say something about not treating people with respect, though.

You seem to be persistently tying "success" with intelligence, and saying that intelligence is only important insofar as it creates success. But that presupposes that there's a single meaningful definition of success ("successful artists," "being successful at something," etc), that this type of success is a worthwhile goal in its own right, and that not getting this success is "not getting what you want." Which sounds to me like you're saying that people are only getting what they want, having people care about them ("they just care about where you are, now") based on having this success.

If your only value in life comes from that success, man, sucks to be you. And if you treat people like their only value in life comes from that success, then... well.
 
If men are so intelligent and goal driven, why are so few of them found in the toughest job you'll ever love (fulltime primary caregiver of children)? Women, let the guys answer, don't cut in and womansplain to them why the life goals they chose instead are piddly and demonstrate that they can't hack it in a real vocation.
 
And what Yonatan describes is the kind of self fulfilling, or "positive" feedback loop that further and further distorts what "success" is to the point where some of us (/ahem Tim and Alex) literally can't recognize any other form of it.

It's kind of like being that goldfish in a bowl and someone trying to convince you there's a world outside that glass globe...
 
+Yonatan Zunger What is not mentioned here is that success is not always worth it in terms of ones own health, mental or physical. This really does depend on what one values in life. High-powered jobs can sometimes come at a cost. My partner +Daniel Corbett took a short break from software developement/architecture in 2000 because of some of these costs. He had a very similar job to your own, he was a Software Architect for AOL during their growth period. Knowing when to change gears is key especially for people in high pressure careers, but it is often not discussed. Success has a cost, and it is not always worth it.

Additionally, a highly intelligent person may not seek for a large degree of financial success because that may not be as valuable in their life. A prime example of this is people who often seek out working in the the non-profit sector. Values with people who dedicate themselves to civil society tend to be somewhat different, but they can be some of the most intelligent people one meets.

Even then one must ask the very real question, what does it mean to even be successful. Valued by larger society, or by ones immediate peers, it is all relative. People have different motivating factors in terms of what they want to do with thier lives, those who are lucky can meet those factors.
 
+Yonatan Zunger said, "One thing I'd call out is jobs."
---------------
That's one of the things that really disturbs me about the Google+ profile. The emphasis on employer. Not occupation. Not interest or ambition but employer. The design emphasizes the very stereotypes that you are talking about. You get the deserved distinction of "Works at Google" while +Amy Sundberg ....?

Somehow all the self-employed, unemployed, retired, artists, contractors, laborers, craftspeople, authors, consultants,farmers, musicians, parents, homemakers -- anyone without an employer is marked with lesser status in the Google+ world.

At least under the old design, we could have a little fun at the slight. We could promote our businesses or philosophies on our hovercards just as we do on our real world calling cards. But now "Works at" is firmly entrenched on our profiles.

Although Amy focused on this issue as it affects women, I think it affects anyone who is not a traditional employee. It is difficult for us to raise our heads, speak out, and step forward when the kind of work we do is marginalized.
 
And don't forget. A woman who is not only as intelligent or more than anyone around her, but also has the owrsonality, drive, confidence and even touch of cockiness as, say, Vic Gundotra, would never, in a million years, be treated the same way. The hostility and resentment would be orders of magnitude more, and not only that but also viciously personalized.

No one would really want to deal with that. Those of us just about guaranteed to get that and smart enough, or experienced enough, to see that, will look at other things to do. 
 
So, I finally had time to read Amy Sundberg's article as opposed to just the commentary. I know many intelligent women and value their thoughts and opinions. For anyone to say that there are not as many intelligent women as there are men is clearly ridiculous. The mathematics of probability alone would indicate that there are as many intelligent women as there are men. If you think you don't know that many you might want to look closer at who you think you know. Personally, I am not that intelligent in the "standard" definition of intelligence. I have my strengths and plenty of weaknesses to go along with them. That said, intelligent people, men or women do not intimidate or bother me. I rather enjoy them. They raise my game. Women tend to be, in my experience, generally kinder and more accepting of other folks weaknesses than men.
After reading the article and all the comments I am having difficulty with the way the terms intelligence and successful are being bandied about. There are many different types of intelligence. Most people have areas of strength and areas of weakness. And as far as success goes, economic success is only one type.
 
+M Sinclair Stevens I agree that the "Works at" kind of identification is really old fashioned and out-dated. It hasn't worked for me personally since 2003. ;)
 
+Tim Kaderman When that anger gets displaced onto me

First, consider the possibility, given your attitudes that the anger is not always displaced. You also may have an askew perception of when a woman is feeling anger. Consider the possibility that you are only attributing positive adjectives to women who are behaving in ways of which you approve (eg. women who are smart don't yell at me, etc.) and negative ones to women who are behaving in ways of which you disapprove (eg. women who say I'm privileged are angry and blaming me for another man's behavior, etc.).
 
Yah. As one anecdata point, +E L Weems's commentary did not look at all angry to me.

That gets back to my most recent comment (and please, ignore typos -- difficult to tap out on a mobile) about how differently women are treated for the same behaviors.

A guy says something, and is described as confident; this just about guarantees that if a woman says the same thing, she'll be an angry bitch.
 
Inside every kind accepting person is a troll struggling to get out... oh wait, I'm projecting. I do try to be a kind accepting troll though.
 
+Cindy Brown I'm really going out of my way to be as polite as possible here, too. Did you notice the lack of profanity? Seriously. Where's my parade? I'm free tomorrow around noon.
 
Oh I project all the time. I always assume people are more intelligent than they are.
 
Obviously I did not edit my comment soon enough.
 
Don't forget that comment edits don't supersede mail notifications. Because my little red box never shows the actual number of new notifications, I generally read the comments from my email. I may or may not even notice the edits at all.
 
I am not that familiar with this format.
 
That doesn't actually answer her question.
 
Because I thought about it and decided it did not accurately express what I was thinking or how I was feeling. Unfortunately I thought that if I edited it it would not be there anymore. Did not realize the part about notifications as I do not seem to be getting them on all the comments being made.
 
That's why I explained it. You can go to your G+ settings from the gear icon, upper left, and set your notifications as you wish.
 
+Tim Kaderman I read your comment on the post before it was changed, for what it's worth. The whole angry thing was a derail but it was intriguing to have it pop up seemingly so random like that. Even though you realized it was a mistake to bring those thoughts into this discussion, I'd like you to consider that comment that I made about it because I think it's very relevant to understanding why you may feel some discussions don't go as you'd planned.
 
Generally I do not care that much about ones gender. If one is being rude or hostile or condescending or angry and yelling it does not matter to me if it is a male or a female. I don't want anything to do with it. For the most part I am pretty egalitarian with respect to gender and or sexual orientation. I agree Amy Sundberg's original post.
 
+Yonatan Zunger, I think you hit the nail on the head in terms of prioritization. Women are socialized (and to some extent hard-wired) to prioritize things like social relationships and family above where men would prioritize them. I'm not saying women should be socialized to make career a higher priority, just saying the socialization among genders is not the same. And it's not just in academics/career that you see this pattern. In almost every avenue of life -- the arts, religion -- where men have not only showed skill but also come out as teacher/masters, women have remained out of the limelight. When I was working on co-editing an anthology of women occultists a few years ago, we struggled to find women who would come forward and exert themselves as experts, primarily because they were too busy with various family and personal concerns to be able to contribute, even though they were otherwise very accomplished in the field.
 
I had a pretty stark illustration of this some months ago at work: a group of interns in my division did their final presentations at one of our weekly meetings. This is an intern program designed in part to increase the diversity of people going into CS, so it provided a quite rare opportunity to observe a 50/50 male/female group of otherwise similar young CS-ish folks.

Everybody in the group had done good work of roughly the same sort, but the way they presented the quality of the work and their level of knowledge about it was totally different: the men in the group were trumpeting both quality and knowledge, the women shrinking back from giving themselves credit for much of anything. I think in the end we did a pretty good job of supporting everyone and giving them the recognition they deserved. But I can't be quite sure.
 
+M Sinclair Stevens That's a good point about employers and jobs on the profile – I hadn't thought about it like that before. Maybe we should have a separate "byline" field? (Putting occupation up there is honestly a little weird)

+Beth Winegarner +Nicholas Weininger Both of your examples illustrate this excellently.

My own favorite example of this was when I was teaching physics; I noticed that the good female students were split between the ones who were very quiet and didn't want to shine too much, and the ones who had learned to project themselves in a very "male" fashion. Meanwhile, the good male students were not only loud but often unbearably so, trying so hard to convince everyone else that they were better; and quite a few of the not-so-good male students did the same. The result was that several of the best female students passed unnoticed (and often gave up on the field: even if one teacher did notice them, it was lost in a tide of everyone else not doing so) and even the best female students often found themselves wondering if they were really good enough to be competing with the men. Despite the fact that quite a few of them were a whole lot better than their male classmates. The socialization difference was really, really obvious... and physics in particular is really hostile to anyone who isn't socialized to act in a maximally self-aggrandizing way.
 
In rereading this thread, I notice most of the guys are talking about how women are overlooked; I see the women talking about both being overlooked to some extent and receiving hostility if they don't conform to expected low-key behavior. Trust me, the issues aren't simply with being "overlooked."
 
+Cindy Brown Good point. If anything, I've been surprised at how little hostility has shown up in the threads around this blog post – simply mentioning this stuff often brings down shocking amounts of anger.
 
I agree that this has gone very well so far. I've seen things get very ugly over less controversy. :)

On the subtopic, I'd scrap the employer altogether and just list the occupation in the gray box below the avatar on the profile. That's my two cents for you.
 
+Yonatan Zunger - Thank you so much for posting this - at the risk of sounding boastful (or perfectly masculine?), it resonated with me. And +Amy Sundberg, thank you for such a beautifully articulated piece - you distilled the double standards so many women face. I hope we'll get to meet sometime so we can discuss further in person.
 
I wonder if there is a differance in the dunning kruger effect along gender lines? It might explain some of the physics class behavior (which I also see)
 
+Nicholas Weininger Thanks for the book recommendation. Your parents must have known that it is not enough to raise our daughters to be equal, we must also raise our sons to be equal.
 
+Cindy Brown it's good to point out that there is a lot of hostility towards high IQ men as well. And as you pointed out Vic Gundotra, how would you compute Ginni Rometty?
 
+Ricardo Dirani For your information, your comment is derailing by claiming that men suffer from some form of this oppression. This discussion addresses the treatment of intelligent women, not men.
 
+Ricardo Dirani You do realize I was pointing out how Gundotra didn't get the level of viciously personal nastiness that just about everyone woman online ever has gotten. Derail 101.
 
+E L Weems I could swear this discussion was addressing differences in treatment, but since Yonatan himself agrees with you, I stand corrected.
 
+Ricardo Dirani Yes, as long as a man backs me up, I must be right.

Don't worry, I know you weren't really saying that. I just wanted to prod for fun. ;)
 
+Ricardo Dirani I think that +E L Weems' point is that while there are some commonalities between the way that intelligent women and men are treated, there are also some important differences, and those are the main focus of the post and this thread.

The difference was being discussed some on another thread; (https://plus.google.com/105281194557166307713/posts/Zs9j2oU86tu) quoting my comment from over there, "while some of what you said is true for both men and women (and a lot of your story is very familiar to me personally), there's a big part that's different, too. I became the outsider smart kid, but that came with a certain sort of "oh, he's really smart" respect. Women who became outsiders for the same reason didn't get the same respect from people."

(BTW, "derailing" is a term of art from conversations about things like this -- it's not meant as a criticism, it just denotes a tangent with a significant possibility of eating threads alive.)
 
+Cindy Brown I was trying to compare the level of viciously personal nastiness that a woman in a similar position was getting, thus Ginni Rometty. You could argue why Ginni isn't in a similar position, or that she does get a higher level of nastiness. Or that what you said is self evident and isn't up to any sort of contention, and I'll gladly take back what I said.
 
Why does the name Kathy Sierra keep coming to mind?

edit to fix typo. it'd help if I spelled her name correctly.
 
Haha yes, the social presentation thing is extremely true. I run into this a lot in non-work social situations, and it's not that much fun.
 
+Yonatan Zunger I think it's pertinent to this discussion that "Works at Google" hadn't jumped out at you as an odd. For you it is natural to be defined by your work and to wear your employer like a badge of honor. After all, you've got a cool job.

But for many people, being defined by work alone seems narrow and unrepresentative. (Or if you are one of the millions of people out of work right now, depressing.) This is why Google+ sometimes gives off the impression of being just for tech nerds. It's not! But that's the aura that emanates from these little design choices.
---------------------------------
In the original design, the lack of choice that frustrated me. You had a "Tagline" which appeared under our names and in external search results for our profile. Even in that iteration it was aggravating that our "Tagline" did not also appear under our name on our hovercard. In this iteration, my tagline doesn't even appear under my name any more.

This iteration is much worse. The underlying message. Being an employee is the only real form of work.

On the Profile page the "Works at" just invites creative replies. "Works at keeping calm while searching for workarounds." Why not just put the icon in the same way you do on the hovercard. Or better, give people the choice to use the tagline instead.
 
+Yonatan Zunger the first post in your thread was +Cindy Brown's contention that she gets more hostility for her intelligence than similarly intelligent men get. So I'll have to keep disagreeing this thread wasn't addressing the difference, or that my post was a tangent. Your experience and perception agrees with hers. Mine mostly disagrees. But one word from you and I'll shut up, it's your thread :-)

I should probably disclaim that I'm a Brazilian living in Brazil. Even our current President is a woman. Things might just play different here. I don't think smart people in general get that level of overt hostility here that Americans report. We're mostly cast aside as boring people, not hung up in the lavatory in a wedgie.

I've just asked my best/brightest female friend on whether she feels hostile reactions to being an intelligent woman. Her precise (translated) words:
"no. I feel hostile reactions to the fact of being intelligent".
 
I think it's interesting some people would say, "If these women are so intelligent, why aren't they in ambitious, high-power jobs?", when those same people would never say the same thing about a man. A man can be acknowledged and respected as intelligent regardless of his career or lack of one. Some people might say he's not living up to his potential, or that he's lazy, but they'll generally see his intelligence (or, y'know, lack thereof)--or at least they're more prone to infer intelligence without proof otherwise. Whereas women are more often stuck with opposite expectations, treated as average or stupid until proven otherwise.

As an aside: If you have any say in what Google is doing with their iPad apps, could you please try to get them to fix the Google+ app, or at least make the website more iPad friendly? I can't see the post I'm commenting on while I comment, and I can't copy any text from Google+ at all. I have similar problems with Google Groups, and it's all very frustrating . . .
 
Thought I'd chime in to say that it might very well be different in other countries, both the way a culture interacts with the idea of intelligence and/or intellectualism, and the way a culture treats intelligent women in particular. My only experiences are in the US and the UK, and my UK experience was of a short enough duration that I don't even feel very comfortable generalizing from that.
 
+Ricardo Dirani You're, again, derailing and showing a lot of privilege here to try to claim that one woman's personal experience and opinions devalues and nullifies every other woman's experience, simply because it happens to agree with what you would like to think.
 
+E L Weems Ok, so let's derail it for good then: That would make sense if I had gone out shopping for women to agree with me. I didn't. I went straight for the one most available to me, and I'd report anything she had said. Now I've just asked the remaining three top tier female minds available in my messenger. One has answered this far and her answer is most enlightening. No, she doesn't feel people being hostile at her. I commented that this fits with my own experience, in which the smarter girls at school happened to be the most popular too. She remarked she was not popular at all, but credited it to being skinny, shy, and being labeled - she was the smart one, couldn't be something else. She feels a man in her situation would have been just as unpopular. I mentioned how this differentiated hostility seemed so obvious to the American women I had been talking with, and this is where it gets best:


- It may also be projection ... to appoint in the other person something she feels

- but why they have projected and my friend and you do not?

- when we see an environment that provides a healthy dialogue, which allows you to speak your feelings (hostility, anger, jealousy, etc..) you do not need gimmicks to get this out. Projection is a defense mechanism. The U.S. is the country of "I'm ok", "bad" feelings they are very repressed. My Vision. Things such as "positive thinking", "The Secret" are a psychological retrogression.

So there you go. Two of my brightest female friends giving their perspective.
 
Yeah, I don't get why Ricardo felt so compelled to behave the way he did here. He intentionally derailed to continue problematic behavior? What's the point in that? That's either rude or clueless and it is a definite demonstration of how men silence women on issues.
 
So, i am still reading and following. I do not see intelligent women being, i am not sure how to say it but undervalued? ignored? where i live. I think this may be for 2 reasons; i am not aware of it or the environment is different here. Actually, probably both. I wanted to say that off the top of my head i can think of three women i would like to see in charge. And i realize i had a lot of time to think about it but, honestly, i only just decided to think about it. So, can the discussion continue?
 
FWIW at least here in the US, I'm pretty sure the cultural pressure to conform starts earlier than people probably remember (as bystanders) and isn't applied just by guys (it couldn't be since kids generally split to play/befriend by gender for several years due to some other pressure, during which the norms are different for the two groups.)
 
That ties in with +Yonatan Zunger 's observation "They could get one of these jobs, but not being pressured externally to do so in the same way that men are, they instead work in areas that they're passionate about."

Well, what causes passion? Being encouraged vs discouraged, in large ways and small, day in and day out, affects what you end up passionate about. This isn't solely internal, even when it feels that way subjectively.
 
I just read an article about a championship women's shotgun team. All but one of these women started shooting later in life and found that they not only enjoyed it but excelled at it. They shoot against the men, too. My observations tend to make me think that women are as capable as men in almost every area but, as was mentioned, are not socialized that way.
 
And that one woman had rockin' parents.
 
+Bridget Spitznagel - As the father of a 1yo girl, I can already see the attempts that people make to setup gender differences. The toys that little girls are expected to play with, vs. boys, clearly reinforce the stereotypes. Boys get trucks and cars while girls get cooking sets. And don't get me started on the pink....

And then that keeps going through time, and I'd definitely back up the same observations that +Yonatan Zunger has made: boys are taught to be assertive about their knowledge, and girls aren't. I can't remember not being certain I was right (or that I had to project that aura). And it's a shockingly hard skill/trait/habit to unlearn.
 
+Aaron Wood: Don't get me started! I was shopping for clothes for L. the other day and all the boys' shirts had things like sports and guitars and monsters, and the girls' shirts had flowers and hearts and CROWNS and so on. I intentionally buy L boys' shirts a lot for this reason, mixed in with some feminine-but-not-hyper-girly girls' shirts. Her favorite shirt of the new lot is the one with a football on it that says "champ." :)

Fortunately, she is already assertive about her knowledge, and we encourage that. So does her school! I know at some point it can change as she becomes more prone to social pressures, but we're trying to lay a good foundation now at least.
 
I do not know much about that one girls parents. I only know that they are divorced. Mom lives in Tennessee and Dad lives here. She moved to live with her Dad and decided to learn to shoot. We seem to have a lot of women like that up here. It is refreshing.
 
A very smart woman friend that I consulted for a reaction chose to disqualify herself as having no experience with not concealing her intelligence in the workplace. I think that's a form of anecdotal confirmation.
 
I just remembered that I read a The New Yorker article last week about Christine Quinn's bid for mayor. It talks a bit about her personal style.

"And yet there is something in Quinn's brand of femininity that is novel in political life. For decades, women in politics have been obliged to face suggestions that their forcefulness or bluntness is mannish, or have contended with not-so-hushed whispering campaigns calling them closeted lesbians. As a forceful, blunt lesbian, Quinn can subvert this caricature to her own advantage."

Sorry, the link only points to an abstract.You have to subscribe to see the whole article.
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/04/02/120402fa_fact_mead
Add a comment...