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Forbes Advises Women to “Flirt” to Get Ahead

August 2, 2012

UGGGGGHH.  Today Forbes came out with an article proclaiming that flirting in a business environment is a good strategy for a woman to implement.

Read the article and view the ridiculous picture of a woman biting her lip here.

Some quotes that pretty much get at the heart of the article:

“One of the interesting conclusions was that friendly women pay an economic price because by demonstrating warmth signals they are seen as less competitive and self-interested. Being flirtatious (and hence apparently self-interested) helped women negotiate better deals. The exception: the deals were worse if the flirting was perceived by their male counterpart as merely being friendly.”

“In short, the research suggests that the ideal negotiating style for women is to avoid a neutral style and instead use feminine charm. The “charm” should include both friendly behavior and flirtation. The ultimate goal is to be viewed as likable but also motivated by self-interest.”

A man takes a woman being sexually interested in him better than a woman who is being professional and friendly? Who would have thunk in our patriarchal society where women are taught to please men that such a thing could happen? Let’s try to sexually objectify women in a professional setting and make men resent them even more for this illusion of some sort of sexual power.

Ok but really.  You can keep your “ideal negotiation style”- I don’t want it.  This article is disappointing on so many levels, I don’t even know where to start.  Instead of pointing out ways women can whore themselves out in the work place, why don’t we point out how this “scientific research,” reaffirms that men are taught to think of women as existing for their sexual pleasure, and not to respect them for their intelligence and hard work.

Why are we telling women to create some sort of fake sexual tension to get ahead in their jobs? Are   young women supposed to “flirt” with 60 year-old men? Are mothers and wives supposed to “flirt” with their co-workers?  I am not trying to put down any women who use “flirting,” to get ahead in their jobs.  I am, however, asking everyone to revaluate a society in which this is normal practice, and in which a man from Forbes is advising women to flirt with other men to get ahead.  If the article said: be kind, be friendly, be considerate, be compassionate- I would be on board.  Because everyone should be kind, friendly, considerate, and compassionate.  But no… It instead says to use “feminine charm” aka “make frequent eye contact with their partner, smile, and laugh…. be playful and…compliment their partner in as sincere a fashion as possible.” aka stroke his ego.

Why don’t we focus on what’s really important and advise men and women instead to look at each other as human beings- and not as some tool to either take advantage of and get ahead, or exploit and objectified.

It might seem that if we follow this “business strategy” that everyone wins, but honestly, to me it sounds like everyone loses.

Peace and Love,


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