I wish I had a nickel for every time someone told me I needed to smile more often. Some of my previous employers have even written this into performance evaluations! I wonder how many men have been criticized for this. Clint Eastwood as made a fortune from his scowl and is still (even at his age) considered something of a sex symbol.
Beautiful women who walk the red carpet during awards season, are asked "Who are you wearing?" Men are seldom greeted with this question. More often, they are asked about how they prepared for a film role or how the role impacted their lives or better yet, how they hope the film will impact the audience. A famous actress recently took a talk show reporter to task for asking about her cosmetic surgery instead of the picture she was promoting. The male costar sitting next to her was not asked a similar question.
In the workplace, assertive women are considered pushy and abrasive. Assertive men are considered strong leaders. Men think nothing of interrupting others to contradict or make a point. Woman are taught not to do this. We wait for a lull to add our voices and oftentimes miss the opportunity altogether, leaving our silence to connote passive agreement when the exact may be the case.
But this is not intended to be a treatise against men. It is simply a plea for equality. Women are intelligent human beings with skills and aptitudes that can be applied to many situations. They should never be dismissed as simply bubble-headed airheads that care only about fashion and appearances. But women must take some responsibility for this misconception. If we are silent in the face of this double standard, we have become part of the problem rather than the solution.