By Rashmi Vasudeva
The other day, a friend was complaining about how her boss is making her work life hell without any apparent reason. Nodding my head sympathetically, I asked if her boss had the ‘Alpha Woman Syndrome’. “No, she has ‘Awful Woman Syndrome’,” said my friend dryly.
How casually we bracket women bosses, don’t we? All of us are guilty of it — the careless labelling, the rampant stereotyping, the subtle mockery, the snide remarks, the sexist jokes… the works. The name-calling is not restricted to (not so) friendly banter among colleagues and friends; popular culture is equally, if not more, responsible for the persistent image of women bosses as cold-hearted, high-functioning sociopaths.
Recall Meryl Streep as the icy Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, the vicious Demi Moore in Disclosure, or the ruthless Margaret Tate played by Sandra Bullock in the 2009 movie The Proposal. Bollywood, too, has its share of predatory and pitiless queen bees. All these over-the-top portrayals and off-the-cuff stereotyping have coalesced together to make the lady boss into a sort of urban legend. But is there a grain of truth hidden within this pile of gender-bender trash? Or is this the stink that continues to rise from centuries of misogyny and male supremacy?Read More