What’s sex got to do with it?

October 11, 2007, 2:05 PM UTC


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Readers of yesterday’s posting will note that some of the comments offered have a certain… edge. Some of you noticed that the mean boss who couldn’t have cared less about her employee’s prostate cancer was, in fact, a woman. A fair number of you linked her callousness to that fact. A number of others, whose comments I did not publish (a rare thing for me) took this as an opportunity to go off on female bosses in general.

I was kind of shocked by this. I mean, it’s light years down the road from when I started in business, when a female boss was a relatively rare thing and women had to “dress for success,” which meant in the same boring pinstriped garb that we guys are poured into every day. Women now run some of the biggest companies in the world. Many of the ancient, sexist ideas that stereotyped women are fading… or are they? It seems to me that when a man is a lousy boss, people just say he’s a jerk, a psycho, a big fat baby, whatever. When a woman is nasty, pushy, indolent or crazy in one way or another, that fact is immediately ascribed to her gender.

But what do I know? I just work here.

What do you think? Can this subject even be offered up without being offensive? I don’t mean to be. I personally view myself as an equal-opportunity decrier of bad management. But some of you, a fair percentage — all of it male — seem to disagree.

Drop me a line. I won’t publish reeking sexist junk. But I wouldn’t mind a little discussion of whether gender does matter when it comes to the dimension and color of the craziness of our bosses. Can you conduct such a discourse in a civilized manner?

Or is the question itself uncivilized?