There is a gap in the way we portray powerful men and powerful women, says scholar Rachel Liddell at TEDxMiddlebury. From how we describe clothing (“When a man wears slacks and a blazer, it’s a suit … but if [a woman is] wearing a blazer with slacks, it would be a pantsuit, ” Liddell says) to the ways we paint, interview, and critique leaders, male and female leaders tend to receive very different treatment.
In a thought-provoking talk, Liddell shares examples of this from throughout history, from Cleopatra to Elizabeth I to Hillary Clinton, and demands that we rethink how we portray our leaders — men and women alike — in order to elevate conversation, empower potential leaders and level the playing field.
Insight from the TEDx office: Why we like this talk
The speaker dissects a serious social issue using evidence of several kinds — accounts from history, personal story and several stories from recent media. She gives a nuanced and detailed presentation of her idea — that women leaders are portrayed in a way that often undermines and undervalues achievement, while male leaders do not face the same discrimination — and dares the audience to actively work to change and challenge this meme.