Turning the male-centered marketing model on its head
I did one of those keep-the-engine-running-even-though-I’m-home-in-the-driveway things while I finished listening to a recent report on NPR’s All Things Considered (www.npr.org) called The End of Men. In a Joe Palca report, two noted anthropologists from Rutgers University weighed in on the rise of women in society and how men are being impacted.
Lionel Tiger, (http://anthro.rutgers.edu/faculty/tiger/index.html) author of The Decline of Males and originator of the “male bonding” theory, painted a bleak picture. Men, he argues, are being socially marginalized and are increasingly turning to dead-end activities like watching mind-numbing hours of sports, surfing the web for porn, and taking drugs.
His colleague, Helen Fisher, (http://helenfisher.com) author of The First Sex: The Natural Talents of Women and How They Are Changing the World, countered that men are still in most positions of power and aren’t on the verge of obsolescence. More than 90 percent of all senior executive positions in leading corporations are male, she observed, and in the House of Representatives and Senate, females comprise less than 15 percent of elected officials.
Fisher, a poplar public speaker on gender differences, said that society is moving more toward a balance that resembles traditional hunter-gatherer roles. Women, Fisher said, are economically, socially, and sexually powerful in these cultures. Our culture seems to be moving toward a more gender-balanced model and offered this advice for men – “With more and more women entering the job market, and more and more being successful in middle management, what men seem to want to know is what are the natural talents of women and how can I use these natural talents in my business to get ahead?”
Studies show that women’s natural talents are particularly well-equipped for management and leadership roles in the new economy. Judy Rosener’s (http://web.gsm.uci.edu/~rosener/) book, America’s Competitive Secret – Women Managers, outlines female management traits including
• Linking workers instead of ranking them
• Working interactively
• Sustaining productive relationships
• Sharing information comfortably
• Viewing the redistribution of power as a victory
• Accepting ambiguity
• Relying on intuition as well as rationality
• Appreciating cultural diversity
In another research study of 425 executives, female managers were rated higher than their male counterparts in 42 of 52 skills measured. These skills and characteristics aren’t exclusively feminine, of course, but these reports suggest maybe it’s time for more men in management positions to get more in touch with their feminine side.