Society often tells women they need to be quiet and polite. Who knew that combining Sara Bareilles and the women of "Saturday Night Live" could make breaking those rules so gratifying?
Sometimes speaking up can be a real challenge, especially if you're a woman. Whether it's a long-lost acquaintance (who you might rather stay lost) asking for your number or just having to ask an embarrassing question, weighing the balance between assertive and aggressive can be a bit of a struggle.
Studies have shown that when men speak up, this is seen as a positive trait; when women do it, they're viewed as pushy. "SNL" took a lighthearted look at what a world where women aren't afraid to "say what they wanna say" might look like.
The examples used include interacting with a long-lost acquaintance, speaking up when a friend tries to shortchange a group on a check, and asking someone for their name a second (or third) time. The examples — complete with slow-motion celebrations — are meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek, but they represent a larger, more serious issue.
Is this actually a problem?
As Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Professor Adam Grant wrote January in , society expects women to be quiet and polite, all the while rewarding men who aren't. What's worse is that when women do speak up, they're often punished instead of praised. That's what makes the "SNL" video so much fun: It's an illustration of women bucking these expectations.
"Suspecting that powerful women stayed quiet because they feared a backlash, [Yale psychologist Victoria] Brescoll looked deeper. She professional men and women to evaluate the competence of chief executives who voiced their opinions more or less frequently. Male executives who spoke more often than their peers were rewarded with 10 percent higher ratings of competence. When female executives spoke more than their peers, both men and women punished them with 14 percent lower ratings. As this and other research shows, women who worry that talking 'too much' will cause them to be disliked are not paranoid; they are often right." — Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg
So how can we fight these expectations?
The first step to fighting gender bias is acknowledging it. Take a look at the examples shown in the video. What appears rude when a woman does it might be viewed as ambitious when done by a man. Gender bias is the difference between viewing someone as entitled versus ambitious, and it exists everywhere, from the boardroom to the break room. We should celebrate the women who aren't afraid to shake things up and speak their minds.