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Interesting question for you

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 4.56.57 PMThink of a colleague you really like — as well as one you could easily do without.

Now imagine each of them wearing a particular outfit, doing their hair a certain way or taking a stance on some issue affecting you.

Do you judge each person through the lens of whether you like them or not? Are you more inclined to see the positive in the people you like and find fault in those you don’t?

No surprise: The New York Times reports this week that sexism is alive and well in today’s political world. When it comes to attacks on both Hilary Clinton and Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway, critics on both sides of the political aisle resort to misogynistic attacks on both women’s hair, makeup and clothing. If we already liked Kellyanne, we weren’t bothered by how she sat on the Oval Office couch. Yet outrage came from those who already take issue with her.

That certainly applies to the workplace as well. When we like a particular person, we don’t make negative comments when she wears a too-short dress. But when that same dress is worn by a woman we already dislike, well, the snickering ensues.

Is it possible to ignore preexisting opinions to make clear judgment calls in the moment?

Comment Here!


  1. Kimberlee Ingram

    This is one of the topics I would cover when teaching health professionals how to conduct risk assessment screenings. We are only human and there is no way to completely rid ourselves of any preexisting biases we have. And, believe me, we all have them. Typically it occurs out of our own ignorance to a situation we are not familiar with. Mostly, I encourage people to really examine their own feelings and to pay attention when someone says or does something that triggers brain cringe. By just aware that we all have preconceived bias helps one to be more cognizant of our verbal and non-verbal communication with that person. After recognition of our own bias, we can begin to create a plan to deal with those situations in the future.
    Good question, can’t wait to read more responses.
    Kim Ingram

  2. Serena

    Well, everyone does not think in that manner to speak on what is inappropriate only to those they do not like but when it comes to the media it’s a different story. If it’s someone you like and you feel their behavior is inappropriate, as a friend or colleague you speak on it. I don’t know Kellyanne Conway to like or dislike her but I feel it’s not lady like to sit in that manner with a dress on in a room full of men. Now that is no judgement on her character but a mere observation of what I see and in no way should that picture cause an attack on Kellyanne’s character or job capability, but we know the media will blow an issue up bigger than what it is and run with it.

    Just my 2 cents,

  3. Lori Price

    I can honestly say that I can ignore preexisting thoughts about someone and provide them with constructive criticism when needed. In fact, I think that is the mark of a true friend/supporter. If someone has spinach in her teeth, pull her to the side and tell her without embarrassing her in the process. In this case, Mrs. Conway could have been my own mother (whom I like very much) and I would have told her that to sit in the Oval Office — or in any professional setting with all men, all women or a mix of the two — in such a comfortable manner was not appropriate. That said, I understand that we are all taught different things about what is and is not appropriate, so because I don’t know her personally and don’t have more context for the moment (how long was she sitting in the seat that way, was she sitting that way for a reason, etc.)I didn’t judge her based on the photo. I did, however, bristle when I saw the photo, because at first glance it falls into my personal inappropriate bucket. For me, it had nothing to do with her politics or whether I “like” her (can’t really like someone/not like someone you don’t know, right?). It was an instant reaction bumping up against my personal values, norms and standards.

  4. Doris Tucker

    The issue is not liking or disliking Kelli; the posture is just what it is: UNPROFESSIONAL!

  5. Maria Seay

    Totally inappropriate behaviour for the White House.

  6. Gail Sas

    That sitting position wasn’t very professional. If one or two people were in the room maybe that would be acceptable, but with that many professional people I’d say no!

  7. Shawn

    Women are judged too harshly every day and in a million ways. Interesting question to consider — about liking a woman making one more sympathetic to her behavior. Possibly, it’s true, but most of us think we’re beyond that. (I know I do.) There’s simple ugliness and unfairness towards women that plays out across the globe that’s about our bodies, our choices, our very beings — all of it wrong and ONLY because we are women. Not nearly enough consciousness — in men or in women. So much work to do.

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