Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Fairer Text, Ballsy in stilettos

Georgina Chang,

PICTURE: SHE SAID: We generally had to work harder to get to where we are. We really had to prove ourselves since we didn’t have any access to the boy’s club. Being a boss has brought out the testosterone in me.

PICTURE: Georgina Chang, senior creative director at 987FM and Lush 99.5FM.

Why female bosses are awesome. And it’s not about the cleavage

FEMALE bosses who are smart, capable and assertive are usually considered either “bitchy” or “butchy”.

I’ve been accused of both (and I wasn’t even particularly smart at the time).

Despite these stereotypes, many of my friends like reporting to a woman. Words like “supportive”, “encouraging”, “understanding”, “receptive” all spring to their lips.

PICTURE: Jessica Lauren McRaney, Miss Mississippi

Some are more candid. Sean said: “If you’re going to have a female boss, she should at least be hot so you have something good to look at.

I absolutely agree. That will inspire the guys to impress, because there is nothing a guy won’t do for a hot woman, right? So I take the effort to paint on my eyebrows every morning. A pale, browless woman loses her command over the male staff.


And every now and then, if someone openly admires my beautiful eyebrows, hey, that’s a boost to my ego. I get a power trip not just from my achievements in the boardroom, but also in the powder room.

Dave has always liked lady bosses because they’ve been great mentors. It’s inherent in women to nurture, he said, “so if you’re a subordinate, and she sees that you’re interested in growth, she will jump at giving you opportunities”.

I passionately concur. My heart goes all a-flutter when you say that you want to grow emotionally, spiritually or professionally. I immediately want to nourish you from my own bosom of hardship and experience.

Belinda says that the female boss has a higher EQ and understands women’s sensitivities. “She can sense when you’re emotionally out of sync and will give you time to sort yourself out. The men are task-oriented and don’t let you express your moods.

That’s because men are stirred by other things, according to Janet. She loves male bosses because “just bat your eyelashes and show some cleavage, then you can see in their eyes how moved they’ve become. You can get away with things. I can’t do that with a woman”.

Yes, female managers are generally impervious to flashes of cleavage, since we are exposed to that in the mirror everyday.

However, I admit I like having sexy, attractive girls report to me. I can appreciate them, compliment their dresses and ask them out for drinks without being accused of harassment. (Then again, maybe that’s why I was called “butchy”.)

Meanwhile, Jean dislikes the female boss who’s detail-oriented and constantly breathes down your neck. The worst, she says, “is that she can turn from angel to bitch in five seconds”.


Well, of all the things I’ve been indicted with, I’ve never been accused of being temperamental. I’m consistently known to be the hard-nosed bitch in heels. And I like that!

You see, we generally had to work harder to get to where we are. We really had to prove ourselves since we didn’t have any access to the boy’s club. Being a boss has brought out the testosterone in me. In fact, I’ve been told that I think like a man. (And not just at the office.)

So I talk confidently (some say loud), I’m straightforward (others say curt) and I like to work efficiently (the rest proclaim impatient).

That’s our multi-faceted advantage: A woman in charge is continually honing her “masculine” side of being decisive, visionary and formidable, while manifesting her feminine strengths.

We’re empathetic, so when you moan about your disastrous date, we’ll commiserate. We’re compassionate, so when you share about your dad’s health problems, we’ll sympathise. We’re childfriendly, so when you show off your baby, we’ll genuinely dote.

Yes, many male bosses can do all the above. However, when you turn up proudly in your new shirt, new haircut, new shoes, new bag, we’ll easily and emphatically compliment you. Few male bosses I know can do that naturally.


Anyway, if they did notice your shoes, it would be weird, right?

Yes, women can be capricious, erratic, indecisive and wavering. However, I’ve had boyfriends and male bosses with those qualities, too. Every trait comes down to the individual, not the gender. As my friend Christine stated: “I’ve seen ‘jerkiness’ in both male and female bosses.

So it all comes down to personal experience. I’ve liked most of my bosses, except for a handful in the past, both men and women who terrorized my youthful vulnerability.


I say you have to approach it somewhat like dating: Choose your boss wisely.

And if you can’t, or don’t get along, you can always take your handbag, excuse yourself, and leave.
By Georgina Chang,
The writer is the senior creative director at 987FM and Lush 99.5FM.