BREAKING NEWS Fully-vaccinated people can gather without masks, CDC says Full Story

The poisonous myth of confidence culture

Women are constantly being told they need to be more confident.Social media and pop culture send the same mess...

Posted: Mar 23, 2018 12:50 AM
Updated: Mar 23, 2018 12:50 AM

Women are constantly being told they need to be more confident.

Social media and pop culture send the same message over and over: feel more confident and you'll be more successful. Keep "confidence logs" and "brag books." Dress for success. Power pose.

But in the last six months, the #MeToo movement has ignited a nationwide discussion about the structural barriers inhibiting women's success - pervasive cultures of harassment, limited access to male leaders, careers stalled by postponed promotions and overlooked raises. All problems a power pose can't fix.

Instagram mantras, confidence-tracking apps and self-monitoring tips from books like "Lean In" and "The Confidence Code" have created an environment that puts too much pressure on the individual, according to London School of Economics Professor Shani Orgad. She calls it "confidence culture."

"These women have internalized the blame rather than the revolution," Orgad says of "confidence culture" followers.

A 'confidence coach' taught me to be more self-confident

Self-confidence or self-deception?

The promise of these self-confidence strategies is simple: believe in yourself, or fake it until you do, and boom - success unlocked.

But self-confidence, and its companion feeling, self-efficacy, or the ability to actually achieve goals, doesn't come out of the box like that, says David Ballard, assistant executive director for organizational excellence at the American Psychological Association. Especially for women and people of color, there are systemic barriers stalling their success, regardless of their own confidence in their abilities.

How a woman's appearance can affect her career

"We know opportunities are not equal, so we can prepare individuals to address this and be successful," he says. "But if we don't simultaneously address the systemic issues, it's an uphill battle for them."

Other things outside an employee's control - like seeing role models similar to them succeed, or getting opportunities to test new skills and grapple with new challenges through "mastery experiences," as Ballard calls them - help develop self-confidence.

In a recent survey from the APA, 89% of men and 85% of women said they had the technical skills necessary to do their jobs well. But when asked if their employers had given them opportunities to learn new abilities they'd need for future career development, far fewer women than men reported seeing those opportunities.

And even when women "perform" assertiveness and other qualities we associate with self-confidence, it doesn't always work in their favor. Research shows there's often a backlash against women who act this way.

So in other words, those confidence exercises could make you feel great about your qualifications, but they won't get you the promotion.

Countering the culture

That's not to say women should balk at the occasional self-esteem boost, Ballard says. And every personality is different: some people may feel more energized by writing or repeating affirmations, while others may learn new skills when they read a confidence self-help book or ask for feedback and guidance on their executive presence.

As Ballard puts it, "The individual things are still important."

"The individual needs to develop the skills they need, they need to have the experiences that are going to lead to success, but you can't put the onus only on the individual," he says. "We have to make changes to the system as well."

But in decoding these "confidence culture" messages, confidence strategies can only do so much. Often, they're hiding the bigger picture.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 490011

Reported Deaths: 6618
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1016821593
Ramsey43388811
Dakota36714394
Anoka33545392
Washington22247262
Stearns18847202
St. Louis14915265
Scott13445107
Wright12635116
Olmsted1187890
Sherburne879474
Carver790941
Clay696288
Rice678691
Blue Earth604435
Kandiyohi582274
Crow Wing523682
Chisago502945
Otter Tail487171
Benton451890
Winona419749
Mower411931
Douglas395068
Goodhue390169
Nobles387347
Polk345363
McLeod341950
Beltrami339151
Morrison328147
Itasca315346
Becker315143
Lyon314045
Isanti310056
Steele304311
Carlton300649
Freeborn287124
Pine283616
Nicollet263341
Todd250330
Brown249137
Le Sueur238620
Mille Lacs230047
Cass221424
Waseca211217
Meeker208534
Martin190829
Wabasha18733
Roseau181017
Hubbard161041
Houston158214
Dodge15464
Renville152940
Redwood147127
Fillmore14029
Pennington139816
Chippewa137035
Cottonwood136120
Wadena131520
Faribault125017
Aitkin119233
Sibley118310
Watonwan11838
Rock116314
Kanabec109120
Pipestone101924
Yellow Medicine97817
Murray9548
Jackson94710
Swift87818
Pope8185
Marshall78715
Stevens7478
Lake74318
Clearwater72014
Lac qui Parle68816
Wilkin67711
Koochiching62111
Big Stone5173
Lincoln5122
Grant4928
Norman4808
Unassigned45368
Mahnomen4437
Kittson41121
Red Lake3615
Traverse3115
Lake of the Woods2231
Cook1190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 337836

Reported Deaths: 5500
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk52116562
Linn19519317
Scott17180213
Black Hawk14973294
Woodbury13858214
Johnson1317875
Dubuque12452196
Dallas1023593
Pottawattamie9899146
Story965445
Warren515176
Clinton502884
Cerro Gordo501483
Webster495888
Sioux480469
Marshall465473
Des Moines428661
Muscatine426493
Buena Vista413337
Wapello4059110
Jasper388167
Plymouth369178
Lee354653
Marion341772
Jones285355
Henry279837
Bremer270655
Carroll266848
Crawford253435
Boone244830
Benton241554
Washington239247
Mahaska215846
Jackson210339
Dickinson204340
Tama203165
Kossuth198655
Delaware186340
Clay184525
Winneshiek183729
Fayette179535
Page178119
Buchanan178029
Wright174531
Hamilton173942
Cedar172923
Hardin170339
Harrison167870
Clayton160154
Butler159331
Mills148520
Floyd148141
Poweshiek148030
Cherokee146336
Lyon145741
Allamakee144948
Madison143318
Iowa140723
Hancock138030
Grundy132530
Winnebago130531
Calhoun129711
Cass129751
Jefferson128534
Appanoose123447
Louisa122644
Mitchell120740
Chickasaw119915
Union119331
Sac118818
Shelby117634
Emmet115440
Humboldt113925
Franklin109719
Guthrie109728
Palo Alto101721
Howard99722
Unassigned9790
Montgomery97036
Clarke95220
Keokuk92429
Monroe90028
Ida82132
Adair81630
Pocahontas80919
Davis76623
Monona76527
Greene73110
Lucas72321
Osceola68315
Worth6678
Taylor64112
Decatur5719
Fremont5619
Van Buren53818
Ringgold50720
Audubon4769
Wayne47521
Adams3194
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 51°
Mason City
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 53°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 50°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 52°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 54°
Kicking off the workweek with warmer temperatures
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Sean's Weather 3/8

Image

Rochester NAACP President calls for accountability

Image

Rochester's Diversity Council talks racial inequality

Image

Mary Kristin Scott PKG

Image

Tailgate service

Image

Fewer babies being born

Image

Sara's Sunday Night Forecast

Image

Blooming Prairie GBB PKG

Image

Sara's Saturday Night Forecast

Image

Olmsted County Fair asks for help from lawmakers

Community Events