I can relate. We see this in our daughter all the time. I remember feeling like this growing up too.
Weedsmom, I had similar experiences in theatre in my 20's. At the time, female theatre techs were pretty rare. I often found myself passing on projects I felt ill-equipped to handle only to see them go to guys with far less experience. It took years for me to be able to take those risks and I can't say I've totally gotten over it.
DD 16 will work through challenge and she loves it. However, when presented with something truly difficult, she will get emotionally overwhelmed and she'll question her intelligence and abilities. I recognize that moment of panic in her when it really could go either way. When she was younger, it didn't tip positively nearly as often. She's needed more "pushes" to take risks on things she was absolutely qualified and capable of. DS 12 can be a little like this too but not as extreme. However, I know he has always been more coddled by the staff. He's gotten more encouragement to overcome fears and try harder where with DD she'd get more the "oh, just put it aside, you tried your best." I admit, there are times I'm shocked at how easily he's willing to play the "expert" when I know he's not qualified. It's not just him either... it's his buddies too.
I'd love to see the origional study that this article was based on.
I'm amazed that people don't see this. I see it everywhere. I even see it in my very confident 24 year old who is very comfortable as a leader. Just a month ago, she commented on this phenomenon when she was invited to serve as an "expert" on a radio show. She turned down the interview, reasoning that she didn't really have the necessary expertise in the subject area and that she wasn't prepared to take on the role so quickly. She noted wryly that EVERY SINGLE MALE in the office was willing to step in even though there wasn't a single one who knew one whit more in the subject area than she did...and most knew less.
When I was a young lawyer, an older mentor urged me to set up my own international law practice. I balked, thinking that I didn't have the necessary skills, connections, etc. Her response? "Every woman lawyer says the same thing." Obviously that's an exaggeration but just as obviously it's a common reaction that breaks down along gender lines.
I'm surprised because I see this constantly... not only in myself but my DD and her friends. The women I've sat and chatted with about this article all saw themselves. Absolutely.
I honestly don't buy the generalizations. I've struggled a bit with perfectionism in my life, but I've always believed that if I could muster the motivation hard work could and would overcome current shortcomings. My eldest daughter is intensely private about her hard work, so unless you live with her you might not see it, but she is tenacious as heck and doesn't give up, even on occasions when it would probably be judicious to do so. My ds, on the other hand, needs a lot of support at the early stages if something is new and unfamiliar, otherwise he will just throw in the towel -- much like the girls described in the article.
So I don't see those gender generalizations in my own experience. I think it's more about personality, temperament, experience and particular situations than about gender.
Miranda in rural BC, Canadamom to three great kids and one great grown-upunschooler, violist, runner, doc
Actually I really can't relate to this at all. I have to say that school work always came particularly easily to me. the first time that I found it difficult was in law school but I don't remember feeling that I should give up.