According to a February survey of more than 1,300 recruiters nationwide conducted by the Boston recruiting marketplace Scout Exchange, 80 percent of recruiters said they had seen an increase in the number of requests for female executives over the previous 12 months. Since October, when the Weinstein scandal broke, there has been a 41 percent jump in cases in which women have beat out men for executive-level jobs, according to Scout’s analysis of thousands of hires during that time period. “The response right now is basically, holy [expletive], we haven’t taken this seriously,” said Eileen Scully, founder of the Rising Tides in Eastham, a consulting firm that works with companies to promote women in the workplace. “If you don’t talk about this stuff, you’re saying it’s not important to your organization.”
Drexel Bradshaw, a lawyer who has represented cheerleaders in fair-pay lawsuits against the NFL, calls both cheerleader pay and treatment sexist exploitation. Degrading monthly weigh-ins. Bizarre handbook instructions on dining etiquette, hygiene, tanning, and manicures. “Most of the women who end up with the NFL have trained classically for more than a decade or two in ballet and dance,” he says. But many still earn subminimum wage pay with no benefits.
Whether explicitly (as in the MFK game) or more subtly communicated, subtyping undermines women in a classic divide-and-conquer strategy. Here’s how it plays out: Each subtype cedes one — but only one — positive trait (warm, sexy, or competent), mixing flattery with derogation. Wholly negative stereotypes (competent and cold) would motivate anyone to resist. But it’s only human to want to maintain others’ good opinion on a positive trait (“At least they think I’m nice”) while trying to correct perceived deficits (“How can I convince them I’m smart?”). Even those of us who immediately see the game as disgusting are not immune to this urge to want to convince our community to both like and respect us.