The Tyranny of the Queen Bee
By PEGGY DREXLER
The term “queen bee syndrome” was coined in the 1970s, following a study led by researchers at the University of Michigan—Graham Staines, Toby Epstein Jayaratne and Carol Tavris—who examined promotion rates and the impact of the women’s movement on the workplace. In a 1974 article in Psychology Today, they presented their findings, based on more than 20,000 responses to reader surveys in that magazine and Redbook. They found that women who achieved success in male-dominated environments were at times likely to oppose the rise of other women. This occurred, they argued, largely because the patriarchal culture of work encouraged the few women who rose to the top to become obsessed with maintaining their authority.
Four decades later, the syndrome still thrives, given new life by the mass ascent of women to management positions. This generation of queen bees is no less determined to secure their hard-won places as alpha females. Far from nurturing the growth of younger female talent, they push aside possible competitors by chipping away at their self-confidence or undermining their professional standing. It is a trend thick with irony: The very women who have complained for decades about unequal treatment now perpetuate many of the same problems by turning on their own.
A 2007 survey of 1,000 American workers released by the San Francisco-based Employment Law Alliance found that 45% of respondents had been bullied at the office—verbal abuse, job sabotage, misuse of authority, deliberate destruction of relationships—and that 40% of the reported bullies were women. In 2010, the Workplace Bullying Institute, a national education and advocacy group, reported that female bullies directed their hostilities toward other women 80% of the time—up 9% since 2007. Male bullies, by contrast, were generally equal-opportunity tormentors.
“§atriarchal culture of work”? What a load of baloney! It’s a genetic problem: jerky male bosses are human; jerky female bosses are human. I don’t think women as managers are particularly worse or better than men, but feminists and the MSM have created this image-expectation that women will be more nurturing, more tolerant, more etc. as managers than men (the mid-70s article and information like it are news to me, so I think there is some withholding of contradictory information to protect the narrative going on), making reports like this quite jarring. Imagine how such collisions with reality “feel” to women (and men) who bought the narrative!