Masculine vs. Feminine Leadership: A Poet’s Perspective — by 2/C Anna Paz

For our final project, Jess and I are constructing what we call “live poems.” These live poems have two parts: the written poem and the still image that embodies it. While Jess is hoping to capture her million dollar shots abroad, I have decided to start writing the poems based on our lessons from class. Our goal is to have one live poem for every day of our journey through this training.

In our second class, we established the premises for leadership and gender by exploring which qualities work best when leading an organization. We voted on a list of characteristics that made up the ideal leader and then decided which of those traits could be categorized as masculine, feminine, or neutral. We found that our list was equally comprised of both feminine and masculine traits, proving that a leader needs a variety of characteristics to effectively lead in today’s world.

In chapter five from Eagly’s Through the Labyrinth, she discusses that in post-9/11 society feminine leadership is in high demand in a military environment for their nurturing nature and ability to recognize sacrifice. Despite this shift to a more comfortable and inclusive leadership style, organizations such as the U.S. Marine Corps have established an organizational structure that makes it difficult for women to achieve high positions of leadership. In environments such as these, women feel forced to adopt a masculine style of leadership.

I have written this poem in reflection of the pressure put on women to change their style of leadership to fit a masculine environment. We are hoping to capture the essence of this poem while abroad, so stay tuned!

“Eli Whitney” photo by 2/C Jessica Wain

Eli Whitney

At the turn of a century,
Labor was revolutionized by industry.
 Increase in production,
 Battlefields saw destruction.
Interchangeable parts boasted fire power,
Machines rained steel showers.

When fatigues are traded for fitted suits
And the horizon becomes a skyline,
 Whitney’s legacy is realized 
 In gendered guidelines.
Men are at ease, women aim to please,
Outnumbered and desperate they sacrifice
Authenticity, encouraged as a vice.

“Yes, survive and advance.
Without us, would you even have a chance?”
She fumbles through her options,
 “Does assertiveness or dismay
 look best on me today?”

I hope you liked it!

Anna Paz

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