Yale psychologist Victoria Brescoll has confirmed what has long been the suspicion of many women: you cannot afford to get angry at the office if you own a vagina. According to science news site EurekAlert, Brescoll's study, published in the March issue of Psychological Science, showed that "People accept and even reward men who get angry but view women who lose their temper as less competent." The study involved showing subjects videos of male and female actors applying for a job; aterwards, the viewers were asked to rate the "applicants" on how competent they were, how much salary they deserved, and if they should be hired or not. "Both men and women in the reached the same conclusions," notes EurekAlert, "Angry men deserved more status, a higher salary, and were expected to be better at the job than angry women," regardless of the level of job for which the fake applicants were applying.
Brescoll points out that the only way for an angry woman to enact damage control is if she explained why she was angry. Observers tended to be more lenient towards women who explained themselves, and, perversely, they were less lenient when angry men deconstructed their behavior. It's unclear why observers were less understanding of men who explained themselves, but Brescoll believes it's because it might be seen as a sign of "weakness."
Brescoll's research was in the news before, back in October, when there were several articles showing that men are taken more seriously when they cry than women are. "An angry woman loses status, no matter what her position,'' Brescoll concludes. So next time you're seriously pissed at work, it might be better for your career to do a primal scream in your car under deep cover in the parking lot than show anyone how you're really feeling. Sad yes, but true.
Studies' Message To Women: Keep Your Cool [EurekAlert!]