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The Dangerous Rhetoric of “Just Put a Woman in Charge”

There are so many things wrong with this thinking that for a long time I could barely process it. I did what I usually do with overwhelming stupidity, and placed it on a back burner to let it reduce into a coherent flavorful reduction.

This phrase/thinking is bad for men, bad for women, and bad for society.

Let’s unpack first how it’s bad for women.

Some feminist women love this phrase. Marginalized for so long from power, they are starving for a chance to prove themselves in power, and this phrase suggests blindly turning over power to any woman, every woman, at every turn any time, any place etc. Are you beginning to see how troubling this is?

For people, and often I hear this from men who want to be seen as feminists or disenfranchised women who have perhaps not met women in charge, whom this is the benchmark, one mistake, a wrong turn, one peep of a human failing and the whole ideology collapses to become ‘never again.’

When we say we want equality, it must mean equal accountability, equal forgiveness for mistakes, equal understanding that not every woman will bring the same level of intelligence, experience, and abilities to every power position, therefore we must consider these things when choosing our powerful woman leaders in politics, business, and society.

This rhetoric is a trap for woman. Do not buy into it.

This rhetoric is bad for men. It dismisses an entire gender as incapable of doing better, and therefore absolves men from having to do the work. The real work. Men who ‘cannot be trusted with power because they are men’ do not have to learn empathy, compassion, flexibility. They do not have to become better feminists, less racist, less patriarchal because ‘Gee, they’re men and can’t help it, so just let the women handle it.’

This rhetoric is a copout for men. Do not buy into it.

Society needs to make changes, and polarism is not good for a central starting point. For the above reasons combined, the ‘Just put a woman in charge’ rhetoric both sets up women leadership as a future scapegoat – ‘See we put a woman in charge and she messed up so I guess that was a bad idea’ – and men as incorrigible ne’er do wells who can’t be expected to behave properly, so at least we know what we’re getting. This dynamic sets up a societal shrug to men’s misbehavior, and total condemnation of the failings of women which will naturally occur when women share a spot at the table.

Studies do show some great benefits when qualified women leaders share or hold power. [One article]

I’m here for that.

I support that.

Raise the expectations for our menfolk.

Allow woman to come into power as human beings.

Stop this nonsense damaging rhetoric.

Thank you,


macbook pro on brown wooden table
Photo by Andrew Neel on