I am not hiding in hopes that someone else will take the reins in female empowerment campaigns. I admit to doing that in the past, watching the likes of Gloria Steinem stand up for women and not doing my part. That has changed; I have changed. I am now speaking and writing my views to help lead change.
With the concepts of leadership and female empowerment consistently on my mind, it’s with great interest that I am rereading portions of David Castro’s Genership 1.0: Beyond Leadership Toward Liberating the Creative Soul and discussing his sections on the Messiah Fallacy.
What is the Messiah Fallacy?
As Castro explains, the Messiah Fallacy is a technique that is not useful yet still exists in society, such as within some business organizations. It is the fallacy that a group’s success depends on the success or failure of a specific figure who is seen as a messiah type.
This way of thinking is destined to failure, explains Castro, because the group is putting its hopes onto one person to do more than is possible. He discusses in the book why people go along with the messiah. At least part of that reason is for the safe feeling that it provides as they look to another person for guidance and to lead the way. Group members feel that they are protected and are themselves free from risk when they project success onto that one figurehead.
Connecting the Messiah Fallacy to Female Empowerment
As I read through sections of Genership 1.0, I began to form links between Castro’s words and the female issues close to my heart. I began thinking through how the Messiah Fallacy is going to take females backward rather than advancing, if we keep thinking this way in the business environment.
Why is that? My reasoning can be simplified down to two facts. First, we live in a world that has one set of rules for women and another for men, both in personal and professional situations. Second, women and men have different ways of looking at the world. Taken together, that means that if female employees follow a male CEO under the Messiah Fallacy, they are destined to get unfulfilling outcomes and, in fact, may be detrimental to both their jobs and self-confidence.
I form that conclusion because I have seen and read about the differences between how men and women view the world. It’s not personal; it’s science. We’re built differently, with women being “more perceptive to color changes,” for example, than men, according to a Live Science article. So we literally have different ways of looking at situations. In addition, even if men don’t realize it, they are afforded opportunities at work that women are not, and that’s simply a product of how society is built right now, unfortunately.
So, returning to the example of a male CEO calling the shots for female employees, it’s not going to be completely for the females’ betterment. Please understand that I’m not saying he wouldn’t have the women’s best interests in mind; even if he does, he can’t put himself into their shoes and fully understand their concerns, issues or needs. If he asked them to tell him these things, many women would likely hide their true thoughts as they fear losing their jobs or other repercussions if the answers aren’t what the boss wants to hear.
The result here is that the women would likely not have completely fulfilling jobs if they follow the male messiah. They would also be perpetuating an already male-dominated society, encouraging men to be its leaders. As women’s empowerment is a campaign that I highly support, I refuse to take the route of the Messiah Fallacy.
What are your thoughts on the Messiah Fallacy?
©2014 Christy Birmingham