This should not be as hard as it is proving to be.
First things first, despite what people expect, I am capable. I get shit done and I get it done well and the people who work with me know that. But when it comes to people who work under me, I feel a constant doubt and looming disapproval just for doing my job.
Men gain authority from being qualified and capable. I am qualified. I am capable. But the undefined and impossible line that comes right in between commanding respect and being a bitch, keeps me from any authority that a man would be automatically granted. I am in this position because I am more experienced, driven, and capable than you.
Immediately I am discredited because of my gender, and then if I command respect to make up for that discreditation, I am labeled a bitch. I am expected to be kind, to be remorseful, and if I do not go out of my way to present care, I am deemed frightening. I am not innately nurturing and I have no reason to learn to nurture. If a woman is not approachable, she is a bitch. If she does not smile to calm your worries, she is a bitch. If a man is not approachable, he is working. And a man is never expected to smile in order to calm your worries. I never signed up to be your mother, and if you need every woman that you meet to be nurturing, then you have not been exposed to very many who are not being restricted.
I know some will doubt that this is a matter of gender and most likely a result of other circumstances. Those people will not be women. All my surrounding women have made the same observations as I have, and all my surrounding men have not. But when you compare me to my male coworkers, it is intensely clear. They do not have to manage their tone when interacting with any employees, because their strict and respectable is my authoritarian and overbearing.
There are two types of men that a woman in power works with: those who work with or under her, and those who want her job. Those she works with may undermine and disrespect her, but those who want her job have a different sense of entitlement. Sometimes, men succeed more because they expect to be praised for everything they do remotely correct, and that is because time and time again, they are. Men are expected to be great, and so they are treated as if though they are fulfilling their destiny. Women are expected to be secretaries, and a man could not expect a secretary to do his job like he could, so when they do it better, he embraces denial and remains confused about why he did not get what he wanted this time.
To be fair, some men are unaware of the effect our patriarchal society has on them, but the women who must work with them are completely aware of all of their complexes. In some cases, I have been immediately disregarded by a man because they assume they are better, even if this thought does not consciously cross their minds. The idea that women are less capable in business environments is ingrained in our society and our country. On some level, these men believe those thoughts because they have never been forced to experience the opposite perspective.
I have been ignored, I have been expected to comfort and nurture, I have been underestimated and I have been intentionally disrespected and undermined. Even while writing this, my instinct is to edit myself to minimize aggression and accusation, not because I do not believe they belong but rather because I know I will be discredited for having emotions. Most of all, I have worked for every single thing I have received, because I have had to, and I have watched men do less and profit more.