September 14, 2016

"Female staffers adopted a meeting strategy they called 'amplification': When a woman made a key point, other women would repeat it..."

"... giving credit to its author. This forced the men in the room to recognize the contribution — and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own. 'We just started doing it, and made a purpose of doing it. It was an everyday thing,' said one former Obama aide who requested anonymity to speak frankly. Obama noticed, she and others said, and began calling more often on women and junior aides."

From "Obama’s Female Staffers Came Up With a Genius Strategy to Make Sure Their Voices Were Heard" in New York Magazine.

91 comments:

rhhardin said...

Now that they have the strategy, they need good ideas for content.

Darrell said...

They repeated stupid ideas, too. So it wasn't much of a strategy.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

Strategy? It's called nagging.

Darrell said...

Is that how that YouTube video got blamed for what happened in Egypt and Benghazi?

Ann Althouse said...

If you amplify something that isn't good, the lack of goodness is more obvious. If you repeat and waste time with repetition, you're not going to be looked upon favorably.

This tactic could be taken too seriously and become ridiculous, but it is, at least used well, an antidote to what is a well known problem, which is that a man says something a woman has already said and is treated as if he was the first one to say it and gets all the credit. So the device should be used in the context of overcoming a specific problem, not as a way for women to routinely boost each other for anything they say.

tds said...

this post is a nice opportunity to use 'cabal' tag for the first time

Curious George said...

So Obama spends more time now saying "What do you think sweetie?

CJinPA said...

This tactic could be taken too seriously and become ridiculous

We know it will, right? Does our society do anything half-way anymore?

And when there is inevitable pushback, what will that look like? It will probably look like more unfair treatment of female employees. Spurring yet another tactic to respond to the response.

Rumpletweezer said...

I believe the White House still pays women less than men. In fact, the pay differential has increased. What about that New York magazine?

Todd said...

Why are Democratic administrations such hotbeds of sexism that this sort of "strategy" is needed?

MagicalPat said...

I believe this was the same strategy used to promote the new Ghostbusters movie.

We know how well that worked out.

mockturtle said...

Sounds like Madeline Albright's ludicrous comment, "“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

rhhardin said...

Women are the ones with good ideas in all the recent DVDs.

Just go along with it and enjoy the romance. The guy gets her eventually.

TomHynes said...

So your female colleagues have secretly conspired to work together to promote their ideas at the expense of yours.

mockturtle said...

If you amplify something that isn't good, the lack of goodness is more obvious. If you repeat and waste time with repetition, you're not going to be looked upon favorably.

And you're not going to be taken seriously.

Henry said...

Introverted staffers adopted a meeting strategy called don't say anything. The less that is said, the quicker the meeting will end.

MadisonMan said...

Seems like a dumbing down of the word 'Genius' to me.

Can I get someone to agree with me?

EDH said...

"...an antidote to what is a well known problem, which is that a man says something a woman has already said and is treated as if he was the first one to say it and gets all the credit."

You'd think with such a "well known" and pervasive problem somebody, somewhere could have included specific examples in their accounts.

I mean, how many great ideas have come out of the Obama administration, period, and how many of those great ideas were appropriated from women by men before such great policy results were achieved from that idea? Again, any examples?

rhhardin said...

I've brought a few women up to speed on technical stuff and when they do well, I take it as a nice thing.

Maybe in a more competitive bureaucratic organization there's more inclincation to steal.

Henry said...

This article does illuminate the extent to which status-seeking is the driver in Washington.

Henry said...

Is Shine the new Lean Forward?

Rick said...

a well known problem, which is that a man says something a woman has already said and is treated as if he was the first one to say it and gets all the credit.

This is well known because feminists complain about it. Less clear is how often it actually happens. Their canard to reality ratio seems about 9-1 so it seems more likely this will be seen as prioritizing a useless political agenda over the entity goals (were the practice to expand beyond organizations where useless political agendas are the goal).

BDNYC said...

And what about when a young male staffer said something valuable enough to be stolen by a more senior male staffer?

holdfast said...

". . . a well known problem, which is that a man says something a woman has already said and is treated as if he was the first one to say it and gets all the credit."

Is this really a thing? Maybe I am just lucky enough to work with smart, assertive women, some of whom are genuine thought-leaders in their field, but I just don't see it. Any man (or other woman) who tried to appropriate someone's good idea like this would be looked at as the douche he (or she) obviously is.

Joshua R. Poulson said...

This is not a new tactic, nor is it unusual. Garnering support for an idea, testing it with others, and ensuring that they support it is called "pre-wiring" and has been around since people started making group decisions.

damikesc said...

Why would a Democratic administration be so hostile to women? Any evidence that women had to do that to get Romney to listen?

Makes one think the War on Women was bullshit.


Just go along with it and enjoy the romance. The guy gets her eventually.


Note how rarely the guy is of a lower social class than her.

With men getting fucked out of college and rules made to screw them out of education period --- women, good luck with finding the dream man.

Todd said...

She should feel lucky. The last Democrat President would have told her to shut her pie-hole and to instead use her mouth for what God intended, in addition to paying her less than her male associates.

Also, would it now be considered a macro-aggression if one of the women say something and none of the others repeat it? Or would that be sexist?

damikesc said...

She should feel lucky. The last Democrat President would have told her to shut her pie-hole and to instead use her mouth for what God intended, in addition to paying her less than her male associates.

The current Dem candidate pays her women less than her men.

Her family's "charity" does the same.

I notice the gender pay gap seems to be a non-issue here.

Wonder why.

Rocketeer said...

This tactic could be taken too seriously and become ridiculous, but it is, at least used well, an antidote to what is a well known problem, which is that a man says something a woman has already said and is treated as if he was the first one to say it and gets all the credit.

Pretty sure it was a man that first became aware of this problem. Woo hoo! Go men!

James L. Salmon said...

And this differs how from the Clinton Campaign and the Dems Pretorian Guard in the media agreeing to repeat the phrase, "power through" ad nauseum? Interrupting and talking over others to push your friend's agenda is a meeting is rude not liberating.

eric said...

Listen everyone, here is my original thought on what was posted....

If you amplify something that isn't good, the lack of goodness is more obvious. If you repeat and waste time with repetition, you're not going to be looked upon favorably.

This tactic could be taken too seriously and become ridiculous, but it is, at least used well, an antidote to what is a well known problem, which is that a man says something a woman has already said and is treated as if he was the first one to say it and gets all the credit. So the device should be used in the context of overcoming a specific problem, not as a way for women to routinely boost each other for anything they say.

What do you all think?

Bad Lieutenant said...

Again, Ladies, Orwell was a warning, not a how-to manual! This time you have learned from the sheep in Animal Farm. Four legs good two legs bad, remember?

Char Char Binks said...

Joshua R. Poulson said...
'This is not a new tactic, nor is it unusual. Garnering support for an idea, testing it with others, and ensuring that they support it is called "pre-wiring" and has been around since people started making group decisions.'

I agree -- Always be garnering.

Todd said...

eric said...
Listen everyone, here is my original thought on what was posted....

If you amplify something that isn't good, the lack of goodness is more obvious. If you repeat and waste time with repetition, you're not going to be looked upon favorably.

This tactic could be taken too seriously and become ridiculous, but it is, at least used well, an antidote to what is a well known problem, which is that a man says something a woman has already said and is treated as if he was the first one to say it and gets all the credit. So the device should be used in the context of overcoming a specific problem, not as a way for women to routinely boost each other for anything they say.

What do you all think?

9/14/16, 12:01 PM


Not sure what sort of "hotbeds of sexism" some of you work at I have not see that at the places where I have worked and in fact, any "idea poaching" is just not acceptable be it man or woman. Those that have done that are quickly called out.

As others have pointed out, how much of this is more self re-enforcement than an actual issue? "Everyone" has heard of this happening but how often does it actually happen, excluding Democrat strong-holds of course...

eric said...

Oh Todd, that right there is freaking funny.

Matthew Sablan said...

I agree with what Althouse said, that if you repeat and waste time with repetition, you're not going to be looked upon favorably.

Agree and amplify is also a way to bring humor to a situation, by the way.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

MagicalPat said...
I believe this was the same strategy used to promote the new Ghostbusters movie.


Bingo!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Henry said...
Is Shine the new Lean Forward?


Power Through is the new Lean Forward.

William said...

Why do staffers on the Clinton campaign need to adopt such tactics? I'm sure that men with even trace elements of sexism in their personality would not feel welcome there. This is probably a story planted the vast right wing conspiracy.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

...an antidote to what is a well known problem...

Thanks to those great feminist scholars we've heard so much about?

Todd said...

Pop quiz, what is the intersectionality of "being woke", "power through", and "lean forward"?

I expect your papers on my desk before you leave today...

MadisonMan said...

I agree -- Always be garnering.

I see what you did there. Well done.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

If you amplify something that isn't good, the lack of goodness is more obvious.

And, depending on the classification of the amplifier, less mentionable.

hank.jim said...

Usually the person that has the idea is supposed to do the work so they would get the credit as that's the expectation. Worse is when women come up with ideas that I disagree and I get stuck doing it. Then I want credit for doing it for the effort and methods is all mine. She is just be the idea person and not even much of that.

B-Dog The Man said...

The assumption that it only goes one way is absolutely ridiculous. I work in a setting where only women are promoted...I guess I'm going to assume they are taking ideas from men, using them, and then getting promoted. I would be correct, but according to this it only works the opposite way.

Big Mike said...

If you amplify something that isn't good, the lack of goodness is more obvious.

@Althouse, based on what I've seen from the Obama administration they've only amplified the bad ideas.

mockturtle said...

Introverted staffers adopted a meeting strategy called don't say anything. The less that is said, the quicker the meeting will end.

My husband always maintained that meetings should be held with everyone standing.

n.n said...

Sex-related confirmation bias is an artifact of [class] diversity schemes.

Of course, the class diversitists and female chauvinists specifically know this. I wonder how liberals will spin their way out of this. Or perhaps they'll just ignore this along with their seemingly endless positions that can only be reconciled in the twilight zone.

Real American said...

credit is clearly due to the guy in the White House who came up with this brilliant plan.

Milwaukee said...

"Rick said...
"...a well known problem, which is that a man says something a woman has already said and is treated as if he was the first one to say it and gets all the credit.

This is well known because feminists complain about it. Less clear is how often it actually happens. Their canard to reality ratio seems about 9-1 so it seems more likely this will be seen as prioritizing a useless political agenda over the entity goals (were the practice to expand beyond organizations where useless political agendas are the goal)."


Ann wrote the part in bold, above. It must be true.

I figure if I have a good idea, and somebody else adopts it and then implements it, the good idea is more important than my getting credit. You see it isn't all about me and my getting my "just" rewards. Now if there are copyright and patent issues leading to money, that is a different matter.

Isn't the campus culture of rape a well known problem? Or women being paid 76 cents on the dollar for what men are paid a well known problem? Or White police officers shooting down unarmed Black men who have just turned their lives around and are entering college soon, a well known problem? Or bloggers repeating stupid stuff they agree with regardless of the truth, a well known problem?

Bob Ellison said...

Yeah, the "well known problem" comment bugs me big-time.

It's not a well known problem, but a well known myth. Modern feminists complain about lots of things, and those things might not exist in the real world. The "mansplaining" and "manspreading" BS, for example.

Let's have some evidence. It'll be tough to gather. You'll have to get permission to post vidcams in meeting rooms, and that means you'll have to have everyone going in to sign a waiver.

Then let's see what goes on when a woman says "the sky is blue!" and a man says "the sky, it's blue!"

Job said...

Althouse: "an antidote to what is a well known problem, which is that a man says something a woman has already said and is treated as if he was the first one to say it and gets all the credit. "

By "well known problem" you mean wholly imaginary, feminist shibboleth?

Bob Ellison said...

Who suffers in elementary and secondary school from gender bias? Who suffers in college admissions and college classes from gender bias? Who suffers in hiring and promotion from gender bias?

Jonathan Graehl said...

That sounds evil - distorting the decision making process by creating false social evidence, all for personal glory and clique influence.

You can't spin this is as virtuous unless you expect us to believe there was no momentum or glee in this coven - that they somehow only "amplified" CORRECT and USEFUL suggestions.

Please.

Dirty office politics.

eric said...

Ann wrote the part in bold, above. It must be true.

Well, it worked on Todd anyway.

David said...

Women repeating things is not a new concept. Nor men for that matter. Usually it gets annoying fast.

I agree that it is a "well known problem" that things women say finally get attention when repeated by a man. However, it is not consistent with my pretty lengthly experience in business and law. I often wonder who the people who are having these problems hang out with. It sometimes seems to me that the complaints come largely from academia and government.

Businesses which ignore or disparage talent are going to suffer in the marketplace for it.

damikesc said...

And this differs how from the Clinton Campaign and the Dems Pretorian Guard in the media agreeing to repeat the phrase, "power through" ad nauseum? Interrupting and talking over others to push your friend's agenda is a meeting is rude not liberating.

I bet that is sexist. Somehow.

I agree...constantly derailing a meeting to pimp your home girls' ideas sounds like exceptionally poor etiquette. It'd lead to "Well, let's let the peanut gallery talk first..."

And "1 in 5 women get raped on campus" is also a well known thing in feminist circles. Just sayin'.

Fun Bob said...

But did they start applauding each other with jazz hands and waggling fingers?

Celebrim said...


"This tactic could be taken too seriously and become ridiculous, but it is, at least used well, an antidote to what is a well known problem, which is that a man says something a woman has already said and is treated as if he was the first one to say it and gets all the credit."

This is precisely the reason I have a hard time taking women seriously?

Do they not think that men also don't commonly experience this phenomenon? One of my favorite observations of this occurred in High School, in a large group. At several points during the conversation I made a joke, that was not at all observed or commented on or laughed at by anyone - except, the highest status member of the group. That high status male noticed what I said, recognized its worth, and repeated it.

Immediately upon doing so, the whole room erupted in laughter. The joke became his joke. This was repeated several times? Was I supposed to be angry with him? He was the one person in the room confident enough to actually be paying attention to what I said. Everyone else would have ignored me or insulted me.

What is happening here is that the women involved lack high status. They may - or may not - lack that high status on account of being women, but the problem isn't that they are women but that they lack status or stature.

I would guess that the odds of the amplification strategy backfiring in the long run are at least 50%, and that in any event it isn't actually doing what its adherents think.

Jake said...

I thought liberal men were already enlightened

Doug said...

...said one former Obama aide who requested anonymity to speak frankly. If this was such a swell idea, why didn't she want to get credit for enlightening everyone about it?
1. Because it doesn't really happen, she made it up
2. Because the other women would be mad at her for presenting it and taking credit for it
3. Because like so much of journalism, the writer made it up because if it didn't really happen, it should because it is "empowering" and cool to daydream about doing ... someday.

Doug said...

Don't worry about other people stealing your ideas ... if they're really good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

Joe said...

Why do women persist in thinking men get credit for anything. I honestly can't the number of times I've said something, been told to shut up and then been proven right.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"Don't worry about other people stealing your ideas ... if they're really good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats."

This. The kind of people that would take credit for the idea's of others are also the last in the room to recognize a good one.

rhhardin said...

I always share ideas, and like to give credit.

Maybe it's a feature of age.

Joe said...

To extend my observations; in general women have very peculiar, and mostly wrong, views of how men interact.

Tim said...

In a meeting with several levels of officials, it doesn't really matter which junior official suggests something. An idea gets associated with the Senior official who champions the idea. For example, the "Marshall Plan" wasn't invented by George Marshall, but it was his championing the idea that led to the name. It is not like inventions which get named for the low level inventor.

I suppose in meetings where most of the senior officials are men and half the junior staff is women, it can seem that the ideas of the women get stolen. But government doesn't value originality or creativity -- it values power and influence.

Leora said...

to quote Ronald Reagan “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit.”

JAORE said...

I've lived the joke thing as described by Cerebrum. Does no good to protest. And he's right it was largely a social strata thing.

And credit stealing? Seen it a thousand times. But it was a male boss taking credit for ideas from (mostly) male staff.

If it happens to a man.... meh, whatcha complaining about.

If it happens to a woman.... sexism!!!!!!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Celebrim said...Do they not think that men also don't commonly experience this phenomenon? One of my favorite observations of this occurred in High School, in a large group. At several points during the conversation I made a joke, that was not at all observed or commented on or laughed at by anyone - except, the highest status member of the group. That high status male noticed what I said, recognized its worth, and repeated it.

Immediately upon doing so, the whole room erupted in laughter. The joke became his joke. This was repeated several times? Was I supposed to be angry with him? He was the one person in the room confident enough to actually be paying attention to what I said. Everyone else would have ignored me or insulted me.


Key & Peele: Hypotenuse

You coulda been famous, Celebrim!

David-2 said...

If you amplify something that isn't good, the lack of goodness is more obvious. If you repeat and waste time with repetition, you're not going to be looked upon favorably.

Or your idea could get Khadafy toppled, the entire country of Libya turned into a no-government terrorist factory, and a resume point for your presidential run!

GRW3 said...

Actually sounds like an application of John Nash's game theory.

Thorby said...

"a well known problem, which is that a man says something a woman has already said and is treated as if he was the first one to say it and gets all the credit."

This was the subject of a popular Fed Ex commercial nine years ago. [Fed Ex Stolen Idea] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNCrMEOqHpc

Committees in public work best when they meet to ratify a decision that has already been made in private. I found out a long time ago that when I had a good idea it was best to run it by the other committee members in private, obtain their less inhibited feedback and approval, and then obtain public approval at the final committee meeting.



Terry said...

Joe said...
To extend my observations; in general women have very peculiar, and mostly wrong, views of how men interact.
9/14/16, 4:01 PM


Exhibit A: Kathllen parker's latest column:
"Another question also arose, at least in many women’s minds: Would anyone ask the same question about a man under similar circumstances? Here’s the more pertinent question: Why do women feel they can’t admit to being sick? You know the answer. It’s because women fear showing any sign of weakness lest others presume the worst — that she’s not as good as a man."

I would be willing to bet a large sum of money that women use more sick time than men, and that women see their doctor more than men. People who do this are unwilling to "admit to being sick." The column is a mish-mash of exhausted feminist talking points and shop worn cliche's.
" For women, it began when they entered the male-dominated workplace en masse a generation ago and worked twice as hard to be as good as a man."
A generation ago? The 1990s? I have never met any of these women who had to work twice as hard to be as good as a man.
"As the weaker sex, which is only true as concerns upper-body muscle mass (about 40 percent less) and significantly less testosterone (hence less invading, marauding and pillaging), women tend to hide anything that might suggest “weaker sex.” This is absurd on its face, but it also happens to be true."
It is not just upper body mass. It is a larger muscle to fat ratio, and denser, stronger bones to support more muscle.

Biff said...

The funny thing is that I am a man, and I've found that one of the secrets to actually being effective is planting an idea in a manager's/executive's head often enough that eventually the executive thinks it was their idea all along. I've done this whether the executive was male or female.

As Leora pointed out, it's a variation on Truman's/Reagan's famous quips that you can get a lot done if you don't care who gets the credit.

Biff said...

Tim wrote, "For example, the "Marshall Plan" wasn't invented by George Marshall, but it was his championing the idea that led to the name. It is not like inventions which get named for the low level inventor."

In my field, it drives me bananas every time I hear starry-eyed sycophants (especially when they are scientists) talking about "President Obama's BRAIN Initiative" or "Vice President Biden's Cancer Moonshot," as if either one of them has the faintest expertise in these fields.

tim in vermont said...

I thought I read where Hawking stole the idea of Hawking radiation from a grad student.

Paul Snively said...

Doug: Don't worry about other people stealing your ideas ... if they're really good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

"Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you will have to ram it down their throats." — Howard Aiken

I see what you did there!

rcocean said...

"As is well known" is old commie speak. Stalin used it all the time, as in "It is well known that the bourgeois use torture to..."

The trick of a bunch of people secretly getting together to support each other in a meeting is also an old commie trick. Kazan talks about how he and his buddies (all commies) which get together before a union meeting and decide to "amplify" the party line. All the other actors would then think that "everyone" was supporting position X, completely unaware that all these supposedly random individuals were all on the same "team".

rcocean said...

And isn't it sad that after 16 years of the feminist Clinton-Obama administrations, women still have trouble making themselves heard?

Thanks God Hillary will set this right. Because no one supports other women like Hillary.

rcocean said...

BTW, as someone who's worked with women in the finance/budget/HR field for 30 years let me say this. Women are great, my best bosses have been women. But I've gone to male colleagues and bosses with a work problem and more times than I can remember, they've given me solutions/advice that made me think "Wow, i never thought about that".

I can't think of a single time, my female colleagues or bosses have done that.

Women are great at following rules and regulations and doing what's expected. But when there's no rule book or people need to think "outside the box" they're at a loss.

mockturtle said...

Women are great at following rules and regulations and doing what's expected. But when there's no rule book or people need to think "outside the box" they're at a loss.

OK if I deem this a gross generalization? ;-)

rcocean said...

"OK if I deem this a gross generalization? ;-)"

Sure. Just write up the list of great women inventors, explorers, and entrepreneurs.

BN said...

The essence of liberalism/progressivism: "It's not my fault when i fail. It's society's."

BN said...

Unfortunately, I'm a white man. So it's my fault.

My fault alone.

JAORE said...

"... male colleagues and bosses with a work problem and more times than I can remember, they've given me solutions/advice that made me think "Wow, i never thought about that".

I can't think of a single time, my female colleagues or bosses have done that."

You have never met my wife.

rcocean said...

"You have never met my wife."

Obviously. But then I've never met you either.

Jupiter said...

Wait. You mean that Susan Rice is still allowed to go out in the world and pretend to be a credible human being?

Sir Lags Alot said...

Mockturtle - "My husband always maintained that meetings should be held with everyone standing."

There was a consulting company in the DC area that did that. Rapid Systems Solutions Inc. They had a special conference table built just for the purpose of people standing around it instead of sitting in chairs.

They were an alright group. They got bought out by one of the big players. Accenture, I believe.

dbp said...

"Obama noticed, she and others said, and began calling more often on women and junior aides.""

Did Obama really "notice" or was he duped by this fairly simple form of manipulation? I vote for Obama being a patsy. It fits with his pattern of behavior.

SukieTawdry said...

Wow, it doesn't take much to be a genius anymore. I'm guessing this is typical of the "genius" that runs through the entire administration.

If I remember correctly it was the estrogen troika of Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power that convinced Obama leading from behind in Libya was a good idea. I wonder how many times they amplified that one.