Thursday, October 07, 2010

Today's Giggle Time: The Hundred Most Powerful Women

Forbes has given us a list of the hundred most powerful women in the world. That the list makes any feminist go and bang her or his head against the garage door is just an extra benefit of the new way of defining power Forbes now uses:

The new system mixed an earnings component with a "buzz factor," as opposed to past lists focused more on wealth and executive position.
Great! I look forward to the list of the hundred most powerful men in the world on the basis of "buzz factor"! Except that we will not get that, because power is a serious matter when discussed in men. When it comes to women power can be most anything you wish it to be. Or so it looks.

So what does this wonderful new way of defining power accomplish, other than making the whole concept a little bit laughable?

Well, it ranks seven female presidents of this globe below the first 61 women in the rankings and no female presidents above that number. It puts a First Lady (Michelle Obama) in the top position and the First Lady of an American state (Maria Shriver, California) above all female presidents and the Prime Minister of Australia (Julia Gillard)!

The lesson is that women gain much, much more power by associating with powerful men than by trying to get power themselves! Such a good lesson to teach our daughters.

And if you do want to go for that brass ring of power all on your own, why bother about politics? You can just develop a lot of buzz factor! I can't help feeling that the changes were made so that the list would include more of exactly that: outrageous performers, beautiful bodies and so on. Never mind if the women listed actually have power. It's much more fun this way. And much less feministy which is a very nice side-effect.

Power is difficult to define, I know. But this list corrupts even the faintest attempts to do just that and essentially makes a joke of the whole idea that women could wield real power.

The list is really about fame and celebrity status. The people who created it and then decided to call what it measures "power" should be ashamed. So I think.