Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Are Men & Women Equally Charismatic?

The Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute defines "charisma" as the creating of illusions to impact the emotions and psyche of others through the use of flair, finesse and glib language. The idea of the charming and engaging individual takes on different dimensions when applied to males and females. The difference is analogous to a fragrance smelling different on a man than on a woman. Such contrasts beg the question as to whether men and women can be equally charismatic. A man characterized as suave and debonair may be seen as charismatic. Where similar traits characterized by a woman might be deemed sexy, sultry or scintillating. But is this charisma? If not, charisma is either a term reserved strictly for men or the definition has to be expanded to encompass the differences in expression of both genders. In many instances, a key point to note is that a person may not be generally accepted as charismatic when he or she crosses the gender line for expression. For example, charisma is often viewed as imparting the gender traits within its definition and does not necessarily allow for men to take on traits deemed feminine and vice versa. Terms such as flamboyant, outlandish or ostentatious might apply, but charisma is arguable.

In viewing this hypothesis of charisma being gender specific, under the terms of Core Edge's definition, women can be charismatic, but it manifests itself differently than that that of men. In a patriarchal society, the traits deemed charismatic are often attributed to men, but the idea that women may take on similar traits and not tarnish their femininity should be accepted. The singer Madonna reportedly exhibited traits believed to be masculine in her ascension to stardom. She was focused, brusque, ruthless and committed based on biographical accounts. It was her unorthodox approach that aided her success, which defined her charisma. To say that a learned behavior cannot apply to a particular gender would create the slippery slope of discrimination. But we would be naive not to observe the differences in expression. If we are referring to the illusory aspects of interpersonal communication which charisma imparts, could we suggest that men are apt to create illusions that connect; whereas women are less inclined to demonstrate similar proclivities? The will to power by men alters the acceptance of charisma by both genders. Again, we would have to expand its definition merely for inclusionary purposes. While Denzel Washington, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Smits may be deemed charismatic, they exhibit it differently. The same would be true for Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Julia Roberts.

Is charisma equally distributed among the sexes? Based on our analysis, charisma is subjective and intangible. It can be compared to being physically attractive. If enough people believe that you are attractive then you are deemed attractive. However, how charisma plays out is often deemed more masculine within a male dominated society. It is no accident that it may be easier to randomly recall men who are deemed charismatic than women. Often there may be a general consensus when naming men, but when it comes to women, we may have to ponder a little longer in our listing. The term has not been traditionally used to describe women. As the role of women has drastically changed, the dynamics that create charisma would naturally level the playing field to encompass personal expression in this arena also.

The onslaught of the philosophy of charisma has created excitement for both sexes. The discussion, up until recently, was null and void. It was not and could not be seen as a legitimate philosophy when there weren't any serious studies on the subject. Now that the discussion has begun, it becomes even more interesting for both genders to utilize this new information in the realm of marketing as a competitive tool. Those who use charisma to separate themselves from competitors as well as seek personal fulfillment will have the advantage and ultimately end up redefining it-whether male or female.

For more information, visit: Charisma


Unknown said...

I have always contemplated why men have charisma and women don’t. Never thought any one else thought about it before. Charisma is relegated to the realm of men. It is a special quality that men have and frankly it arouses a deep jealousy in me. Charisma is strictly off limits for women. I think this blog presents a good explanation for why. Charisma is related to power and sexuality. Women are drawn to charisma, it is deeply alluring. Is this due to an unconscious desire to possess it? Charismatic men are sexy, and what is sexy in a man varies. The characteristics of women that are considered sexy are rather narrow and general and do not include charisma. Maybe charisma has to do with self actualization, and men are more apt to self actualize in our society. Men seem to be granted a right to explore the world and their selves without condmenation or a sense of being ostricized. Charisma also demands the respect of both men and women. Women would not support charisma in other women if were to exist there. Are young girls more charismatic than adult women? Maybe there is a time when charisma is accepted in women, a time before they are full blown sexual beings with the body characteristics that show it. During this time more masculine characteristics are supported and accepted in girls, by both men and women. Is there a matriarchal society that recognizes charisma in its female members? Or, is charisma equal in egalitarian societies? Women do not have the same power over others that men have, they cannot get love, admiration, attention and respect like men do with charisma. They cannot inspire others with charisma like men do. Women do not move in female circles with charisma. Women relate to women in more secret, subtle, and exclusive ways. It would be interesting to find proof that charisma is relegated to men because of our patriarchal society. It makes sense.

Blu said...

I can understand why women wouldn't necessarily labeled charismatic. It angers me, though. I'm regularly told I am a very charismatic woman. In some cases, I've not even said a word, but people would just naturally be drawn to me. I'm a motivational speaker by profession. I think charisma is not just an element of presence, but that it IS presence. Charismatic women do exist. Society just tends to see them as women who try to be men.

Anonymous said...

Don't flatter yourself, Blu. Charismatic people don't label themselves as charismatic... lol

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, seriously ? Ask Trump about that. How despicable he may be, he obviously is considered charismatic by many (which means he is), and I'm pretty sure he said that about himself a thousand times.
Blu, do flatter yourself. If you're told you are, it means you are, that's the whole idea.
Society is learning to ditch the whole "assertiveness is masculine" thing. Woman can be and are passionate, reasoned, brave and resilient.