Captain Marvel: Woman in the Workplace and Superhero

Last weekend, my daughter and I went to see Captain Marvel to soak in all the goodness of a badass female superhero. I had not read many reviews beforehand to avoid any spoilers but I was thoroughly briefed by the kid, who is a Marvel superfan, so I knew what to expect as far as how Captain Marvel fits into the Avengers’ story. I was also hopeful we would walk out of the theater feeling a similar sense of uplift we felt after watching Black Panther. What I was not expecting was to see so many parallels between Captain Marvel and women in business.

A stretch? Not really. Am I reading into things too much? Possibly, but I am betting many women will be able to relate and see the same things I saw. I’m not saying you have to be a  badass female superhero capable of superhuman feats to succeed in the biz/tech world, except that you do!

Listening to Your Emotions Has a Role to Play at Work

At the start of the movie, Vers (aka Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel) is seen training with Yon-Rogg, a Kree warrior who tells her that she needs to let her head lead her and not her heart. This message of not letting her emotions guide her is a recurrent theme in the movie and ultimately is brushed off by Captain Marvel embracing all her memories to find her power.

In my career, I have been told time and again that I am emotional, I show my feelings, I am too passionate, I have a short fuse. And I know I am not alone. Women are often labeled “emotional” because many men do not really know how to deal with their own emotional landscape let alone the thick thriving vibrant gardens that can be women. A woman arguing against the consensus or passionately selling an idea or position is labeled emotional or angry or excited or even crazy as the great Nike ad encourages us to be. Yet, a man showing his emotions through swearing, throwing things or raising his voice can be seen merely as disappointed or frustrated. I’d go as far as to say it’s been codified, in tech and out, as the cost of being a leader. The price of genius.  A guy who follows his gut is smart, daring, even ambitious. But a woman who follows her heart is often seen as irrational. Even if you do not follow tennis, you might have heard of heard of the Serena Williams incident at the US Open where a display of emotions that are usually ok for male tennis players was called into play.

But let’s forget for a second how biased the whole “emotionally charged” female portrayal is and look at the benefit of acknowledging your emotions rather than suppress them. There is, of course, a difference between recognizing and harnessing your feelings and just letting your emotions rule your judgment. Emotional Intelligence has grown in importance over the years so much as to be seen as a critical component for AI and Digital Assistants. But how can we get it right for the computing power to be when our workplace does not? Emotions are not a weakness and being able to recognize them in ourselves or others can help us be better at our job. This is particularly true in some line of business such as hospitality, care, teaching, creative professions like design but also extremely important in any leadership position. Every business should recognize emotional intelligence as a skill but tech as the responsibility to do so in order to avoid bringing today’s problems into tomorrow’s world.

Empowerment Does not Only Come from Others

Captain Marvel gets her power by accident, but despite her training with Yon-Rogg, she finds her full strength in herself by herself. It was not the training, and it was not the men or women in her life who give Captain Marvel her full powers. Her best friend does help her find her way, but ultimately, Carol finds her own strength by drawing from within.

When it comes to women at work, we often talk about mentors and supporters we talk about other people empowering us to be better, achieve more, go further. Less frequently we turn to ourselves for strength and skills and power. Hard not to think that it is likely because, just like Captain Marvel, we are often told not to be too confident because we become cocky, we are told not to raise our voice because we become hysterical and we are told we cannot have children and a career cause we cannot have it all. But what if instead of listening to the voices that tell us what we should not and cannot do we focused on what we know we can do? And what if we surround ourselves with positive influences that allow us to take the power we have within and turn it into something great?

We all Win When Women Support Women

Trusting more in yourself does not mean you should do it alone. Maria Rambeau is Carol Danvers’ best friend. She is a Black single mother who is a great fighter pilot and who is confident, self-aware and loyal. It is because Maria knows who she is that she can remind Carol of who she is. Ultimately it is Maria’s support that transforms Carol into Captain Marvel.

Women are still battling to be heard, be seen, be invited to the table even as the tables get bigger. Especially at the more senior level, being in tech or politics or, any other business, to be honest, there are so few opportunities that some feel the battle is not just with men but with other women. There is often criticism, lack of support, and lack of loyalty when it comes to women. I think this kind of attitude towards our fellow women is one of the reasons behind Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 Presidential Elections.

It is rare to witness a representation of the level of loyalty and support that Maria has for Carol and to see what that enables is certainly something we should try and replicate in our careers. Supporting, amplifying, encouraging, mentoring women is an excellent thing for all, for the one who give and those who receive. I have been lucky to have had male and female sponsors and mentors in my career and random women who shared pearls of wisdom over the years. There are plenty of women I look up to, and I always try and give back in any way I can. I am a little selfish of course because I am hoping to foster a wave of support that will mean by the time my daughter and her generation will get into the business world and they try and take a seat  at the proverbial table they won’t have to bring a folding chair ala Shirley Chisholm in 1972 but the will be invited, remunerated and advanced just like their male counterparts.

 

There were many magical moments in Captain Marvel, and as we often do, I did stop to think if maybe some aspects were a little over the top. Was she flying too high? Was she glowing too much? But my very wise little girl pointed out that Vision also flies, and Thor has glowing eyes, and yet I never said those were too much. Maybe I listened to my own voices over the years saying I should control my power, and I should be realistic about my career expectations and my life goals. But what if, instead, we embrace our inner Captain Marvel and go higher, further, faster, what then? When we build and create for those who come after us, the world we know is possible even if doesn’t exist yet.

Published by

Carolina Milanesi

Carolina is a Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies, Inc, a market intelligence and strategy consulting firm based in Silicon Valley and recognized as one of the premier sources of quantitative and qualitative research and insights in tech. At Creative Strategies, Carolina focuses on consumer tech across the board. From hardware to services, she analyzes today to help predict and shape tomorrow. In her prior role as Chief of Research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, she drove thought leadership research by marrying her deep understanding of global market dynamics with the wealth of data coming from ComTech’s longitudinal studies on smartphones and tablets. Prior to her ComTech role, Carolina spent 14 years at Gartner, most recently as their Consumer Devices Research VP and Agenda Manager. In this role, she led the forecast and market share teams on smartphones, tablets, and PCs. She spent most of her time advising clients from VC firms, to technology providers, to traditional enterprise clients. Carolina is often quoted as an industry expert and commentator in publications such as The Financial Times, Bloomberg, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She regularly appears on BBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox, NBC News and other networks. Her Twitter account was recently listed in the “101 accounts to follow to make Twitter more interesting” by Wired Italy.

672 thoughts on “Captain Marvel: Woman in the Workplace and Superhero”

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    “nobody wants to be rejected, And people will a single thing they think will stop them from being rejected, Says bush, Adding that this ultimately results in people doing almost nothing.Explore Life KitThis story derives from Life Kit, NPR’s podcast to help make life better covering a lot of exercise to raising kids to making friends.A lot of behaviors are rooted in this fear of sexual rejection. When you are considering dating and flirting, People tend to compare themselves to others to see if they’re adequate or worthy enough or attractive enough, Says williams. Some of these larger issues of self acceptance and worth are better dealt with in your time. (Here are a few different Life Kit episodes that might help).But you’re searching for a few concrete tips to help you get better at flirting, Look no further. Nothing corny or strangely creepy OK, One quite corny thing.in which flirting isn’t about you. One way to ease the fear of rejection is to view flirting as being more about each other than about you. “You get a more rewarding result if, Instead of obtaining others to make us feel good, We actually give full attention to making them feel good, Says kirkland. This takes care of lingering self doubt that usually comes up as questions such as “What if they don’t like me, because,since “What if I’m not memorable or funny enough,Part of doing that is to avoid putting your own expectations on each other.Jayda Shuavarnnasri is a sexuality and relationship educator who’s seen a lot of flirting driven by a focus on the endgame getting someone’s number (More in this particular later) Or buying any person a drink. This goal oriented way of viewing flirting is that not helpful,We’re so used to flirting as a means to an end, states.Shuavarnnasri refers to the “kinship escalator” the idea that you date someone, Enter into a monogamous matrimony, Get gotten married, Have little ones, Live contentedly ever after, stop smoking,give up. But if you eliminate that goal, You’ll hopefully instead just be looking to develop a mutually pleasant experience.Be open with your body language. If everything else fails, be happy. Smith often tells people to approach others not based on how exquisite you find them, But instead on their gesture. Is it responsive? will it be open? These may possibly people that it’ll be the most fun to talk to, regardless of whether you end up clicking.It follows that you must take that advice if you’re hoping to attract people: Keep your shoulders back, will not cross your arms. This is especially important if you’re more introverted and don’t expect to be making an approach anytime soon.an excellent aspect of body language is your smile, Says erika Rivera, A relationship coach at The Date Maven, A dating and dating consultancy. “a cheerful, Genuine smile has a way of cutting down walls, he tells. “And if you can get the person you’re trying to connect with to lower their walls a little, You’re already midway there,But a cheerful, Genuine smile can be extraordinary. It can even try taking some practice, Which is exactly what Rivera recommends to his clients. Stand looking at latamdate a mirror (usually full body), And try smiling in means. this can be one corny thing I alluded to earlier, Which is the normal reaction Rivera gets. But he says that after a half dozen times, You get used to it and get much more comfortable and confident with it, coupled with “That’s how ensure start to show up,Life KitWant to listen Better? Turn Down your notions And Tune In To OthersOpen with a question. don’t overthink this one. simple questions like “will you be here before, or “How conscious so and so, Will have the desired effect. several tidbits of advice small ways to get people to open up. You can also try gearing questions toward their likes “What do you advised, “Are there any good eateries around here, Let people share their likes and passion, And known as, All you want to do is listen.ensure that you assess. As you talk with others, make the time to check in on how they’re reacting to you. Are they recommending short, a word answers? have they stepped back? agent looking away? Then it usually is time to leave. That isn’t really a bad thing particularly if remember that flirting isn’t about hitting any preconceived personal goal, Other than helping someone else rejoice. Sometimes that means bouncing out of the dialogue.Say good-bye (because of good or just for now). If you’re getting the sense that vacation go, There are a few ways to carry out it. tired with someone, a fairly simple “in addition, ways to great chatting, But I should return to my friends” will need to do. If you’re alone and independently, Just go about doing whatever it is you went there to do order your coffee or whatever. This is a rather frictionless way to make an exit, speaks Rivera.right, If you’re not sure about how the chatting is going, allow them an out. “Hey ought to gotta go, it has OK” aka “Let me know if you wanna get back to your folks, Work the right way, proclaims Shuavarnnasri.If you will discover there, Smith recommends ending the discussion and coming back later. “Repeat points of contact are really powerful, states. So you could be emailing someone for five minutes and assess (maintain!) That the situation is going well. After ending it and giving it a bit of time, You can approach them again and discuss stuff you’d mentioned in that first chat. Do that a some more times, of course, if vibes are vibing, Then it’s time for us to share with you the number.Don’t ask with their number. People have different feelings about handing out their mobile phone number. to positively Shuavarnnasri, It goes back to the culture of getting something out of an relationship. “if you are a stranger I’ve never met, I don’t be induced to give you anything, Including my personal information,when you’re a stranger I’ve never met, I don’t feel the need to give you anything, Including my details.So try giving your number to a friend or relative. It’s a small way of upending the usual power dynamics that have flirting, And it eases some of the strain that might come with asking for someone’s number. Let people decide for themselves if they want to hit you up. Because it’s really about them.