I am a fan of the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. It is unfortunate that I didn’t find this book when I was in college. I think things would have been a lot different for me if I had.
Though I don’t go by every law stated in the book (because most of them could turn you into a deceptive, slimy type of person) some of them speak directly to women. And if we’re going to seriously have a talk about women’s empowerment then this is a good place to start.
I think that young girls starting at 18 should read more about the laws of power. At the very least they should understand them. Especially those girls who are going to be entering the real world or the corporate world at some point in the future. If you’re not at least aware of the power plays that are going on all around you, you’re more likely to fall victim to them.
Not to mention, heterosexual girls 18 and over are in “the snakepit.” Many are very vulnerable to meeting the wrong men who only want to use and abuse a naive young girl.
Even women 40 and older can benefit from learning the laws of power. But for now in this series I’m just going to point out a few of the laws that I think women of all ages should know ASAP. Some of it may seem obvious, but a lot of women sure don’t act like they know!
Greene’s 5th law is “So Much Depends on Reputation – Guard it With Your Life.”
A Woman’s Reputation
Your reputation as a woman precedes you. In some cases it follows you too. If you run in one or more tight social circles you’ll come face to face with this law a lot.
For example, some guys will only talk to a woman within their social circle because they’ve heard she’s easy. So while that girl is thinking “yay he’s so into me” he’s really plotting and making a measured bet that he’ll get sex soon based on what he knows of her reputation.
So if you’ve ever seen a girl who has a bad reputation or is not particularly appealing who somehow gets all of the attention from guys, don’t envy her. Pity her. It’s possible she might just be a target. That is an unhappy and powerless situation to be in.
The type of men who will approach you usually depends both on your reputation and how you present yourself as a woman. If your reputation is that of a confident, smart and respectable lady, the Jersey Shore douchey type of guy is probably going to stay far far away.
And even with strangers or people you’ve just recently met you are airing out your reputation, whether you intend to or not. For instance, let’s talk about sleeping with a man on the first or second date.
Come on ladies, we have to be realistic here. Men are not usually deep thinkers when it comes to women-they don’t feel any special connection with you after just one or two dates. Please stop watching romantic comedies that sell you that bit about “love at first sight.” It’s bogus.
So if you sleep with a guy on the first or second date, don’t be surprised and hurt when he treats you like a whore or an afterthought. If you drink like a fish when you’re out at a bar don’t be surprised when someone you met there treats you accordingly. It doesn’t matter how great you look or how good of a woman you think you are.
Also, keep in mind that the places where you spend most your time and the company you keep might affect your reputation-either positively or negatively.
The Female Reputation
So as a female, what are your top concerns regarding reputation?
You may have your own opinions but I will start with three big ones: sexual promiscuity, bad attitude and lying.
Sexual promiscuity is a major button-pushing issue. The recent Slutwalk campaign is one example of that. But while I am 100% down for women’s empowerment, I am aware and realistic about the differences between women and men.
For one, women are the receivers in the sex act. Women are naturally more susceptible to a number of downsides when it comes to overdoing sex, such as pregnancy and health issues. So avoiding promiscuity is not only crucial to your reputation but also to your overall health and well-being.
Also why as a woman would you want to emulate the hoish behavior of a man? Rise above the nonsense. Elevate yourself. Don’t sleep with everyone you meet as a way to prove you’re a player or “just like a man.”
Your attitude as a woman is also a big part of your reputation. In some places, like the office, having a little bit of an attitude might help prevent you from getting treated like a doormat. But when it comes to personal relationships your attitude should be somewhere in the middle — not too nice and not too bad.
One of the characters in my book is a ball-busting chick. Now while people surely don’t mess with her, and she has managed to find a weak-minded man to oppress, it simply can’t last. No one can stand a person who always has a bad, nasty attitude. Eventually word gets around and people will start avoiding that woman at all costs.
On the other hand, you don’t want a reputation as a pushover. You can’t be powerful as a woman if you always allow people to walk over you and have their way–especially men.
In my opinion, the best reputation for a woman (or any person for that matter) is one where people say “that girl is so cool and chill… fun to be around… but hey, don’t mess with her.”
I don’t think I can think of anything more damaging to a reputation than someone who lies pathologically. When you lie so much that no one ever knows if you’re telling the truth, that is a major problem. As a powerful woman, others need to know that you’re a trustworthy and honest person-this is important whether you’re at the office, in a relationship or building a female friendship.
Attacks on Your Reputation
As a woman when you have an enemy, whether it is a competitive woman or a vindictive male, what is the first thing they will try to attack to bring you down? Your reputation.
Again, that is because your reputation is a source of power. That’s why people who don’t like you or want to cut you down a few notches will start spreading rumors or gossip. Don’t give them fuel for the fire and keep your private business as private as possible. Also, don’t become a woman known for attacking the reputation of others–mind your own business.
Building and Maintaining a Positive Reputation
So to summarize quickly, what are the most important elements of building a strong positive reputation?
1. Treating your body as a temple
2. Treating and regarding others with respect
3. Handling tough situations with grace and smarts rather than being reactionary
4. Being loyal and trustworthy to the people who love you
5. Working both hard and smart at whatever you do
Start with this list and then build out from there.
Managing a Soiled Reputation
What do you do when your reputation is already tarnished? That’s a hard question. I can only offer an opinion on this matter.
For one, I think it’s important to own up to the situation (if true). Don’t try to lie or cover up the truth because it only makes you look more deceptive. If you were jumping from bed to bed in the past don’t try to pretend as if you’ve always been a saint. I think that the more that a woman denies something that is obviously true, the more it persists and grows. Own up to it and confront it, even if you only do so with your tightest circle of friends.
You can also use a negative as a springboard toward something positive. For instance, many motivational speakers have questionable pasts, but they use the story to help others.
Start rebuilding your reputation immediately by living your life in a healthy, positive, wise, respectable and balanced manner. Consult a trusted therapist for advice. Read books to gain knowledge and take time out with yourself to explore who you really are as a person or who you want to be. Yea, it sounds a bit trite and corny but it’s true. You can turn a bad reputation around by simply loving yourself and displaying that love to the world through your actions.
Can’t Get Around This
Greene makes one point crystal clear in his book. There is no getting around this particular law of power. It is crucial to strive to keep your reputation intact if you want to be an empowered woman.