It's a funny thing - whenever I mention the Imposter Police, women immediately know what I am talking about, and men look at me as if I have two heads.
I first encountered this concept when I was a student in the Physics Department at the University of Amsterdam. I helped organise a symposium about women in science, and we called it "Stepdaughters of Pythagoras and Archimedes", talking about how many women feel uncomfortable in the sciences, as if they don't belong there. One successful woman scientist mentioned the Imposter Police, the ones who were going to come and take us all away for impersonating scientists. We all knew exactly what she meant. Despite our demonstrated competence, we are sure that we couldn't possibly be as good as those confident guys (who are probably just as lost sometimes, but would rather die than admit it). It's a problem, and while it is probably not entirely unique to women, it does seem to be more prevalent in that population.
I know scientists, mostly male, who fit perfectly in their professional skin. They work extremely hard and sometimes get frustrated, but they do not doubt their basic calling. In particular, one scientist told me that he studied physics because he loved it and found it intriguing and worthwhile as a career, and that he did not once pause to consider anyone else's opinion of his choice.
For the rest of us, struggling with the Lizard Brain, that fear of being found unworthy by whomever judges these things can be incredibly paralyzing. Of course, one could ask who gave those supposed judges authority over us in the first place. I think this connects with the akrasia post from earlier this week - quite aside from physical cravings that could be connected to food addictions such as wheat or sugar, or micronutrient deficiencies such as minerals or salt.
I would love to delve into the way women sabotage themselves, put themselves down and deliberately destroy their health. I know that men do all these things, too (heck, the Greek philosophers who coined the term were almost all men), but I imagine that the forces behind the behaviour are different - I could be wrong.
Who is with me on this journey? I would love to hear your thoughts and insights. Especially if you disagree with me!