I am a huge Star Trek fan and as I watched some TOS the other day it occurred to me that the 'probably' best looking woman on the show was basically a servant, yet the 'probably' best looking man on the show was in-charge.
No doubt she would have been thought to wield soft power, she would have had access to the captain, and figured out a way of getting him to do what she wanted/needed - the kind of power that Joan Harris on Mad Men wielded rather than the power that Peggy Olsen wielded when she sacked the guy who annoyed Joan Harris in one of the earlier seasons (I gave up watching the show - it was boring.)
Regardless, the yeoman on Star Trek didn't last long, no matter how much soft power she wielded and also Kirk said he wasn't interested because he was already married to the Enterprise (the star ship he commanded). So perhaps she was able to get what she wanted sometimes but it was always via some kind of manipulation on her part.
And then one of my moderators was telling me about what modern female engineers look like and I pretty much lost it. I told my husband and even he said: what!?
In my opinion telling me what anyone looks like is the equivalent of racial profiling or some other form of stereotyping. Figuring out the appearance of what a female engineer or scientist looks like means you will necessarily be limiting the amount of science being done, because you assume anyone who doesn't meet your stereotype cannot do science.
I was watching a documentary 'Picture a scientist' where the women complained how much science they couldn't do because they were fighting discrimination. Initially I thought well all scientists are fighting down time, we all need to spend time doing the stuff of being human, like eating, showering, sleeping... But then I thought that what these women were missing out on instead was networking time, something the guys don't have to miss out on when they have downtime.
My husband's day starts by putting on the first t-shirt and shorts (it's summer) he can find and he doesn't even consider whether the colors clash. I start by brushing my hair, selecting matching clothes, checking my face in the mirror, applying moisturizer... who has the jump on the day?
And while I have way more hair than my husband, the yeoman has a very fancy hairdo that would've taken quite awhile longer to assemble than me brushing my hair. Perhaps things are getting better, but as I have gotten older I have noticed the soft power I may have wielded when I was younger only exists in my home when I get my husband to do my bidding. And that is lucky for me but it is useless for many other women who do not have husbands to help them, whether it's because they don't have one, don't want one, he's sick or he left for whatever reason (for instance working away from home).
Why shouldn't all women be able to afford to pay someone to do what she needs doing? But over the centuries money has been deliberately kept out of women's hands - indeed women are still being discriminated against in the workplace by doing the same job but being paid less for it. Of course over the centuries women weren't able to do many of the jobs they are permitted to do today.
Jane Austen, someone who was said to write romances, wrote a lot about the gaining of a living wage for women. The only real way for women to access money at the time, was by risking her life constantly in child birth to give her husband an heir or even cheap labour. This was in a time when women could not refuse her husband sex. When women ever tried to make money independently especially as a prostitute she was constantly labeled, never the man, using her services. Indeed I was reading a meme the other day about women sleeping their way to the top - she gets the label, yet the man favoring a woman with promotion because he wanted sex from her was - what? completely innocent - unable to control himself?
Why do we always give men the pass on sex and women always get the blame? I think this is away of undercutting competition down who might have some soft power. Indeed misogyny is everywhere, even including among other women.
Essentially women are raised to be cheap or free labor.