Even the richest of brands are robbed by poor character.

Every woman knows what I’m talking about. It’s the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men’s unsupported overconfidence.

Much self-condemnation, thus, is a cloak for arrogance. Those who think they overcome pride by condemning themselves could well ponder Spinoza’s remark, ‘One who despises himself is the nearest to a proud man’. In ancient Athens, when a politician was trying to get the votes of the working class by appearing very humble in a tattered coat with big holes in it, Socrates unmasked his hypocrisy by exclaiming, ‘Your vanity shows forth from every whole in your coat’.

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