Assertive Women Are Not 'B*tches' — So STOP IT Already

Photo: weheartit
bitches
Self

Smile and be polite? I don't think so.

My daughter is three years old. She's scared of absolutely nothing and no one. She's wild, free, daring and a firecracker. I love her spirit.

One day, she'll grow up to be a strong young woman and can't wait to watch that evolution take place.

Right now, however, her strength is interpreted various ways by society. Often, people will refer to my daughter as "bossy," "demanding," "wild," or the worst of them all: "a brat."

My daughter is none of those things. My daughter is assertive. She knows what she wants and she isn't afraid — even at the young age of three — to use her assertiveness to get it. This aspect of her personality shouldn't be dulled; it should be harnessed.

When people come up to me on the street and remark that my child is "wild," I often come back at them and say, "That's OK, one day she's going to be the CEO of a large corporation. You just watch."

This perception of powerful women being "bossy" or "bitchy" starts at a young age. When I was a little girl, I believed the way to get others to like me was to be nice, to be non-confrontational, to avoid hurting other people's feelings.

I also thought it was wrong to express anger because that would make me look "crazy" or "wild." The brainwashing, sadly, starts young and it doesn't get much better, even as we get older. 

As an adult, whenever I've had the guts to express myself or stand up for what I believe in, I've called "crazy," or a "bitch," or other pejorative terms — for merely confidently expressing my opinion!

Let's get this straight: Assertiveness is an asset. (But is often mistaken for being a 'bossy bitch'.) When a man asserts himself, society calls him a go-getter. They're impressed when he stands up for himself or achieves his goals because we've been conditioned to believe that it's acceptable for men to be assertive.

Women, on the other hand, are supposed to just smile and be nice.

Nope.

The next time someone calls you a bitch, remember what they're really saying to you is: "I'm intimidated by the fact that you have a strong, confident opinion and I'm not sure how to handle it."

I will continue to encourage my three-year-old to be vocal about her opinions. I will tell her  her voice matters. I will encourage her to speak up, even when it seems like nobody's listening. Her voice is strong and deserves to be heard.

This article was originally published at The Huffington Post. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Author
Blogger