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Why Talkative Women Are Feminism's Greatest Asset

Photo: Shutterstock / Clem Onojeghuo
Why Talkative Women Are Feminism's Greatest Asset

Let’s let go of the myth that women should be seen and not heard once and for all. Feminists should be shouting until there’s nothing left to shout about. 

As women, we’re so often taught not to take up space, and not to talk over others. When we do we’re labeled as bossy, loud, controlling, or the dreaded title of “angry feminist”

But unapologetically taking up space is exactly what women need to do in order to claim our seats at tables dominated by men. 

That’s exactly why former Japanese prime minister Yoshirō Mori felt so threatened by when he made a series of sexist comments about female members of the Olympic Organizing Committee. 

While opposing the committee’s intentions to increase the number of female board directors by 20%, he implied that women make board meetings drag on. 

"Women are competitive. When someone raises his or her hand and speaks, they probably think they should speak, too,” he told reporters, “That is why they all end up making comments."

He also stated that the women already on the board “know how to behave," and that more female representation was not necessary. 

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Needless to say, these statements landed Mori in hot water and he was forced to announce his resignation on Feb. 1. 

But the comments reflect the attitudes of countless board directors, CEOs, committees, and public offices that have a disproportionate lack of female leadership.  

It's so glaringly obvious that the problem lies not with talkative women — but with men who are uncomfortable with hearing women speak.

We saw it in the vice presidential debate when Kamala Harris was interrupted by Mike Pence, and we’ve seen it in the sexist rhetoric directed at Vice President Harris even after her election. 

We even saw it in a viral video of a woman trying to get control of her local parish meeting but getting repeatedly silenced by men — if you haven’t watched it yet you’re in for a hilarious treat.

Women have to push their way into conversations and situations that they are excluded from but when they do, their own assertiveness and self-confidence are leveled against them as some kind of insult.

So rarely do we see this kind of rhetoric directed toward men. Loud men are strong, daring, and brave while loud women are viewed as annoying or out of control. 

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The implication is that women must be silent and let men do the talking. Keep in mind that women make up just 20% of Mori’s Olympic Committee yet the men talking during meetings never seemed to irk the 83-year-old. 

Instead of letting these sexist comments condemn us to the shadows of important rooms, women must realize it’s more important than ever to speak up — even if that means talking over men.

There is nothing wrong with being loud, especially when you have something to say. Talk drives action and stirring up conversation is an asset feminism cannot neglect. 

German chancellor Angela Merkel built a 30-year career on being as assertive and noticeable as possible. Vice President Kamala Harris’s refusal to be silenced by Pence no doubt contributed to her and Biden’s 2020 victory. 

In the arts, women like Beyonce, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga dominate by making themselves larger than life, and taking up space that they rightfully occupy. 

Even former First Lady Michelle Obama used her biography to celebrate the importance of using her voice. “I admit it: I am louder than the average human being and I have no fear of speaking my mind,” she wrote, “These traits don’t come from the color of my skin, but from an unwavering belief in my own intelligence.” 

The world needs loud women. Feminism needs loud women. And men who can’t bear to listen to women on committees, in board rooms, and during political debates don’t deserve to be in these spaces in the first place. 

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. She is a generalist with an interest in lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics.