Wednesday, July 14, 2021

I Am a Difficult Woman

Taylor Swift has a song called Mad Woman that talks about how women are defined by society. It reminds me of this quote going around on Facebook (supposedly) from Dr. Jane Goodall about how it does not take much to be considered a difficult woman. This is something that I can relate to because on more than one occasion I have been considered to be difficult as well. Just by speaking up and having an opinion that is different from that of a man, you can be considered one. You can be a “mad woman” too. 

There have been many occasions when I have felt that people (not just men, to be honest) can be dismissive of a woman’s opinion and often defer to men for that absolute, final say on things. It is a funny concept how people still think that men should have the final say — especially when, based on experience, some men tend to ask for a woman’s opinion only to pass that off as their own. Or, if they end up wrong, they pass the blame on to the woman because it is a more “believable” scenario for them that the woman was the one who made a mistake. 

It is sad to think that in this day and age, a lot of people still think that way. You would think that in this modern era this would not be an issue but it still is. While I have been fortunate enough to work for people who place value on a person for his/her abilities and not because of gender, I have also been able to witness discrimination against women in the workplace as well. It bothers me that some people have contradicting opinions about this: how people rate a woman’s ability based on whether she is married or pregnant (or could get pregnant) and still be able to say, “I am not taking this against her” but taking it against her at the same time. It is confusing, but it happens. 

It is a challenge in the workplace to still encounter instances (and specifically, people) like this. It surprises me that after all this time, we have devolved to have such opinions. It is hard to be a woman and have an opinion when you are constantly being dismissed for not knowing any better just because of your gender. It is a challenge when women who have strong opinions are being patronized to get them to back off. The same can be said when gaslighting becomes an issue: where after all is said and done, they refuse to admit their mistakes stand by their opinion that it was the “confused” woman who did wrong. As if men do not make mistakes. 

Do not get me wrong: I am not saying that as a woman, I am always right. It is more about allowing a woman to speak up and open a dialogue to understand why things are the way they are. It is about being allowed to be heard, to be acknowledged that your opinion is valued and is given consideration. To be given credit where credit is due and not to be used as a scapegoat when things go sideways. It is about being respected. We women would not be so difficult if we are given the respect to not just say what we want to say but for it to matter.

I know some women would prefer not to rock the boat and just accept the way things are so that they will not be called difficult. I would love not to be. But it can get frustrating when men think they can dictate on you as if you do not have your own opinions and ideas. It is hard to wish for things to improve if we pretend not to see and not say anything. If we decide not to be difficult. 

Honestly, I am tired of being a difficult woman. Life does not have to be this stressful and hard. People complain that there are too many of us out there, but that is because this happens everywhere. We would not be so difficult if things were not made difficult for us. I wish things will change someday...but I am not keeping my hopes up of it happening anytime soon. 


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