I've known this fact pretty much my whole adult life. When a man is firm and decisive, he is considered assertive, but when a woman is firm and decisive, she's labeled a witch with a B. I know this, and don't let it bother me - usually. I get more incensed about the double standard than being called a witch with a B. Girls are taught to be nice and polite and demure. Because of societal conditioning (above) and what they are taught, girls learn to always 'avoid' the real answer lest they upset someone or become disliked due to their decisions or opinions. in my opinion this leads to many cases of date rape - particularly the ones that are unreported. Guys come on strong, and girls try to talk their way out without "offending" the guy. If he's persistent enough, she'll 'give in' and acquiesce, despite not wanting to because she feels stuck playing the 'nice girl' and not socking him in the jaw like she really wants to. Knowing this, I have taught all my kids (even my son) that No means NO. When Mom says NO, she means it. When their boyfriend want's their favorite pencil, and they don't want to give it up, it is perfectly OK to say NO and mean it. When they are harassing each other and one of them says NO, the others are NOT to persist because NO means NO. Thay are also to respect thier friend when they decide to say NO. Even I wll accept a NO from them on unimportant issues. (for difficult child type not otherwise specified we go through the entire thought process of is this a reasonable request? will it harm you in any way? etc There have been a rare few occasions where after going through this process we discovered a previously unidentified real issue which we then were able to address) So I'm teaching my kids to say NO and mean it, and of course there is always 'girl drama' fall out to this which we handle on a case by case basis (didn't think I'd have to be doing that for kindergartners) I'm also teaching them to hear NO and accept it. Now I'm also teaching it to 19y/o neighbor babysitter (she was a victim of dating violence with her first and only boyfriend of 4 years) Anyway, about 3 weeks ago, the neighbor got good and drunk - in other words had plenty of liquid courage - and made a pass at me. Not anything nasty, but he asked me out on a date. Well, I'm not planning on getting involved with ANYBODY, let alone a drunk, until the kids are out of the house I just don't need those kinds of complications in my life right now. So, I said NO. I did play the 'nice girl' bit a little because this is my neighbor, but I was firm and the Answer was an unwavering NO. OK, we're finally getting to it. Tonight he needed to borrow something, but instead of coming over himself, he sent the baby sitter and DD1 (she was there playing with the dogs). No big deal, we borrow back and forth, help each other out all the time, and he pours concrete for a living, so he's too tired, lazy , drunk etc. No big deal. When I mentioned that he might be to tired to come over himself, DD1 piped up and said, " No, Mom. Mr J is afraid of you. He said you're MEAN." She was giggling when she said it, and said he was acting as if he were a little boy. At first I just laughed, but then the whole gravity of this hit me. I turned him down, so that makes me a witch with a B. UUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am just plain URINATED OFF! and needed to vent. I'm currently reading The Curse of the Good Girl which deals with teaching girls to be assertive, express their opinions and stand up for themselves. I just hope it offers some GOOD practical advice to dealing with the fallout. I can teach my girls to be assertive, independent thinking individuals, but that old standard of "what do you care what others think?" just doesn't pass muster with most kids - especially through HS.