Here we go again - Women just aren't "allowed" to be stand up for themselves.

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by keista, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. keista

    keista New Member

    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.
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Middle and high school is where I learned to stop giving a [bleep] about what others think. I had friends that encouraged me to be myself - some of them were quirky like me, some of those friends were popular, and others were anywhere in between. I worry that Kiddo won't embrace it, because where we are is an area far less diverse than where I grew up, in every way you can think of. Areas with higher diversity encourage you to embrace your uniqueness.
  3. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    Even when I was a kid, nobody ever would have labeled me as beeing too demure, too unassertive, or too dependent on anybody. I don't know if it was because I was an only child or because I grew up in a rural neighborhood with mostly boys (who I regularaly beat the snot out of), or because of something else. Having been around awhile and observed a lot of kids, I tend to think it was something I was born with. Why is it that some people grow up spending their whole lives worrying about what other people think and others of us have really never given a rat's patootie?

    I am having a hard time with my granddaughter (age 6) because she's a really "girly-girl", meaning, she buys into a lot of that drama and foolishness. It was probably wrong of me the other day to tell her to grow a pair of balls, but it just slipped out. I don't understand that kind of thinking. I don't see that she's been taught it; it just seems to come naturally to her, although I do think a lot of it is cultural. It just never took on me.

    I raised boys and I tried to raise them in such a way as to know that when anybody, male or female, said no it meant no. I tried to raise them to respect other people, regardless of their gender or anything else. I'm still evaluating whether I was at all successful, but, thank God, I didn't have to raise girls. They seem to be much harder.
  4. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Thank you! Was JUST talking with- a friend about this topic!
    I work in an office with mostly women and I have noticed these things. And I have noticed them my entire life. Now that I am a bit older, funny thing, is that instead of being respected for any wisdom I may have picked up over the years, EVEN IF MY INFO. HELPS THEM OUT IN AN OBVIOUS WAY, I get weird attitude. The other day someone BLATANTLY STOLE MY WORK and then used it repeatedly. I pulled them out of a jam. I didn't mind 'cause my thought is that co-workers do this for one another. HOWEVER, I think it appropriate to say a sincere "thank you." Guess what? I got nada. It was WEIRD. I wonder if it were male-female co-workers if this would be done. And I think a male may say something. I said little to nothing and then felt crummy about it (although did my very best to let it go ASAP!) I'm trying hard to be more assertive...but yet another HOWEVER. The one time I was ASSERTIVE (not aggressive...just simply firmly stated what I know is correct etc.,) I was treated as the office xitch for several days. OMG! I do my very best NOT to let it bother me, chose my battles, absolutely positively and in as appropriate a way as possible speak up when I feel it is important to do so. Great topic! And I'm gonna take a look at that book. As you read more, PLEASE let us know what you think! THanks.
  5. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Just one more good reason that you turned him down. I get incensed by the double standard, too, but have learned to embrace the xitch name instead of getting upset by it. It tends to amuse in, really? That's the best you can come up with? No creativity....
  6. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Re the neighbor...a thought....
    Many things could be going on here....
    Could be exactly as you think or could it be that he was drunk and remembers the whole thing differently?
    Maybe his self esteem is low and/or he has conflicted feelings about when goes to remember things (especially if he was drunk) it comes out kinda messed up. Or along the lines of what you are thinking...the good old fashioned you hurt his ego and now he has to say you are mean....because why else would you not want to go out with his charming self? (sarcasm).
    Whatever the case...sounds like you made a VERY wise decision (x100)
    It REALLY bugs me how women often don't stand up for each other in this arena.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Do not ever let fear of this sort of response, talk you into backing down or not standing up for yourself.

    I've also had males make passes at times. I've generally chosen to handle it gently, but with humour (as if they had to be joking!). I've also at times had to be really grotty to put a guy off. One bloke was getting very blatant in the things he said being near to me was doing to him. I told him to go home to his WIFE and have a cold shower. When he made comments about my cute rear end, I then said, "And the Depends don't even show, do they?"
    When he came right out and asked me, I said to him, "You are not the first guy to ask and frankly, not the most attractive of all the propositions I've had. While I might like you as a friend, where sex is concerned you are at the end of the queue. Take a number, and wait. And by the way, my husband is first in the queue. Always. Second in the queue is, like you, also waiting for eternity."
    Somehow I managed to stay friends with that guy but never trusted him again.

    But sometimes being a woman in a conflict situation can be an advantage. A woman can get away with a lot more than a man. For example, we were down in the industrial estate visiting an aquarium supply store. As we walked in (I was with the kids) I saw two men fighting. One man shoved the other man and then punches were thrown. There were other people nearby, ignoring it. I sent the kids inside then turned and went back. I shouted loudly (I have a good voice and know how to use it) and told the men they should be ashamed of themselves, fighting like that in front of women and children. I made sure my voice was heard not just by the men but also by everyone else for about 200 yards around. The funny thing was, they both tried to bluster and justify, it was as if they were schoolboys on the carpet in front of the principal! I told them I didn't want to hear excuses, I wanted them to take their conflict away and learn more adult ways to resolve it. Then I turned my back on them, went back into the store and shakily asked the kid behind the counter to call the cops. The men did not stick around. But when I told husband about it later, he said a man could have been beaten up by one or both those men if he tried to say something or intervene. A woman like me, especially an obvious cripple, could get away with it - if any bloke tries to hit me, it will not look good for him in court! Assuming he gets that far...

  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I don't have an issue with it. I can kill em with kindness, or just flat deck them if necessary.

    Nichole tends to just deck them. lol I think she's working on more non violent skills.

    easy child would shred them with words, if that didn't work, she'd deck em. If sister in law didn't shred them first with his fists.

    My girls are no nonsense.

    We're "petite" in stature.............ok we're slightly vertically challenged, in other words short. If we didn't learn to stand firm and be willing to back it up.........there would be no end to such things.

    I learned from my grandmother, who only came to my chin........and I'm under 5 feet. I watched her bring men to their knees with just a look. She had the kill em with kindness down to an art form. But if she felt it necessary to blast someone.........whew, now that was a sight! lol
  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I used to be the 'nice, easy going, demure, quiet' girl. Then I had children, and things changed-I found my voice, my values settled in a bit more securely, I was able to educate my daughters about protecting themselves and stand up to those who need to be stood up to. By the time they were young teens, and the perimeno kicked in, the gloves came off. Now? I wish I had a muzzle some days! Lol.

    I work in a very male dominated industry and over the years it's been very difficult at times. Every once in a while I take inventory of my job and responsibilities and it often will boost my determination to be heard and make my efforts be noticed, tell people no when it truly is appropriate and be a team player when it benefits the company as a whole. We have an upcoming golf outing and I had mentioned that I want to play this year. Well I noticed I wasn't on the list (I would be the ONLY woman) so I went into the boss' office and asked about it. He claimed he didn't think I was Truth is, I am not really interested anymore, but I'm going to play, darn it! Lol.

    I think it's really important to know our power, find our voices and teach our daughters the same.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2011
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    People tend to either love me or hate me. There doesn't tend to be any in between. I'm outspoken and have no problems standing up for myself when it comes to situations like this.

    That said - I am quiet and shy. Back when husband and I were first dating, I needed a memory card for my new camera. We went to CompUSA. I got passed over several times for people clearly wanting to buy expensive things. I've been known, in these cases, to walk out and never return (and tell lots of people about bad service). But husband stood in the middle of the store and said "HELP" ver loudly - not yelling. I was embarrassed.

    But now? I do this kind of thing. I walked out of a cell phone store after informing the poor clerk - and manager - that they needed to let their corporate know that "corporate policy" had lost them not only this sale, but any more from my family and anyone else I could tell about my experience. husband was even surprised.
  11. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is why I have more male friends than female friends. Men say what they think, women tend to play more games. Present company excepted, obviously. Warrior moms are a special breed.
  12. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    ...And people wonder why I have 2 best friends - and one of them is a GUY.

    And besides them? I only have one good female friend. I'd rather spend time alone than with most women.

    I agree with Crazy, though - warrior moms ARE a breed unto themselves.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    AMEN!! Kiesta, you have said one of the biggest problems I have iwth out society right now.
  14. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Years and years ago when I was in university, I took a course on Interpersonal Communications as part of a psychology minor. This is the updated version of the textbook we used. In particular, I found the chapter on gender differences in communication to be fascinating -- and very useful.

    I have noticed that men and women use siginficantly different conversational patterns. And the same words and gestures are often interpreted completely differently by men and women. So you may think you're being perfectly clear and stating the obvious, but the men who are listening are getting a completely different message from the one you intend to send.

    I too work in a very male-dominated industry (IT), where I am often the only woman. I've found that speaking fluent "guy" has allowed me to avoid a lot of the pitfalls that I used to run into when speaking to and dealing with men.

    On the other side of the coin, I've had men tell me that they find women incredibly difficult to understand. We think we're being perfectly clear, and they find us mysterious and subtle.

    I've found that you can be completely blunt with a man, where saying the same thing to a woman would cause offense and hurt feelings. For example: the other day, 2 of my co-workers were hanging around in my office chatting after a meeting. I said, "Both of you, get out now! I've got work to do". They smiled, saluted, and left. I would never ever say such a thing to a female co-worker, lest I permanently damage the working relationship .

    It's like speaking a whole different language...

  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Keista, that's proof of the pudding that you made the right call!
  16. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    To me it sounds more like drunk neighbor is embarrassed by his actions, your refusal, or both. But what guy is going to say that to a kid? Or to anyone else, for that matter.
  17. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I think you make a very valid point trinityroyal. Yesterday my male neighbour came to talk to me about some area of conflict we are having. He began the conversation by jabbing his finger at me and also saying things like "You don't do that again!" When I found myself (against my better judgement, of course) getting upset and heated in turn, he seemed really surprised at my reaction... I actually think he didn't realise he was being or didn't even intend to be confrontational...
    Sounds like you have really mastered the art of "malespeak" :)
  18. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I've mastered the art of the one finger salute with a smile. ;)
  19. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    So that's what I've been doing wrong. Nobody told me I was supposed to smile!!!!!
  20. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Well, I would guess that by now? Most of you know me as a very straight up person on the board, and I'm the same way in life. I spent years as the worlds whipping boy, and after a time I came to realize I didn't have to take 'jack' off of anyone. I also won't allow anyone to dish it out to kids, elderly, pets...and I am the voice that will roar. I have been told by men that I am indimidating, but once you get to know me? I'm a great friend. I've been told by women that I'm very easy to talk to, but you get the feeling I'm not looking for a "bestie". Which is true, I am very much a loner. I enjoy people, but I don't enjoy their BS. I don't mind helping if I'm asked, but if you ask, and I give you advice? Use it.

    As far as your neighbor man coming over kiesta? ROFL....I believe he's using the 'she is mean' thing as an excuse because he doesn't know how to face the fact that he's an ass. He may or may not remember what he said or did as a drunken idiot. But placing the blame back on you? Nah...however if it keeps him at garage lenght from your door - good.

    With regards to your opening statement about women being witches and all? I'm fairly fast witted on my feet and my tongue has been known to cut two ways when provoked - usually it leaves people wondering what I said or digging for a thesarus twenty minutes later. Once when I was in a motorcycle shop a man called me a B and I said in an exhausted tone "You know what? I'd come back with something educated to call you in return, but I refuse to do a battle of wits with an unarmed person." and just kept on walking. Everyone in the shop started laughing, and the guy took over 30 minutes to figure out what I had said to him that was so funny which made it even funnier. So when he figured it out? He called me a smart A - and I said "Well I can't help it that God gave me so many brains that I had to start sticking them some where else besides my head." That got even more laughs..and finally he just gave up. I told him I'm really not a B, but if he continued with the gradeschool name calling I could recommend a great therapist for his anger issues.

    You just never know when you're going to stumble on someone who can make you laugh. I nearly couldn't wait - I mean what was next? Yo' Momma jokes?