Listening now, the opening topic is pretty awesome.
Why do women not toot their own horn? Why do they back track? You’ve heard them say something simple, or intelligent, and then they say , “Does that make sense?” As if they need to add that to make sure it gets heard. Why do we do this? Because we have to. That’s the plain and simple truth. We are conditioned by experience that if we are assertive then we are a bitch and no one listens to us. We are bossy, or difficult to work with. The best compliment we are told there is for us is “You’re not like other girls.” It’s all training and behavior modification. Often women know what they are doing when they downplay their efforts, they will often present ideas as if they are a man’s so that they will get implemented. Other times they don’t even know they are doing it, it’s just second nature.
“Just” being more assertive doesn’t work. When you are, you are immediately met with resistance. I can give you a million examples from my own life, because I got to a point where I said “screw it, I’ll be assertive and who cares if it works or not.”
I was in a supervisory position, being assertive, and calling a male out on dishonest business practices and not allowing him to railroad a project I was working on resulted in him getting physically threatening (but not verbally) to me in a room of other men (standing over me as I was sitting, pointing his finger in my face, yelling very loud, and very close, swearing all the while) and yet no one seemed to think he was out of line. I was told I was out of line and pushing because I refused to relent or make him think he was winning. The kicker was, these other men agreed with me on the topic, but I was then painted to have a vendetta, and it effected every other interaction, including when I tried to discipline said male for doing the same and actually telling the other person, a male, he would knock him out if he did the offending thing again. Which the person he threatened was right. Yet when I called for discipline it was said that I was holding a grudge. This is what being assertive as a female, even a boss who is supposed to be in charge, gets you.
In another position I was supervising a male with a short temper (for some reason that seems to happen often) and he was upset with me being his boss from day one, I was hired from the outside, he had been there for a few months and thought he should get the job. Ignoring my years of experience and degree, he had just decided this. I worked very hard to get our working relationship to a civil tone. I wasn’t too assertive, except when it needed it. He would get angry every time I gave him a correction (which if not fixed could cost us an account) and yet I handled it all internally, didn’t bring anything up to the higher boss and worked with him. One day he got in a fight with the boss (a woman) while I was out and quit and stormed out. After that, he blamed me for losing his job, he then stalked my activities online and made up stories about me (saying I bad mouthed everyone at work on my blog and talked about our top secret projects) which were all 100% false (All I ever blogged about then was role playing and missing my now husband who was over seas in Afghanistan). He met co-workers in the parking lot after work to tell these stories, and I found out he had been hiding in the parking lot watching for me. I could have been fired for these false accusations (which I would have fought, but his anger had convinced people of the lies). His false accusations had more credit than me showing people my blog to prove the truth. I did not have a pattern of violence or shouting, I was more qualified in my field, but he, a male was found more credible. Thanks to him, and some other incidents you see me under this name, not my given name because I was cyber stalked and bullied before there was a name for it, simply because I was female and perceived as weak.
It’s ingrained in us, but that doesn’t mean we should accept it and go with the flow. Teach your daughter to be assertive, teach her that she can toot her own horn and to fight back when people give her a hard time for it. Teach her to say “No I am like all the other girls” when given that false compliment. Teacher her to say “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss” and to strive for that role. It’s only with positively influencing children that we will ever make any real change. Also, teach young boys the same. Teach them to work with girls, to not fear being equated to girls. The worst names you can call a girl are “slut, whore, skank, bitch, ect” all words that mean girl, the worst you can call a boy is “Girl, pussy, bitch, ect” all words that mean girl. Let’s break that, let’s stop using female as an insult. Lets teach boys that there is not gender roles, that men and women take care of kids, cook, clean, do the lawn, work on the car, and take out the trash. There are male and female role models in STEM fields but also in the arts.
And lastly, were you Manspaining? No, manspaining is if you said “There isn’t a problem with women not being assertive, they just don’t think like men is all. They are the fairer sex.” That’s manspaining. Oversimplification of a topic maybe, but most likely due to you not understanding it and it bothering you. I’ve seen this behavior among male feminists, they get angry when they see women play into gender roles that hurt them, and they want so much for them that it angers them. It can come across as rude or callous, but it comes from a good place. Your idea of going back to the women you spoke with and doing a post chat, asking for input on what you said is a great idea IMO. The more we can communicate about these issues, and learn about tone, the better.