There are lots of ways to shut down women when they are speaking. For me the one that stings the most – even more than being called bossy, intimidating, strident or bitch – is the comment “Tell us what you really think.”
Not only does this remark effectively shut me up, it implies my strong opinion is laughable. Less valid because of how it’s expressed.
For good or ill I was born with strong opinions so I have been cut with this particular knife too many times to count. I take some responsibility because I know I do get going sometimes, hence the outlet of my Rant blog.
However, I’ve also spent the last umpteen years trying to squash my voice and style to fit someone else’s definition of acceptable. All that every got me was accusations of “cold and unemotional.” Can’t win for losing.
Just once I would like to hear someone acknowledge that when I am speaking strongly it’s because I care deeply.
If you use this expression, the next time someone around you is vehemently expressing their outrage rather than ridiculing, consider instead an observation that the topic is important to them. Or maybe ask why it’s a hot button issue for them, there is sure to be a reason – do you want to hear it? Or share your perspective & your reasons.
Anything other than effectively saying “Shut up” would be appreciated by me and all the other loud-mouth, enthusiastic, outraged women out there.
And I will continue my struggle to moderate my emotions to a level that is more comfortable for the world.