Comment from the blog Already Pretty, via GOMI:
I have been told that I have too many opinions for a woman, that I speak too loudly, that my personality is too abrasive, that I’m too argumentative, that I talk too much…not in general. FOR A WOMAN. The implication being that women aren’t supposed to talk back, or too loudly, or at all…and that they should certainly never upstage the men in the room.
I’m pretty sure there’s no painless, easy way to combat this. I doubt very much that society’s viewpoints on how women should behave are going to turn around any time soon on their own. The only way I see to change this–and thus remove women’s worries about being too negative–is for those of us who can to continually challenge the gender roles and stereotypes which teach us that women do not have just as much right to offer both negative and positive feedback as men without being judged more harshly for it.
I realize that not every woman is in a position where she can safely do this, and that’s okay. I would never ask a woman to risk her safety or her livelihood to make a point. It’s all well and good to talk about sisterhood and solidarity, but the truth is that the playing field isn’t any more level between all women than it is between women and men as groups; the gaps between us are often far apart and sometimes, we just have to have our own backs to get by.
But for some of us, it isn’t a matter of losing our jobs or being unsafe; it’s a matter of worrying about whether people will like us or think we’re womanly enough if we’re too outspoken. And for me, developing special communication techniques in order to avoid coming off as “too negative” is too high a price to pay just so someone will like me more…especially when it’s not really going to be ME they end up liking, anyway.