Why do we like downplaying a woman’s assertiveness?
And this is not only a preserve of men, but of fellow women too.
Why do we expect a woman to just keep quiet and take whatever is being thrown at her or what we consider the only option?
What is wrong with a female just saying “No, that does not work for me.” ?
Why do we always have to equate female assertiveness to being picky and unreasonable?
I have been asking myself all of these questions lately. It happens on the relationship front, career front, the having kids front and literally in every other aspect of a female’s life. The pressure not to assert for what she feels is right or works for her. Instead, to make do with what is given as the general option for everyone or to just take whatever crap someone feels like bringing her way.
In my job hunting, I have had people suggest jobs that I felt were not really career paths I would feel fulfilled following. However while suggesting, people would often add the line “just take the job, don’t choose jobs.” Already, they had given me a general option. And the general option was, since befitting jobs are often hard to come by, why not take up anything that can give you a source of livelihood. Indeed, there is quite a lot of sense in this type of reasoning.
However, could it be the reason why many Kenyans are in jobs that they do not love, simply because they were given that particular general option, of just picking whichever job that comes their way? Could it also be the reason why you sometimes walk into shops or organizations and get served by obviously bored and rude employees?
Many times in the past, I have said no to these kinds of suggestions. And I’m almost a 100% sure that those who suggested, thought I was simply being haughty or unwise for asserting for a job that to them, “might be hard to come by.” I always figured that it is way better to start at the very bottom in a field you are passionate about, than to start at the very bottom in a field you don’t care about and were simply urged to take up.
Another aspect that faces a lot of downplaying of a woman’s assertiveness is the marriage and parenthood bit. Whenever I mentioned that I did not feel it was the right time for me to settle down or have kids, someone would openly scoff at my thoughts. I sometimes feel that people tend to view life through their own personal lenses. It can be quite annoying when someone suggests that you are wasting time for waiting before making such major decisions. Everyone’s pace in life is different. However, arguing out your point with these kinds of people is often times meaningless.
We need to raise up a generation of assertive women. Not necessarily to be pseudo-feminists completely averse to the male contribution and thought process in society, but to be women who know and understand themselves and are willing to stand up for what they know works for them. The idea that a woman should be subdued to the point where everything including that which makes her uncomfortable should be accepted needs to go. Being the weaker sex does not translate to being a “yes” person. It is a mentality that equally afflicts women, who expect other women to follow the same line of thought, of suppressing their feelings.
The bitter truth is that only the assertive women manage to make it in life. Those who choose to squash their true thoughts and feelings only transform into doormats. And being everyone’s doormat is not something anyone would fancy.