I was bobbing my head to Taylor Swift’s “The Man” and didn’t care what the lyrics were. It doesn’t help to focus on the lyrics in the early hours of the morning battling with office traffic that I’m always running with.
My sister sent me the song. I listen to more happy romance stuff that doesn’t force me to think. Thinking, I’ve realized, isn’t good for a woman for many reasons but largely because of the judgment it will bring on her.
A woman who thinks is an alien. A woman who thinks and says her thoughts verbally so people can hear them and measure them in decibels is a cyborg.
Thinking women with a mouth are a kryptonite to the thinking man and the non-thinking woman. They’re fairy dust to other women. They’re unicorns. They’re the anomaly that this world, so close to its end, hasn’t still gotten ready for.
But here’s what I want to say because the debt of feminism on me just keeps getting more by the constant suppression of my ideas and mouth.
My opinions aren’t any less important than a man’s. My ideas aren’t any less attention-worthy than a man’s. Anything that I aspire to isn’t because I want to be like a man. They are not even because I want to be a woman. Sometimes I should be separated from my gender or the opinion of the other gender of me. Sometimes!
I should have the luxury and the freedom to register my ideas that affect my quality of life. I should be given the space where I can be myself. I can’t be told that being opinionated will make me look bad, confrontational or mad. That’s what misogynistic men and women do. Good men and women take pride in the human race becoming more pragmatic and more communicative.
I should also not be expected to be well-behaved according to a sad standard that you created in the basement of your house where no light or air enters. I shouldn’t be expected to be well-behaved at all. Why should I be? Is this an expectation to meet as a quality metric in “good womanhood?”
I can’t be told that I’m too loud, too assertive or too eloquent. See how it sounds like I’m too harsh, too bossy or too wordy?
I can also not be told that feminism will be defined by men and women who don’t believe in it. If you don’t believe in something, stop telling people how you’d structure it. It is not effective and it makes a marginalized group feel more pushed up against the wall.
“Well-behaved women seldom make history” is a quote that Dr. Ulrich is most known for. Can I say I have a bobble head doll of her on my nightstand right next to Ruth Ginsberg and Maya Angelou and Benazir Bhutto? Can I say that when someone beats me down, I think of how a simple phrase led to a PBS documentary and emancipation of countless women? Can I say how my mission in life is to call out microaggresion, implicitly nurtured biases and discrimination?
Yes, I can! I’m allowed to do that. I give myself that space because it has rarely come from others. I give myself the strength to be my best feministic version everyday. And I encourage you to do that too. And when someone remarks on how you’re being too much of anything that a woman is not supposed to be, tell them that that’s because you want to make history.