Women are sometimes miserable to each other. Commonly, a woman will say something incendiary and then run away. Perhaps they have the comfort of a group or position to shield them from their actions. This is beyond cowardly. If the receiver steps out-of-the-way of the verbal Molotov cocktail and goes to speak with the offender, the trouble begins. Seeking open communication with a passive aggressive person can lead one to be labeled difficult.
What makes a woman difficult? I’ve come to figure out a difficult woman is one who does not put up with nonsense. She is someone who does not back down when someone is trying to show their dominance. She allows herself an out from any situation whether it be a job, a relationship, a friendship or even her own head. There is an assumption that a woman has to stay. Perhaps it is biological that she is saddled with a pregnancy or family as the backbone of that. To leave a group situation may be social suicide. A man can leave his family and it is brushed over, maybe even blamed on the wife. Yet, a woman is expected to stay no matter the challenges.
Women aren’t given the outs that men are. Until, of course, someone stands firm and says you can’t speak to me like that or forget this I’m leaving. Girls very young are trained to have a singular best friend and to please as many people as possible, even to her own detriment. Boys can pretty much do what they want (especially in the Latin culture). A girl who says no is usually punished, rarely praised. A girl that sticks up for herself can threaten the culture with one word.
What if more women said no? Would we still have a glass ceiling or a need to shame? The ones usually holding other women back aren’t men, they are other women. Girls tend the travel in packs, even after they leave the hallways of high school and turn into women. They can still start rumors or call into question a person’s moral character with the raise of any eyebrow. We put up with it though so we won’t be on the receiving end. Having a pack of females go after you at any age is frightening. A woman that goes after another woman in a professional setting is particularly heinous.
I can still recall with most of the trouble I’ve had with other women started when I simply did not want to hang out with them. Gossip is not my idea of a good time. It is the most striking characteristic of a crocodile that they have no curiosity. They are keen on observing, much like yours truly. It is rare for me to be interested in the talks of other people’s lives. If they want to share, I’m all ears. Most of the time is simply pith. A real character, one that a writer is actually interested in, does not squawk all day of their importance through putting others down. This unwillingness to pretend in someone’s importance is not always perceived in the right way. Someone who does not want to talk smack about another person is treated with suspicion. A girl that does not care about another girl’s outfit seems to violate some unspoken girl code of vicious subtext under every statement/comment must be talked at any given moment. A woman who does not let her boss talk to her like a child can be on the chopping block.
This to me is ridiculous. If women stopped doing this there would time left over for topics such as the kidnapped girls in Nigeria or supporting each other through kind words. Labeling is our way of sorting out the universe. In our pre-historic days in order to survive, we could eat some things but not others. Labeling was necessary for living another day. Now are survival is almost guaranteed and our Darwinist skill is being used to box in people. Being difficult is an assault on our truly social nature. No one wants to be an outcast, thus the label of being difficult is socially deadly.
So what can a “difficult” woman do? Well, I revamping my writing business. I am going to spend my summer break (or potential permanent break) really focusing on making Siren Publications a further success. The skills I have acquired in teaching-dealing with difficult clients (capitalism has taken over education with the attitude if you pay, you should get A’s), maneuvering interest and catering to wide variety of interests/handicaps have enabled me to pay bills with writing. Now though I see no reason I cannot go at it full force. I’m not a corporate girl, I have no interest in playing the game of manipulating people to like a false sense of myself.
My life would be infinitely easier if I played movies for my students or stopped challenging their tender minds to think not like me, but for themselves. If I handed out A’s or stopped caring so much I would be labeled easy. Maybe I would, but my thirst for complete independence is never quenched. Any day of the week I would rather be thought of as a difficult woman and not being seen as someone who does not stand up for myself. In the end the jobs don’t matter or the entangled relationships even the strongest woman can find herself in on occasion. What matters is whether we are true to ourselves and that our voices echo because we spoke up to say I am a person of value, treat me as such.