Still a Nice Girl…

An interesting observation.  Every time I share my opinion on Twitter, I lose “followers”.  It doesn’t bother me, but I have noticed it happening every time.

It’s an interesting phenomenon.  I notice that other assertive women who feel comfortable in sharing their opinion have the same result.
However, when a man shares his opinion, he gains more followers.  Folks pipe up “Hear! Hear!”
Even though it’s the year 2009, women are not allowed to voice their opinions.  If they debate a topic, they’re “harping” or “bitching”.  Or worse, if they do debate it with another woman, sometimes that woman just turns to bitchy personal comments that have no bearing on the discussion.
During a debate, women are told to “get over it” or “can’t you just let go.”  However the guys are encourage to push the point and keep debating.  For men, it’s called banter, for women, it’s called narking.
I used to bite my tongue and not say anything, even when I believed deeply in something.  I used to be a “nice girl” who minded her manners, kept her thoughts to herself and towed the line.  But I learnt that all I was doing was making myself miserable.
Now that I  have more confidence in myself, my self esteem is stronger, I will speak up.  Especially if it something around people’s attitudes that makes others feel inferior.  It’s something I’m passionate about, the fact that some people believe themselves above others, or they put others down to make themselves feel superior.
When I believe something in my gut, I will speak up for it.  Like my earlier blog on rape (which I copped a lot of criticism for), or a debate over someone’s superior attitude, or fat discrimination, disrespect to faith, all subjects that mean something to me.
That’s not to mean I won’t listen to intelligent, respectful discussion on it, in fact there is nothing I love better than to have someone challenge my thinking and them allow me to challenge theirs.  Some of the most stimulating discussions I’ve ever have were heated debates between myself and someone who had a very different opinion/belief.
When I went to visit my beloved friend Ian in Canada after  not seeing him for about 13  years, one thing I was looking forward to the most was an “argument” with him.  We got into one of our famous debates (which was over something quite silly) and someone said something to us to settle down, and I remember turning and grinning and saying “No way, I’ve waited 13 years for this!” and he replied “I love you Kath!”
I love being able to argue with someone and know that it’s not a reflection on their feelings towards me, it’s just a good solid debate.  To know that they’re going to treat me with the same respect in the debate that I treat them with.
I no longer care if people don’t like me for speaking up, for being assertive and sharing my opinion.  Because those that matter accept me for who I am, and appreciate my honesty and willingness to back my own beliefs.  It took a long time before I was able to do that, but boy is it liberating when you reach that point!
I’m still a nice girl.  I’m a nice girl with a good gut feeling and belief in respect and speaking up!

June 1, 2009. assertiveness, beliefs, debate, discussion, feminism, opinions, sexism.

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