It is unusual that I can make it to a tenant’s meeting in my apartment building due to the late hours I keep in my career. But having some time off from work I was able to make it. The man in charge, a very big man with a big voice led the discussion. Occasionally, though, a second man on the panel, spoke up. There were a few long-winded residents, particularly a woman who loved to argue yet could not come to a conclusion. Sprawling, inconclusive speech is both a passive-aggressive attack on the listener as well as a sign of inadequacy in the speaker.
What was extremely noticeable was that the elected women on the panel mostly said nothing. One questioned about the cost of some parts spoke about getting a low price on a construction job. For this she was complimented by the top man. She was the most outspoken of the women. But what it came to bringing up new matters, from the women, there was not a peep.
I found their silence very frustrating and very typical. Women do not take an independent position when men exert their power. Is this our training in our society (and in many societies)? If you speak up, you are labeled unfeminine, a bitch. If you do not speak up, you are labeled passive, unable to take a leadership position. It is your learned subservient role. On Nazi Germany under Hitler, it as the 3 K’s for women, Kirche, Kuche and Kinder (Church, cooking and children.)
How did this come about and why do we let it continue? Women are more than 50% of the population. Where do they put their power? Iceland threw out the bankers who were ruining the economy with their risky self-serving investments of their client’s money and put women in charge. You may not know it but Iceland is considered to have the most intelligent population in the world. It takes brain power to make independent decisions.
I know how to feel afraid that I don’t fit in. Women take the mike but do not make sense, who ramble aimlessly sounding incompetent are part of our learned role. We are supposed to sign in awe when Mr. Man fixes something. Women do not go for the sciences, to math, to physics or computers because these are in man’s world. Who decides? How do we distinguish between innate gifts and the role that was assigned us?
There is only 1 way. Go do the forbidden thing, read the topic, learn the skills your interest requires. Work until you get it. Giving in supports having an inadequate self-image. Abandon assigned roles. Don’t fit in with woman’s dodo image. Speak up but speak precisely to your point. Celebrate individual, creativity. Celebrate your life.