Well behaved women seldom make history

manners, sticking it to the man, well behaved women seldom make history, well behaved women rarely make history, patriarchy, manager, privilege, rules, question authority, think
From http://www.peacemonger.org/assets/images/products/POS25_-_Well_Behaved_Women_-_Laurel_Thatcher_quote_Poster.jpg

I walked into the library the other day, wearing my Women24, “Well behaved woman seldom make history” t-shirt, and stopped to say hello to some of the older ladies at the knitting club. Of course, many of them couldn’t help but read my t-shirt and there were varied responses.

Most of the ladies responded with an, “okay, then” but one of the more outspoken ladies said, “I’m not sure whether I agree with that”. When I asked why she said, in her opinion there is nothing wrong with a lady who has good manners and who is quiet. My interpretation of her response was that a woman who doesn’t have “good manners” and who speaks her mind isn’t a lady, in her opinion. In a nutshell.

Well behaved women seldom make history

I will be 40 years old next year, so I grew up with the sit like a lady, don’t use foul language and never question authority, kind of thinking. It took me a long time to see the problem with raising girls to comply with the patriarchy and choosing to stick it to the man(ager).

Why is it that people take offence any time their rules or thinking gets questioned? Of course it is easy believe that we know best and if everyone just behaved like we told them to, the world would be a better place. Except that is not how it works. Unless you have walked a mile in someone else’s shoes, you don’t get to judge. You don’t get to decide how they should feel about anything, really.

If you do something that is offensive to someone, don’t call them dramatic and argue your point. Say “I’m sorry” and commit to trying harder next time. Imagine what kind of world we would have, if that way of thinking was embraced.

It doesn’t matter whether you live next door to someone or work with them everyday. You have NO IDEA what is going on in their lives. If you are super passionate about pine trees and they don’t immediately climb aboard your tree hugging community, take a minute to think that they may have bigger burdens to bear and the last thing on their very long worry list, is what kind of tree stands in the forest.

Be very careful when it comes to putting people into prescribed boxes. Life is filled with a lot of grey areas. By narrowly defining what you consider is acceptable, you are only cutting yourself off at the knees and joining the ranks of those who feel superior to everyone else.

It may only be someone’s perception, but that perception is that person’s reality. Every time you talk over someone or pat down their inputs as being dramatic or “an activist”, you are being a bully. Those are the cold, hard facts. “But I didn’t physically belittle someone”, you may say. No, you didn’t have to. You chose to belittle them from a mental and emotional perspective instead.

Everyone has a right to be heard. Especially if their opinion differs from yours.

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