Insults for women.

2nd March 2021

I have a bit of a confession to make.
There’s this thing I do around men.
I know I do it, I try not to, but it’s just become ingrained.
I play dumb.
I mean, I can be a bit ditzy from time to time, but I know I play it up around men, I act the airhead. I actually encourage them to mansplain and then I swoon about how clever they are.

It’s all done subconsciously, I catch myself doing it and tell myself off sometimes, it’s not a deliberate thing. I bet I’m not the only one, we downplay our cleverness or our sense of humour, just enough that the guy we’re with considers himself a bit cleverer than us, or a bit funnier. We do it because we believe something about men and something about women. We believe that men have fragile egos and feel threatened by clever or funny women we believe that women cannot be both attractive and clever at the same time; that men don’t fancy smart women, so we downplay our strengths.

I love the Big Bang Theory, and I’d rather be Penny than Amy, even though I’m actually more Amy than Penny. Why wouldn’t I want to be Amy? Because the world has taught me that it’s better to be Penny.

Even though I know that’s not true, that it doesn’t matter whether I’m Penny or Amy, Daphne or Velma, Buffy or Willow- we all bring value to the world. Yet it’s still Buffy, Daphne and Penny who get the guys. That then feeds into the other things society has taught me; “you need a man” and “it’s important to please men”

There’s a whole host of ways the world feeds these ideas into us, one of them is the language we use to describe women with traits we consider “masculine” and men with traits we consider “feminine.” For the same behaviour we will call a woman “kind” or “nurturing” and a man a “wimp” or a “pussy.” We call a man with leadership skills “powerful” and a women with leadership skills “bossy” and we start this when they’re toddlers; I’ve never, ever heard a little boy referred to as “precocious.” Have you ever referred to a man as “under the thumb”? or a woman as “bossy” or “bit of a slapper”? Have you ever chastised yourself for any of these things?

We need to start valuing human traits in all humans; we need to value men who are kind and sensitive, we need to encourage boys to connect with their emotions. We need to start valuing women who are natural leaders, or super smart or funny. We need to start loving ourselves and not being pressured into downplaying our strengths by meaningless stereotypes.

“I am not bossy, I am a strong leader”
“I am not a soft touch, I am empathetic”
“I am not naïve or a pushover, I am warm-hearted and generous”
“I am not stubborn, I am determined”
“I am not a boring geek, I’m intelligent- and that’s hot!”
“I am not a bitch, I am assertive”
“I am not hysterical, I am angry, and that’s okay”
“I am not opinionated, feisty or outspoken, I am articulate and passionate about the things that matter to me”

Try it- take the insults you’ve heard simply because you dare to be a woman with opinions or intelligence and turn them into a bit of self love.