B*#@h? Or Just Headstrong and Honest?

Saturday, August 4th, 2012 by from Mom, Myself, & I

serious business woman

I admit, I am guilty.

There is a woman I know who I used to think was a complete, utter and total b*tch.  She really was.  I saw her as loud and obnoxious, and constantly trying to get her way with things.  She always appeared to be complaining about something.  Since she and I have a daughter the same age, I would run into her a lot at school, and every time I saw her I thought to myself, “What a b*tch!!!”  (Because you NEVER actually say something like that to a woman that is b*tchy, lest you become her target, right?)

Then, much to my dismay – I was ‘stuck’ with this woman during a recent out-of-town softball tournament. 

And I came face to face (AGAIN) with one of the biggest misconceptions about women known to, well…women!

A woman is not a b*tch – because she knows what she wants.  A mother is not horrid because she stands up for her kid, or voices her opinion.  A woman who complains when something is wrong in the hopes of blowing in the winds of change is not automatically a witch with a bad attitude.

Why is it that an assertive man, who gets things done, who voices his opinion, who disagrees outwardly with others at times is considered a go-getter while a woman doing the same is considered a b*tch?

Again, I am guilty of the same preconceived notion. So much so, that I often SETTLE for less rather than ’cause a scene’ or ‘speak my mind.’

I realized after spending a few days with this mama, that she wasn’t awful, at all. Not one single bit. 

In fact, she got things accomplished. When we had major problems with our hotel rooms – SHE is the one that got things fixed for ALL of us, while the rest of us sat back and complained amongst ourselves. 

Had it not been for her, we other moms would have been resentful and angry because we didn’t have the guts to stand up for what was right; for what we deserved as customers of the hotel.  All because we were afraid of what people would think of us, or label us!

I saw that while I grumbled, or became privately disgruntled with my thoughts of wrong-doing – SHE was actually making a difference. 

And I was jealous. I have always wanted to be more like that. 

I hate that I am the type of person who has all sorts of witty comebacks, and good things to say, and righteous arguments to make – but always sinks back into the confines of my mind rather than risk being seen as a troublemaker, or dare I say….b*tch.

I learned a little something about myself from a woman I once considered my arch nemesis (and I even thanked her and APOLOGIZED for my previous presumptions about her).

And, more importantly, I took this opportunity to decide that the time has come to teach my daughters that it is okay to stand up for yourself, to speak your mind; and that holding your convictions and sticking to them – however unpopular – is the best way to satisfy yourself and remain true and authentic.  And I plan to teach them this, by showing them firsthand that a woman can be assertive, strong minded, and speak her mind WITHOUT being labeled as a b*tch.

What do you think?  Do you find the double standard troubling?  Do you speak your mind when necessary or do you back down to avoid being seen as something you are not?

What do you think? B*#@h? Or Just Headstrong and Honest?

Stef DanielAuthor

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (w ... More

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7 comments

  1. Avatar of ManTalks ManTalks says:

    As a man I understand the issue. What I have seen in working with women over the years is that some women who are "assertive" are also simultaneously "edgy" and "emotional" in a way that is uncalled for and "prickly".

    And I have worked with women who get what they want in such a smooth, non-confrontational fashion that they are a pleasure to work with. They are natural leaders, wise, and do not attach emotionally charged terminology or body or facial signals as they express what they prefer or want to see happening.

    Many men could learn from them.

    But, I know in conversations with women, that some of them EMBRACE the B*tch term as some sort of badge of honor. So, when women term each other "b*tches" is it just the prejudice of men rubbing off, or is there something women instinctively feel in dealing with each other?

  2. Avatar of SPEDREX07 SPEDREX07 says:

    I believe every mom has this assertiveness, they just need the right kind of push. If a mother is at a park and you see another mother mean to your child or let their child cut and not let other children get a turn, almost every mom will say something, its instinct. momma’s need to protect their babies and they will. The most threatening thing i do not want to cross is a mom on the defense of her baby

  3. Avatar of Valerie Valerie says:

    I find it very hard to assert myself when I feel I’ve been wronged. I’ve made it a goal this year to voice my opinion when someone obviously takes advantage of me or endangers my family in some way. It’s a tough road, but I’m making progress.

  4. Avatar of atothedbly atothedbly says:

    Its definitely easy to be seen as over bearing when in reality youre just being assertive! I think as long as you handle those kinds of situations with respect and maturity, realizing that the person who you are confronting with an issue may not be the cause, that you can be seen as a strong person rather than a…. witch lol

  5. Avatar of ErinF ErinF says:

    Bravo. It is a troubling double standard; women are conditioned and expected to be nice and submissive. When men take a stand, they have guts and get pats on the back. When women do, we’re obnoxious and get dismissed with gendered slurs and words like "irrational" and "hysterical." It took me over 20 years as a doormat to learn to stand up for myself, after a controlling, abusive ex came close to taking my life. It’s hard to unlearn the internalized misogyny we’ve been socialized with, but we’re strong enough to overcome it.

  6. Avatar of Nicole Nicole says:

    It’s worse in the workplace. I had a boss who expected a pretty please with every request but ONLY from women. I refused to be treated like that and was eventually fired for standing up for myself. I left with my dignity intact. I’d rather be a b*tch than a doormat.

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