The Liz Library presents Irene Stuber's Women of Achievement - Women's History Month

Episode #WHM-30 for Day 30
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Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
 who is solely responsible for its content.

Contents of this article may be freely reprinted for educational and nonprofit use.
We would appreciate credit and request that the philosophy of the material not be changed.

How To Become An Assertive Woman

      "When a man you care for makes a sexist comment, such as 'I guess if today's meeting doesn't go her way, she'll cry,' or 'I'll bet that's a woman driving,' or 'Sexual harassment shouldn't be outlawed, it should just be graded from excellent to poor,' and expects you not to mind, tell him (in a non-blaming way) that you do.
      "You might say something like: 'I know you don't mean any harm by it. And I know we all harbor some sexist thoughts since we were raised in a sexist society. But I feel uncomfortable when you make sexist remarks.'
      "If you're in a relationship with this man, you might also add, 'One of the things I value about our relationship is that we're very loving toward one another. But I feel less loving toward you when you make disparaging remarks about women.'
      "Unless we constantly enlighten men - even if only with small reminders like these - this sort of sexist commentary will never go away and things will never change.
      "If you're in a group or with a man who makes a sexist joke, don't join in the laughter. Anyone who has seen clips of women in audiences watching Andrew Dice Clay when he did his woman-hating schtick knows that women often go along with group laughter at sexist humor, especially when the man they're with is enjoying himself. But letting a man think you find putdowns of women acceptable (even if they're disguised in humor) only sends the message that it's okay in your mind. Next time you hear a sexist joke, tell the man (or woman) who told it you are not amused, and why.
      "If a stranger makes a sexist remark as you're walking down the street (say a guy yells out, 'This girl's got legs!' or 'Oh come on, give us a smile,' or worse, [explicative deleted - we've all heard them]), don't smile to placate him. If you do, it may give the false impression that you find this kind of uninvited attention flattering. It is not flattery (street harassers are generally not very finicky) and catcalling is about exerting power, not giving compliments. (We all know what it's like to grow afraid as we approach a group of guys hanging out on a street corner, ogling us as we get closer.. in such a moment, they have the power, not us.)
      "Moreover, when you think about it, it's not a very long stretch of the hand from this kind of unwanted verbal harassment on the street to an unwanted sexual assault in a dark doorway."
            -- How To Become An Assertive Woman, The Key to Self-fulfillment by Bryna Taubman.


B. 03-30-1867, Jessie Donaldson Hodder, prison reformer. When her common-law husband rejected her and their two children, found work in the New York State prison system and developed reforms that became the model for the nation by giving women prisoners dignity, a chance to reform, education, etc.

B. 03-30-1882, Melanie Klein, pioneer child psychologist who believed cruelty against the mother affected the child much more than Freud and his school of followers had thought.

© 1990-2006 Irene Stuber, Hot Springs National Park, AR 71902. Originally web-published at We are indebted to Irene Stuber for compiling this collection and for granting us permission to make it available again. The text of the documents may be freely copied for nonprofit educational use. Except as otherwise noted, all contents in this collection are © 1998-2009 the liz library.  All rights reserved. This site is hosted and maintained by the liz library.