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
"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,
"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.
03-30 DATES, ANNIVERSARIES, and
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,
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.